Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Johnson on Patriots' 'D': When it's time, they step up


The New England Patriots' defense has given up an NFL-most (worst) 42 passing plays of 20 yards or more and 17 touchdowns, which is second-most in the league.

Clearly, New England's secondary isn't fantastic. But the Patriots' defense overall is opportunistic, and that makes up for most of it.

"They make plays when they need to for the most part," Bills receiver Stevie Johnson, whose team will face the Patriots Sunday, told the New England media Wednesday. "They win games. We all know about the offense, but it still takes the defense to make plays and hold opponents off. They have done that. (photo: jdn, Flickr)

"I cannot say they are the greatest. But when it is time to play, they definitely step up when needed. They are a good bunch. "

The Patriots have recovered a league-most 11 fumbles on defense, forcing 14, which is the second-most in the NFL. They've also grabbed a top-10-worthy nine interceptions.

Additionally, New England added cornerback Aqib Talib last week via a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which can't hurt, as long as he doesn't get arrested or suspended. It also means defensive back Devin McCourty could find a near-permanent spot at safety for the rest of the year.

"More power to them," Johnson said of Talib. "Another player that I have to study when it comes down to it."

New England blew out the Bills in Buffalo Week 4 by a 52-28 margin.

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