Former New England Patriots RB and Super Bowl champion James White was asked for one word to describe his former team’s defense. White chose the word “underrated,” and the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian called the answer an “interesting choice” of words.
While most around the NFL would likely describe the New England Patriots defense as solid, you’d probably have a hard time finding a contingent insisting they’re elite.
The numbers for the Patriots’ defense look strong on paper. They simply haven’t surrendered a ton of points. Aside from the sack, fumble, and short return for a TD the offense gave up in the Week 1 loss to the Miami Dolphins, the Patriots’ defense has only given up 13.5 points per game.
They’re eighth in points allowed, fourth in yards surrendered, and against the run. They have only one interception, but they’re ninth in passing yards allowed.
Those are the numbers of a borderline elite defense. However, there is some context necessary. The Pittsburgh Steelers offense has some serious issues. Mitchell Trubisky is far from an elite quarterback in the NFL.
The Patriots held the draft’s former No. 2 overall pick in check. However, quite honestly, they were expected to control the Steelers’ offense which is still trying to find its identity since the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger.
Did the Patriots’ secondary do their jobs? Yes, and that’s all that can be asked of them. However, it remains to be seen what the Patriots would do against a team with a high-powered offense like the Ravens.
New England lost in Week 1 to a Miami Dolphins offense that shredded the Ravens’ defense in the second half of their Week 2 matchup. The Patriots held Tua Tagovailoa and his speedy wideouts Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle mostly in check.
Waddle broke loose for a 41-yard TD reception late in the first half after a misstep in the secondary from Kyle Dugger gave the fleet-footed Dolphin an angle on a slant route. Still, the Patriots’ defense performed well.
Their next big test will come on Sunday when they not only have to contend with an offense with a few weapons in the run and passing game but also Lamar Jackson, the NFL’s perfect weapon. How they contend with Jackson will determine if White is right about his old team.
Patriots Writer Suggests Damien Harris May Have a Big Game Vs. Ravens
Could New England have some success taking the air out of the ball with a dominant rushing attack? Musket Fire’s Sara Marshall referenced the two team’s last meeting in November 2020 with Cam Newton at quarterback for New England.
As Marshall points out, the Patriots got a huge game from running back Damien Harris and she suggests it’s a possibility New England could lean on him again in Sunday’s game.
Establishing the run is a smart approach, but New England shouldn’t get so enamored with running the football that the offense fails to try to take advantage of a Ravens secondary that gave up 462 passing yards and 6 TDs to Tagovailoa.
Patriots Fan Account Calls For More Deep Shots to Nelson Agholor
On the flip side, Pats Buzz called for more 50-50 deep shots from Jones to wide receiver Nelson Agholor. The latter’s TD catch in Week 2 was the highlight of the game, even though it wasn’t thrown particularly well.
Perhaps Jones and Agholor will come together again on Sunday against Baltimore.