Dec 14, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones (95) celebrates with safety Patrick Chung (23) after ab interception during the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots won 41-13. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
The defense got off to a slow start, but they finished strong once again, giving up zero points in the second half, and only 113 total yards. Ryan Tannehill was sacked four times, was picked off twice, and Miami averaged a mere 3.3 yards per carry on the ground.
As this season has progressed, it has become clear that this defense is different from the units of past years. The secondary is truly elite, they have the best linebacker duo in the league, and with the return of Chandler Jones, this defensive line can get back to making consistent plays in the backfield like they did at the beginning of the year. There is no offense this group can’t handle, and if the Pats do advance to the Super Bowl, that will be the primary reason.
The one stat that really stood out to me other than zero points allowed in the second half was Miami’s third down conversion numbers. New England held the Dolphins to 3 successful conversions on 16 attempts, which, along with the two forced turnovers, was the story of the game.
It is very hard to run against New England’s front, and it is even harder to get open against this secondary. Throw in Chandler Jones on the edge, and the two linebackers coming up the middle?