Nov 23, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) is sacked by New England Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich (50) during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
1. Defense Proves They Are One Of The Best
Over the past month or so, the New England Patriots’ offense has stolen the spotlight in Foxboro, and rightfully so. Coming into this one the Pats had been averaging over 40 points a game during their win streak, and it felt like they could put up more if they felt like it.
But it was the defense that stole the show against the Lions, showing the rest of the league that they are one of the best overall defensive units in the league. It started on the outside, where Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner completely shut-down Megatron and Golden Tate. They were physical with the two wideouts, and combined to make at least six pass deflections for the game.
By taking away Detroit’s two best options, Bill Belichick essentially had Matthew Stafford‘s offense sealed up. Because of New England’s depth in the secondary, the Lions couldn’t get any of their other weapons going, and the front seven made sure to stop the running game from the start. Stafford only completed 18 of his 46 throws, and turned it over once late in the fourth quarter. In addition, Akeem Ayers showed up once again in the pass rush, getting in on both Patriots’ sacks. When Chandler Jones returns, the rotation of him, Ninkovich, and Ayers will be deadly.
When it is all said and done, this defense can hang with anybody in the league. They have the best defensive backfield in the NFL, a great duo of starting linebackers, and a front four that has improved mightily against the run over the last couple of weeks.
Next up: Aaron Rodgers.