Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/1/11

For years, the dynasty that is the New England Patriots has reigned atop the NFL.  What this organization has brought to the league is like no other.  Franchises have used the Patriots as examples of how the game of football should be played.  Having a strong offense and defense is what will win you championships.

This year has been no different for the Patriot’s offensive staff as they have scored little more than 28 points per game and are second in the league in passing.  Though, they have begun to trail off just a bit, they showed signs of a solid running game a few weeks back.  Regardless of the running game or not the Patriots have been a force on offense led of course, by Tom Brady.  New England sits at 5-2 behind the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East and one has to wonder, where is the defense?

This is a defense that is ranked last in the league in passing, giving up 323 yards per game.  The defense is giving up just about 23 points per game but only giving up 101 yards to opposing running backs per game.  So the problem may be in the hands of the passing defense.  One may think that because Brady and crew build such big leads that opposing quarterbacks are forced to throw more but that is not entirely true.

Ben Roethlisberger threw for 365 yards this past week and had 50 pass attempts.  Roethlisberger averaged about 34 pass attempts per game entering Sunday’s match up vs. the Patriots.  Pittsburgh never trailed on Sunday and clearly stuck to their game plan.  They wanted to exploit the Patriot’s awful pass defense and they did just that.

Who is to blame?  It might be easy to look at the coaching staff for clearly getting out coached this past weekend, but it is just one game.  Clearly some things worked out just enough in past weeks to put them at 5-2 overall.  But Belichick is rarely ever outsmarted but this past weekend, Mike Tomlin and his team got the best of New England.

Looking at the secondary, you have to wonder what has happened to the likes of Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung who a year ago were playing their best football.  McCourty, in his second year hasn’t played to the level he did last year when he was named to the Pro Bowl and Second Team All Pro.  Patrick Chung at safety hasn’t had the help he had last year due to the Patriots releasing James Sanders.

New England went out and drafted cornerback Ras-I Dowling but this past week, he was put on injured reserve and gone for the season.  The Pats also released veteran cornerback Leigh Bodden, who was reportedly unhappy about his playing time in the secondary.  This has left the Patriots with McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Antwaun Molden, and Phillip Adams at the cornerback position.

The defense that the Patriots put out there is not going to win them a championship.  There are too many good teams now that are based around passing and if you can’t stop the pass, you can not win.  But I do not believe it stays like this.  Knowing the Patriots organization, I believe they will make the adjustments to make their defense strong once again.   I really like the production out of Kyle Arrington this year but he helped Antonio Brown of the Steelers have a great game this past weekend.  The loss of Dowling dooms large on the experience he will be missing out on but it is up to McCourty and Chung to take control of this secondary.

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