Aqib Talib returns this interception for a touchdown
The New England Patriots played one of their best overall games of the season on Sunday, defeating the Indianapolis Colts 59-24. Their offense did their normal thing, driving up and down the field with their passing game and slowly taking the will from the Colts. On this Sunday, however, it was the defense that really was the difference in the Patriots game. They forced four turnovers including three interceptions, scored twice on interceptions – with newest Patriot Aqib Talib providing the big boost – and knocked down Colts quarterback Andrew Luck six times.
That last number is why the Patriots had success on Sunday late afternoon and early evening. Up front, they caused pressure all night long, getting into the backfield and causing havoc throughout the Colts backfield. In addition, the physical New England Patriots forced the Colts to try and bounce all their runs to the outside. This caused the Colts to become one dimensional and helping the Patriots. The Patriots’ defense was ready to play today and looked like they were trying to, I don’t know, prove people wrong.
And that was what was frustrating. This was a tweet (SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION ALERT) that I threw out during the fourth quarter of the game:
The #Patriots defense is so frustrating because we see games like this and KNOW they can be this physical and tough consistently.
— Chris Bentivegna(@BosBettah_Benti) November 18, 2012
On Sunday, we watched a Patriots’ defense that had been questioned all year long play one of their best games of the season. Nothing looked like a “scheme” thing that caused them to play better or that the Colts’ were a really bad football team making the Patriots’ look better. None of that was true, especially that last part because if that was the case they would have shut out the Bills a week ago.
Simply put, the Patriots’ played hard today. In other weeks, the defense hasn’t played hard. There are no stats to highlight how hard a team plays or how much they give a crap. For some reason, they took today personally or decided to play with 100% intensity.
On one hand, it’s a good thing. Come playoff time, I would hope that the Patriots are playing at their best and treating every play like it’s their last. On the other side of things, however, why weren’t the Patriots’ playing like this all season long?
On Sunday, we saw what happened when the Patriots defense plays tough. It’s not a best defense by any means, but it is serviceable and when the Patriots’ offense rolls the way it does normally, it does enough. The question is now can they? Are they mentally tough enough to continue to play this way and make this team more than just another playoff team and into a contender?
With games against the Texans and the 49ers coming up in the next month, it will be ample time to prove that they can.