Logan Ryan keeps making big plays for defense

It would be difficult to find a way for a defensive player to impact a game in more ways than Logan Ryan did in the Patriots’ 34-16 AFC divisional round win Saturday night against over the Houston Texans.

The cornerback recorded seven tackles, a sack, an interception that set up a fourth-quarter touchdown and broke up another three passes, mostly while covering the top Texans receiver, DeAndre Hopkins.

It was the type of all-around performance that the Pats will need out of Ryan going forward if they want reach Super Bowl LI. And, it was one that did not go unnoticed by coach Bill Belichick.

“Logan has done a great job,” Belichick said yesterday. “He’s worked hard. He’s very conscientious. He takes coaching well, tries to do what he’s instructed to do and when you identify something that he’s doing wrong he tries to correct it and improve on it. I think that player is improving over the course of the year. That’s the way it should be, and every player has an opportunity to do that. He’s done a great job of taking advantage of those opportunities.”

Over the past four games, Ryan has three interceptions to go along with 25 tackles. His pick against Houston was an example of the type of high-level awareness and ball skills he has displayed during his career. A Brock Osweiler pass sailed over the head of Hopkins, who got only one hand on the ball. Ryan alertly dove to get his hands under the tipped pass before he gained his footing and returned the ball 23 yards to the Texans 6.

“Logan, he’s very good at those things, the instinctiveness, the recognition, the playing with the proper leverage, the communication and the relationship that he has to the people that are around him,” Belichick said.

Belichick had similar praise for safety Devin McCourty, whose quick break on a ball aimed for Hopkins in the third quarter resulted in Osweiler’s first interception.

“Devin did a great job on that play of being aware of the situation, having anticipation, and as the route unfolded he got a good read and good break on the ball and made a good play,” Belichick said. “That was a very good play. A big play in the game, but it was very well executed on his part.”

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