Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pats coaches point to fundamentals after blowout loss


Following Monday night's game, defensive tackle Vince Wilfork summarized the New England Patriots' defensive performance perfectly, saying the Kansas City Chiefs "beat us like we stole something."

A day later, Bill Belichick and his crew are getting back to basics, as the team tries to forget the long night in a shortened week and rebound from one of the worst outings of the veteran coach's career.

"We put ourselves in some bad situations," Belichick said Tuesday via patriots.com. "We weren’t able to make plays to get out of it. We had opportunities to convert on third down defensively in the first half and weren’t able to do it often enough.

"We weren’t able to create any turnovers or negative plays or good field position for our offense. We just didn’t complement each other very well as a team, put each other in difficult situations and then we had the turnovers in the second half and the game got out of hand."

Out of hand is something unusual for Pats fans to experience, particularly in that fashion. The stat lines were atrocious: 303 yards allowed in the first half (most ever for a Belichick-coached team), 443 yards of total offense allowed and minus-three in the turnover department. 

After preventing their previous three opponents from breaking off a play longer than 30 yards, the defense allowed three such plays Monday, according to the Boston Globe, two in consecutive fashion.

The most telling stat, however, may be the team's missed tackles. 

New England missed nine tackles in the 41-14 loss; seven of those were by a player in the secondary, according to ProFootballFocus. The team missed that many in the previous three games combined.
"We certainly need to play better fundamentally on defense and tackle better and that wasn’t, I’d say, as much of a problem the previous couple weeks," Belichick said. "It was in the Miami game and it certainly showed up again last night. Anytime you miss tackles and don’t convert on third down and don’t convert in the red area then you’re probably not going to be real happy with the overall defensive performance."

The Pats will need to get things back on track fast, as they prepare for a four-game stretch in the next 18 days. First up is the Cincinnati Bengals, who are currently ranked 25th in total offense but sixth in points per game (26.7). 

New England then has a full week of prep before a visit to Buffalo in Week 6, though they'll deal with another shortened week after that trip, as they face the Jets four days later back in Foxborough.

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