Originally written November 11, 2012 on Boston's Bettah:
Rob Gronkowski scored on this second quarter play It may have been one of the most atrocious displays of defense that the recent New England Patriots had put on the football field. That’s strange to think about considering that the New England Patriots have put some pretty bad teams on the field in the recent years. Sunday’s game topped them all. After a quick start to the game by generating pressure in the front five and forcing the Buffalo Bills to take some penalties, the Patriots took the foot off the pedal. They stopped bringing heat against the Bills and they sat back in soft-zone. Normally, this wouldn’t anger me to the point of banging my head against the bar-table, but today was different for one reason and one reason only. The tackling today was some of the worst displays of the art I may have ever seen. All over the field, the Patriots were attempting arm tackles and letting Bills runners get extra yards. The Bills would catch a screen pass, turn into a wall of Patriots defenders and then somehow slip all of their tackles. If this was an isolated incident in the game, it would have been okay, but it seemingly happened on every other play from the third quarter on. If the New England Patriots were a high-school football team, they would have week ahead of them filled with nothing but tackling drills. They aren’t a high-school football team, and tackling is pretty bad across the National Football League, but that was painful to watch and embarrassing as a Patriots fan. It’s sad that the story of the game will likely be the defense because the offense was as efficient as they have ever been, marching up on and down the field with the ease that Patriots’ fans have come to expect from this team. It actually felt like this was themostefficient that the Patriots have been. They did a fantastic job of winning first down and with the eye-test, it seemed as if they converted more third and eight or longer plays today then they have all season long. Most of this was on the offensive line who gave Tom Brady excellent protection all day long and let him scan the field and find his open-targets. The offense scored 37 points; it should be enough to assure that the football game is well in hand. But it wasn’t because the Patriots defense was sloppy and lazy and borderline terrible. I hate to be the pessimistic football fan after a victory but it’s hard to not be so after this game. Yes, the New England Patriots forced three turnovers and yes, when the New England Patriots forced the end of game interception it was the defense that made the final play to end the game. Despite all that, it’s hard to be happy or glad with anything the defense did. They started strong and then stopped caring almost. It’s the Patriots fatal flaw. The question is, can their offense make up for them? Today, they did, but against better teams, it will be hard to count on it.
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