After Week 1’s performance against the Chiefs, many were left wondering which part of the ball to be more concerned about — the offense or defense?
The Pats scored 30 points by halftime in New Orleans in Week 2, just the 11th time in team history they’ve done that.
So, once again, the demise of the 40-year-old Brady appears to have been greatly exaggerated. Most of us probably could have guessed it would turn out that way. But what about the defense?
In Week 1, the defense allowed rookie Kareem Hunt to rush for 148 yards and a touchdown. They allowed receiver Tyreek Hill to catch seven balls for 133 yards. Both players had a catch play of 70-plus yards, and Hunt had a 58-yard run too. Uncharacteristic of a Belichick-coached defense.
But just as the offense showed improvement from the next week, so did the defense.
With New Orleans marching on their first drive of the game, the Patriots defensive line stuffed both Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson on back-to-back rush attempts, eventually forcing the Saints to settle for a field goal. Late in the second quarter, the Patriots stopped the Saints on fourth down, and were able to turn it into three points of their own, making it a 30-13 game at halftime.
Yes, the defense gave up 356 yards through the air, but against Drew Brees and the Saints, it’s limiting the yards after catch that’s important. The Patriots were more successful this time.
While eight defensive players combined to miss 12 tackles for the Patriots defense in Week 1 against Kansas City, the New England defense missed just one tackle against New Orleans in Week 2, according to Pro Football Focus. That would seem to fall more in line with the defense’s success in limiting “big plays” last season, as they allowed just 59 plays of 25-plus yards through the ground or air, second-least in the NFL, according to SportingCharts.com.
The Patriots defense has a much more favorable matchup this coming Sunday in Foxboro against the Houston Texans and rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson. Though Watson earned a win in his first career start, he finished just 15-for-24 for 125 yards, his longest completed pass for 25. Watson can hurt the Patriots on the ground, however, as he rushed for 67 yards including a 49-yard touchdown run in which he escaped pressure in the pocket and avoided at least three tackles on his way to the end zone.