New England Patriots: Five Takeaways From 43-17 Win Over Cincinnati Bengals

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Oct 5, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive tackle

Chris Jones

(94) sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback

Andy Dalton

(14) during the second half quarter at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Bengals 43-17. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

2. Defense plays aggressive, good things happen

As many have been saying all week, when this Patriots defense is allowed to really use their talent, they can be really good. And after four games of confusing schemes, Bill Belichick finally realized what to do with this talented group.

He let Darrelle Revis shadow A.J. Green, which let the rest of the defense play extremely aggressive, which resulted in a dominant performance. Without Brandon Browner, this secondary shut down the Bengals’ passing game, and the front seven managed to handle Giovani Bernard and company minus Dont’a Hightower and Sealver Siliga.

If the Pats continue to play aggressive like this, and Devin McCourty returns from his minor injury 100% healthy, this defensive backfield could end up being better than Seattle’s by the time this season comes to a close. That’s just how good they are right now.

The one criticism I have for the defense is the pressure (or lack thereof) they got on Andy Dalton. Now, I realize Chandler Jones was limited in this game, and he is their best pass rusher, but Dalton was barely touched all night. If the Patriots can get any kind of pass rush going, they will be a scary unit to deal with going forward.

When they play someone like Peyton Manning, great coverage won’t be enough for 60 minutes. But once Hightower returns, and Jones’ shoulder injury heals up, their pass rush should improve.