Brandon Browner has brought a physical presence to the Patriots secondary. (USA TODAY Images)
The New England Patriots defeated the Detroit Lions 34-9¬†on Sunday, coasting to their seventh-straight victory.
The Lions fought early, but the Patriots looked like the real kings of the (NFL) jungle this week. New England kept Detroit’s offense out of the end zone throughout the contest and¬†scored¬†24 points in the first half, more than the Lions allowed in a game all season.
Four weeks ago, Pats Fans were talking about the six-game gauntlet the team had coming up; Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, at Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Lions, at Green Bay Packers and at San Diego Chargers. Well, so far the Patriots have coasted through the first four opponents and look like the best — or one of the best — team’s in the league.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. After reviewing the game, here¬†are a few thoughts on Sunday’s win. –
Revis and Browner Dominated: The first thought from this game was how well Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis played. Ok, we know Revis is one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks. That being said, it can’t be understated how important he’s been this season for the Patriots defense.
Perfect example Sunday, as Bill Belichick was able to use no.24 on Golden Tate, rolling coverage to Detroit’s superstar receiver, Calvin Johnson.¬†Just because Browner had help over the top for the majority of the game, doesn’t diminish his performance. In fact, this was his best game as a member of the team.
Browner’s physical presence kept Matthew Stafford and Johnson out-of-sync all game, with Megatron held to 58 yards on four receptions. Both cornerbacks are making an impact and the Patriots defense is playing at a high level.
Pat Chung’s Resurrection: In his second stint with the team, Chung has emerged as a key contributor this year. Prior to the season, the safety spot next to Devin McCourty was a concern. While the team does rotate defensive backs at times, Chung has been the primary safety next to McCourty and performed well for the most part.
Chung was lined up all over the field Sunday, continuing to showcase a strong tackling ability and bringing a physical nature to the middle of the field. His play against Lions tight end Joesph Fauria in the redzone stood out as key moment from Sunday’s contest.
Run Defense Has Been Stellar: The Patriots run defense has been strong the past three weeks, limiting opponents to under three yards-per-carry. On Sunday, Detroit had only 91 yards on the ground, despite 25 carries by the team.
The most impressive part of the Pats run defense, has been the ability to limit the rushing of opponents without stacking the box. New England continues to use five, and even six, defensive backs while controlling the line of scrimmage.
Looking ahead to week 12, the Patriots will face perhaps their biggest test of the season with Packers tailback, Eddie Lacy. More on that later this week.
Offensive Line Has Stepped Up: With Ndamukong Suh and a vaunted Detroit defensive line a tall order for any offensive line, the Patriots rose to the occasion. Left tackle Nate Solder had a strong game and has played really well since his struggles at the beginning of the year. Rookie center Bryan Stork also had a great game and he’s made an impact on this offensive line since his first start in week four.
It wasn’t perfect, as Brady was pressured and hit early in the game, but overall it’s hard to ask for more when facing such a big challenge. It’s time to give some credit to offensive line coach Dave Deguglielmo for this unit’s turnaround.
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