Chandler Jones: ‘Hopefully we can just keep doing that every week’
|09.22.13 at 10:09 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Sunday’s 23-3 win over the Buccaneers may have been the Patriots’ best performance yet as they didn’t allow a touchdown for the first time all season and kept the Bucs off the scoreboard for the final 46 minutes, 47 seconds of game action. The defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown since there were just over five minutes left in the third quarter against the Jets on Sept. 12.
‘It felt good,’ defensive end Chandler Jones said of keeping the Bucs out of the end zone. ‘It felt really good as a defense and hopefully we can just keep that going. You know, it felt good. We held their offense down to a few points today, and hopefully we can just keep doing that every week.’
Against the Jets it was the secondary leading the way as they forced four turnovers, including three interceptions, but Sunday it was the front-seven, as they combined to hold Buccaneers star running back Doug Martin to just 88 yards rushing, this after a 144-yard performance in Week 2 against the Saints. They also sacked Freeman three times and between the second and third quarters allowed the Bucs across midfield twice.
‘We’re doing good as a defense overall, not just the [defensive] line,’ said Jones, who had one of the three sacks. ‘Those sacks, a lot of the stuff you don’t see, a lot of those sacks are coverage sacks. Our secondary is doing an outstanding job of jamming receivers up or just covering guys up and the quarterback has no one to throw to.’
The game plan against the Bucs was much different from last week as the team stayed away from their newly unveiled 4-2-5 scheme, primarily because there was more of a focus on stopping the run. This allowed their line backing core to shine as Jerod Mayo led the way with nine tackles, followed by Brandon Spikes with seven. Second-year player Dont’a Hightower also had a strong game finishing with three tackles.
The defense also extended their streak of forcing a turnover in 30 straight games with Aqib Talib‘s interception at the end of the second quarter, which set up a Stephen Gostkowski field goal as time expired in the first half. It was Talib’s third interception of the season.
‘We had a good idea of the concepts they like to run in the two-minute [drill] before the end of the half,’ Talib said. ‘[Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia] called the perfect play for what they like to do and we made the play.’
So far this season over three games, in 39 drives the defense has allowed just three touchdowns. Last season over the first three games in 35 drives the defense allowed seven touchdowns. In those first three games last season, they allowed 21.33 points per game, a full ten points worse than this year– clearly, a major improvement.
‘There’s a lot of football left to play,’ defensive lineman Vince Wilfork said. ‘I think we can be as good as we want to be, as long as we continue to get better as a team. I think that’s the biggest thing for us right now ‘ individually raise our level of play and just take everyday as it comes. If we attack each week like that, then we’ll be OK. This week will be another challenge going down to Atlanta. So every week is different, but our goal is going to be the same and that’s to get better each week.’