Remember the play in the preseason opener that resulted in former MVP Cam Newton got an up-close introduction to Chase Young? It's a hard one to forget, and it was an early reminder that Young is still that Dude.
The play was over in about four seconds. Young blew past left tackle Isaiah Wynn, hawked Newton down from behind and knocked the ball away for an incomplete pass. It was a great effort, one that Newton probably won't forget for a while, but as Ron Rivera explained on "The Ron Rivera Show," Young didn't do it on his own.
It was 3rd-and-8 at the Patriots' own 22-yard line; naturally, Washington's defense wanted to get off the field, so Jack Del Rio decided to put a little pressure on Newton.
With the cornerbacks locked up on New England's receivers and one safety in the secondary, Washington was in a "mug" front, meaning there were six defenders matched up against the Patriots' offensive line and running back.
Newton had two choices: check to a three-step dropback or wait for a receiver to beat man coverage. Either way, Washington was in good shape. A quick pass meant the ball would be short of the first down. If the secondary could get Newton to hold the ball, the pass-rush had a good chance of bringing him down.
Newton made the second choice, and all Young needed to do was win his matchup with a quick dip past Wynn. There was one more thing that needed to happen for Young to have a clear path. Because Landon Collins joined the pass-rush, running back James White was forced to cover the safety, rather than stay by Newton. That gave Young a clear path, and Newton's back was probably sore for a couple days after the hit.
"He's smaller than I thought," Newton said. "That's a joke. I'm just messing with you. But yeah, he's going to be good, man. He's going to be good. He's going to be real good."
Consider the play "Exhibit A" for why people are so excited for Washington's defense. The players are working in cohesion with each other, and that'll make the entire unit, Young included, more terrifying to offenses.
For more breakdowns from Rivera, tune into "The Ron Rivera Show" on Saturdays at 7 p.m. on NBC4.