Jerod Mayo hopes Patriots can bounce back like they did after last year’s loss to Cleveland
|09.29.11 at 2:23 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Jerod Mayo is hoping to feel a little déjà vu this week.
On Thursday, the Patriots linebacker talked about a nasty loss being used as a possible rallying cry going forward: The 2010 team suffered a hideous loss to the Browns in Cleveland on Nov. 7, but went on an eight-game win streak to end the season.
Could the Patriots use Sunday’s defeat at the hands of the Bills as similar fuel?
“Anytime you come off a loss, it’s like ‘Hey, we have to bounce back.’ Same thing happened with Cleveland last year,” Mayo said. “We continued to get better after that and we ran off a good number of games in row. Hopefully that trend continues.”
If that trend continues, the Patriots will have to find some way to slow down Oakland running back Darren McFadden this week. The fourth-year running back gained 171 yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns in Oakland’s 34-24 home win over the Jets, and is the league leader in rushing yards with 393.
“McFadden is a great guy with the ball in hands. Tackling him will be an issue,” Mayo said of the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder out of Arkansas. “He’s a big guy and he’s fast. [He] has a great stiff arm and he can catch the ball out of the backfield – a very explosive player.
“It’s all about rallying to the football when a guy like McFadden has the ball,” he added. “Like I said, he poses a great threat every time he touches the ball.”
When it comes to defending McFadden, one of the biggest areas of concern for New England is his ability to break a big play. The running back has three runs of 20-plus yards this season, including a season-high 47-yarder against the Broncos. He’s also a threat in the passing game, leading the Raiders with 11 catches for 84 yards on the season.
Not good for a team that has yielded 30 catches for 271 yards and two touchdowns to running backs through three games.
“Big plays have really been killing us. That’s one of the main priorities in practice this week — stopping the big play and getting off the field,” Mayo said.
Entering Sunday’s game against the Raiders, the Patriots are currently last in the league in total yards allowed (368.7 yards per game) and passing yards allowed (377), and are 27th overall in points per game allowed (26.3). While his coach once said that stats were for losers, Mayo looks at the bottom line and says that until they change things, “the numbers don’t lie.”
“I think we have great players on our defense,” Mayo said. “At the same time, we have to go out and prove it on Sundays. Up to this point, we really haven’t done that. The numbers are what they are. We have to go out and try to change those numbers. No matter how good you think you are, the numbers don’t lie.”
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