Patriots’ ‘spectacular’ defense continues to shine in Miami

Andy Hart
September 15, 2019 - 6:23 pm
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In two games, the Patriots defense has given up three total points while actually scoring a pair of touchdowns.

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In conjunction with the Tom Brady-led New England offense that resulted in a 33-3 home blowout of the Steelers on opening night and Sunday afternoon’s 43-0 domination of the Dolphins in Miami.

“It’s always good,” Bill Belichick said of the shutout. “If you don’t let them score, you can’t lose.”

But it went well beyond a simple shutout at Hard Rock Stadium, the team’s first since a 27-0 win over Houston in early 2016 and first on the road since a 13-0 win in Buffalo to close out the 2008 season.

Stephon Gilmore had a 54-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Jamie Collins topped that with a 69-yard pick-6 on Miami’s next possession.

“It’s always good when you score on defense,” Belichick added.

All told the impressive New England defense held Miami to 2-of-15 (13-percent) on third down, notched seven sacks, 12 tackles for a loss and four interceptions, including another for Collins in the red zone to seal the shutout as time expired.

“They were spectacular as always,” Brady said on a day when he threw for a pair of touchdowns and ran for one. “They’ve been playing great, playing great all preseason. Two interception returns for touchdowns. That was pretty insane. Then the last play to end it was a great play. So it takes some pressure off the offense. They’re doing an incredible job.”

As impressed as the head coach and quarterback were with what they saw on defense, safety Devin McCourty is taking the performance more in stride. It’s good to play well for a week or two, but the unit clearly has more lofty goals over the course of a long season.

“I think it’s about consistency. I think through the years we’ve always put up good games. But we’ve been challenging each other to make it a week-in, week-in thing,” McCourty said in Miami. “Every week we prepare, fill it up, go over the same things, do the same work and then come out here and execute each week. I think everyone is playing very selfless, just helping each other out, being where we’re supposed to be and it’s showing up. We just have to continue to do those things and challenge each other no matter what being ready to go each week.”

And according to McCourty the turnovers are coming as planned.

“We talked about it last week of just getting around the ball,” McCourty said. “You saw today I had an interception off a tip. Jamie had an interception off a tip. Two interceptions off a tip. Just getting to the ball, being around the ball as much as possible. When we do those things turnovers will come. So we know that. One thing is playing well on defense, trying to get three-and-outs, not giving up touchdowns. But we know if we can turn the ball over, especially with our offense, we’ll be able to put up a lot of points.”

That’s been the case over the first two weeks, at least.

A defense that finished last season on a high by holding the high-powered Rams to just three points in the Super Bowl LIII win hasn’t allowed a touchdown its last three times taking the field.

The unit was dominant to close out 2018. Was dominant in practice and on the preseason game field this summer

The momentum has rolled right into the start of the new season.

“Those guys are really good,” running back James White said. “We compete against them each and every day. They challenge us. They make us better. We make them better. They played good in back to back weeks and hopefully they keep it going. They are very talented.

“Good in the front seven. Good in the back end. Young guys, older guys, everybody is competing, helping one another. When they play together, man, it’s a scary sight.”

Only if you are on the opposing sideline.

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