|Mayo: We know our defense is ‘very alarming’||09.26.10 at 7:49 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Just read between the lines of Jerod Mayo‘s postgame address to reporters and you know the Patriots defense is still a work-in-progress.
Just how much?
Well, you could make the argument that if the Patriots don’t stop making teams like the Jets and Bills look like the Colts every week, they’re going to fall far short of their playoff/Super Bowl expectations this season.
As one of two captains – Vince Wilfork being the other – on defense, Mayo knows that full well.
Sunday was not one of New England’s finest moments on the defensive side of the ball.
“I think we came up with some big plays but at the end of the day, we gave up too many yards, we gave up too many points at the end of day but we still got the win so it’s something to build off,” Mayo said.
If that hardly sounds like an overwhelming endorsement, there’s good reason. Mayo and everyone else on defense knows Bill Belichick and company will have plenty to review on Monday.
The Patriots gave up 374 yards, allowed Buffalo to convert 5-of-10 on third down and gave up 5.6 yards per carry to the combination of Marshawn Lynch and C.J. Spiller. The Bills turned over their offense to Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Harvard product – while tossing two very costly interceptions – still managed to keep his team in the game, completing 20-for-24 for 247 yards.
“Fitz did a good job moving the ball,” Bills receiver Roscoe Parrish said. “When you score 30 points you expect a victory but it didn’t go that way for us today. We have to watch film. Our coach mentioned in his speech that everyone has to do a good job. Not just one unit. That is something we have to do so we can find a way to win.”
If Tom Brady didn’t have an obscenely good rating of 142.6, it probably would’ve been good enough for the huge upset.
“You never want to give up points,” Mayo said. “Giving up points like that to any team is very alarming. We weren’t really expecting some of the things they showed today but we got the job done.”
Does Mayo think this was just one of those days when he the offense would need to pick it up for a win?
“We’re young, but these guys are hungry and they’re willing to learn. We have a great coach in coach Belichick, and he’s putting us in positions. We just have to execute better and make plays.”
An optimist might look at Sunday’s 38-30 win over the Bills and say the Patriots made the big play when they needed to.
A pessimist would say Brady threw for three TDs – two to Randy Moss – AND ran the ball for 200 yards and two scores but didn’t have the game put away until the opposing quarterback gave them the game on a silver platter, not once but twice in the fourth quarter.
There was the interception by Patrick Chung of Fitzpatrick, when the Bills were driving for a potential game-tying TD, trailing 31-23.
Chung not only read the pass perfectly in zone coverage, but danced around on the return and was trying to set up a huge return, perhaps a way to help out the offense.
“You got to always think ‘touchdown.’ [It] was more of an instinct. Then the play’s over and you got to move on to the next one. That’s how I feel. We can’t get too complacent. We got a lot of games to go. A lot of different teams [to] prepare to face. We just got to keep going.”
And there was the Brandon Meriweather pick on the far sideline with just over two minutes remaining and the Bills trailing, 38-30.
“Big,” Meriweather smiled when asked just how big it was for the Patriots to get the big play on this day. “They were huge. They ended drives. They took points off the board. They were huge.
“I always think it’s time for us to do our job and end the game. Not just because the offense was doing their job, but just because I think that’s actually our job.”
Perhaps Kyle Arrington – filling in for the benched Darius Butler at right corner - put it the best. The defense may not have been a big reason the Patriots won but they played big when it mattered.
“They’re a game plan team,” Arrington said. “They did some different things that we didn’t expect. We just had to adjust to it.”
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