Patriots 'complementary' play leads to stout defensive performance

Patriots 'complementary' play leads to stout defensive performance
December 31, 2012, 3:22 am
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FOXBORO -- Seeing the Patriots record a season-high seven sacks in Sunday's 28-0 win over the Miami Dolphins, it would seem as if most of the praise for New England's first shutout since 2009 would be going to the defensive line following the game.

But as Patriots players pointed out, the defensive success is complementary.

"Oh yeah, they were coming, they were coming, to say the least," said cornerback Kyle Arrington, when asked about the pressure up front. "Those guys are great, though. They put so much effort in during the week, and it shows up on game day all the time. We are fortunate to have those guys up front.

"We work off each other," added Arrington. "We play complementary football all the time. We do our best to. Those guys get a pass rush for us, or we hold up on the back end and give them some time to get there. So, it works out. It works in both ways."

Bill Belichick was also quick to credit everyone on the defense for the shutout, not just the defensive line that forced seven sacks.

"They did a good job, but its team defense," said Belichick. "Guys were covered, the quarterback had to hold the ball, they helped the pass rush. Guys rushed well, guys covered well. When the receivers are open, it doesnt matter what your pass rush is. If you make the quarterback hold the ball, then that helps the pass rush. It was good team defense.

"We did a good job in the running game. There were some long-yardage situations, and of course, we got ahead in the game, that obviously made them have to throw more, so that worked in our advantage too. It was good team defense today.

"Again, I couldnt single anybody out," added Belichick. "The guys in the back end played well, the guys up front played well. It was a big turnover to start the game, put us in good field position early. Of course, Donta Hightower jumped on that fumble down there on the goal line which we had several fumbles against them in the last game and only recovered one so it was good to be able to get that one."

Rookie Justin Francis recorded three of those sacks. Still, Belichick wouldn't even single him out after his first three NFL sacks.

"Again, I think some of that is overrated," said Belichick. "There were several times when one guy came in and flushed the quarterback out and somebody else got him. If we get him as team, we get him. But they all did a good job Justin, Chandler Jones, Vince Wilfork, Brandon Deaderick, Kyle Love, Trevor Scott, Rob Ninkovich they all did a good job."