Harrison makes impressive debut with Patriots
Veteran linebacker James Harrison was frustrated with the Pittsburgh Steelers because he wanted more time on the field, and he certainly got that wish in his debut with the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Harrison made back-to-back sacks to end the game to help the Patriots clinch home-field advantage in a 26-6 win over the New York Jets in the regular-season finale. Although Harrison did not start the game, he was on the field for 28 of a possible 57 defensive snaps. He also added five tackles and had a forced fumble.
When asked after the game how it felt to have a decent amount of snaps after not playing much football this season, he told reporters: "It felt really good."
"I was just rushing outside and they were passing a lot, so I had good opportunities to get around the corner. For the other one, I was able to cut back underneath the guard, and the quarterback was scrambling," Harrison said about his two sacks.
The veteran tallied more sacks in his first game with the Patriots than he had all season with the Steelers, and according to NFL Research, he recorded his first multi-sack game since week nine of the 2016 season against the Baltimore Ravens.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Harrison, who the team signed Tuesday after he was cut by the Steelers, had worked hard learning the Patriots defense.
"He worked really hard to get things down and to handle the roles that he was in today," Belichick said. "Very professional, has a lot of experience but not in this system so he had to do a lot of things to try to acclimate himself to what we do, and terminology, and adjustments and so forth. He really worked hard on that."
The two sacks gave Harrison three for this season. It is the first time since 2013 that he has had fewer than five sacks.