Jared Mayo and the Patriots defense could not stop anyone Sunday against the Bills
Although the Patriots won at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, there was little to nothing positive to take from the game. Although Tom Brady managed the offense quite well, especially in the first half, the offense did not have the same type of rhythm that we saw in London two weeks ago. Although the offense only accumulated 347 total yards, the offense is far from the problem for the Patriots.
Not only did the Patriots pass defense have an awful game (as expected), but the run defense had a surprising off day as well. Averaging 80 yards per game against the run, the Patriots gave up over double that as CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson ran for a combined 150 yards with Ryan Fitzpatrick chipping in 12 more on the ground. Throughout the game there were more missed tackles by Patriots defenders than I could count. Other than Jermaine Cunningham, nobody on the Patriots defensive side of the field played well, especially Jared Mayo and Brandon Spikes.
The Patriots front seven has been a key to their success in stopping the run all season. On Sunday, they had one of their worst combined efforts of the season. As previously mentioned, Jared Mayo and Brandon Spikes looked like a couple of college players who had no idea how to tackle or play pass coverage. Mayo looked silly on multiple plays by Fred Jackson, including a 3rd and 15 where Jackson got by Mayo and got the first down. The Bills ended up driving down the field and scoring a touchdown on that drive.
Although Spikes had a few key tackles and a forced fumble, he looked lost in pass coverage. Spikes also made an extremely boneheaded play when he took his helmet and rammed it into Fitzpatrick on a huge third down as he took him to the ground. The ball fell incomplete, but Spikes was flagged for an illegal hit. Spikes has done this in the past and needs to understand the big hit isn’t always the right move.
Although the Patriots came out with a win, they need to get better. The offense took a step backwards, and the defense took two steps backwards seeing how the run defense had its worst game of the season. The biggest positive coming out of this game had nothing to do with the actual game, and thats the fact that we get to see the Patriots newest acquisition in action. Aqib Talib, who was suspended early in October, will be eligible to play this Sunday against the Colts. Talib will hopefully help stop the bleeding as far as this defense goes.
I, like most Patriots fan, am happy to walk out of Gillette with a win Sunday against the Bills, and am extremely excited for the anticipated debut of Talib and how he plays against Pro-Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne, who has been Andrew Luck’s favorite target by far this season.