Rob Ninkovich, Jerod Mayo on M&M: ‘Frustrating loss for us’
|10.07.13 at 12:36 pm ET|
New England lost its first game of the season on Sunday. Much of the consternation surrounded the offense, which failed to score a touchdown and accumulated just 248 yards, in addition to turning the ball over twice.
The Patriots defense allowed just one touchdown, but it came in the fourth quarter, and it proved to be the game-winning points.
‘It’s a frustrating loss for us as a defense, because you play well early in the game, you have some big stops and turnovers, you keep them from scoring,’ said Ninkovich, who recorded three tackles and half a sack in the game.
New England forced Cincinnati into a pair of turnovers, and the defense sacked Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton four times.
But the defense faltered on the most important drive of the game. At the end of the third quarter, the Patriots trailed 6-3 and had Cincinnati stuck in a third-and-15 from its own 2-yard line. Dalton pulled off the improbable, as he connected with wide receiver Marvin Jones for a 28-yard gain to move the chains.
The Bengals marched the ball up the field, and former New England running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis punched a touchdown in from a yard out.
“Obviously we didn’t play well enough,” Mayo said. “Our job is to go out there and hold them from scoring any points at all. Unfortunately they scored more than us yesterday. We had some good plays, but we also had a lot of plays where we just weren’t ready to go. That’s my fault. I’ve got to get the guys ready.”
Said Ninkovich: ‘With us giving up 13 points, it was too much and we lost. I’m not one to make any excuses, so I think that we’re going to get better, we’re going to continue to progress as a defense the younger guys are going to continue to mature and get better.’
One of those younger guys to show up on Sunday was defensive tackle Chris Jones, who filled in admirably for the injured Vince Wilfork. The rookie recorded 1½ sacks. Jones must continue to step up with Wilfork out for the season, and the other defensive tackle, Tommy Kelly, possibly sidelined as well with a knee injury.
‘You don’t really have to communicate as much with those older guys because they kind of know the situation and they know kind of what to expect,’ Ninkovich said. ‘But the younger guys, you’ve just got to make sure that, ‘Hey, expect this, play it this way.’ So you just kind of have more communication.’
The Patriots play host to Drew Brees and the high-powered Saints offense next Sunday.
‘I think Drew, his track record kind of speaks for himself as far as the things he’s done in his career,’ Ninkovich said ‘It’s going to be a good challenge for us, and I’m happy we’re going to be playing at home and not the [Superdome], because that’s a hard place to play, kind of similar to Georgia when you’re down there playing the Falcons, similar atmosphere.’