The Patriots began life without Andre Carter on Sunday. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

With Andre Carter undergoing surgery this week after he suffered a quad injury in last Sunday’s win over the Broncos, the big question seemed to be whether or not they’d be able to continue getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

With Carter out, Brandon Deaderick got the start at left end against the Dolphins on Saturday, while Shaun Ellis also got the nod on the other side of the line.

Ellis made some noise early on in this one, making a sack on the Dolphins 3rd snap of the game.  On the play Ellis was matched up one-on-one against tight end Charles Clay, beating him on the outside and taking down quarterback Matt Moore.

He finished with a respectable performance,  combining for three tackles along with two quarterback hits, along with his sack.

Deaderick also added a sack, as did linebacker Rob Ninkovich.

But it was linebacker Jerod Mayo who made some noise with his biggest performance of the season, finishing with two sacks on the afternoon, his first sacks of the season. He finished with 13 tackles.

The defense as a whole finished with five sacks today, which the team pointed out via Twitter tied a season high for the defense. They had also previously had five both at Pittsburgh, and at the New York Jets.

Despite spotting the Dolphins a 17-0 advantage, the defense allowed just one touchdown through the final two quarters, and Belichick said after the game that he was pleased with the way his players responded after the early deficit.

“Well, it wasn’t our best effort of the season,” said Belichick.  “But we’ve got to give the players a lot of credit for coming back in the second half, down 17-0. They played a good enough half of football.

“Happy to win. Happy to win. We tee it up here again next week against Buffalo, but it’s a good way to go into the little Christmas break here for a couple days, recharge, come back and hopefully be able to finish strong.”