Patriots looking for more stops on third down

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Patriots looking for more stops on third down

FOXBORO -- The Patriots defense knows it needs to be better. Against the Bills they allowed 481 total yards and 35 first downs. They gave up 24 plays of 10 yards or more. Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran had the Patriots down for 25 missed tackles.

They committed three turnovers and won the game, 37-31, which is the statistic that matters most. But the Patriots understood their defensive performance against Buffalo left much to be desired.

When asked what the Patriots need to do better against the Colts on Sunday, the answer was simple.

"Coming off the Bills game? Everything," Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo said. "We have to tackle better. Just the fundamentals. Just go out there and execute the game plan."

The acquisition of cornerback Aqib Talib may help. But the Patriots know there is no cure-all. They've been hard at work this week, doing what they can to ensure that they don't put together a second-straight poor performance.

"It's a lot of footage," Vince Wilfork said. "Watching things that we've done, things we have to get better at, things that we have to eliminate. Football that we played that's bad football, we have to eliminate it. Here we are, 10th week. It's rolling fast and the ball's gonna continue to come fast. We're just gonna have to be able to execute well each week."

One of the elements of New England's defense that has significant room for improvement is their play on third downs. They allowed Buffalo to convert on 7-of-11 third down attempts on Sunday and are second-worst in the league at stopping opponents on third down, allowing them to convert for first downs on 44.6 percent of their third down plays.

"I just think we need to be more consistent," linebacker Brandon Spikes said. "Especially on third down. We've been having a lot of problems on third down. And we've been able to get in the right position, coach has done a great job of getting us in position. We know the scheme, we just need to, you know, try to execute it better."

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels

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Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels:

QUOTES

* “He just had very good command the entire night. Stayed ahead in the count [and] pitched to all quadrants of the strike zone. He used his four-seamer in on some powerful right-handed hitters in their lineup.” John Farrell on Rick Porcello’s performance.

* “We needed a win bad and swung the bats well and played good defense. That’s a big win for us.” Rick Porcello said after his win in an interview with NESN.

* “24 hours ago we were probably in a much different place mentally after a ball game like tonight.” Farrell on the win.

“That was probably the first time I sat on off-speed pitches this whole year. I took a chance, took a gamble.” Jackie Bradley Jr. said on his home run.

NOTES

* Rick Porcello completed his first game in a Red Sox uniform in the 6-2 win. The CG was the fifth of his career and his first since he threw three in 2014. The righty has 14 wins, one win shy of tying his career high.

* Xander Bogaerts had his first multi extra-base hit performance of the season since June 11. He’s only done that twice this season. He extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

* David Ortiz logged his 85th RBI of the season in the win and Mookie Betts his 67th. Heading into Friday night’s game, the two were one of five pairs of teammates ranking in the top 20 in RBI. The list includes Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson, Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story, Adam Duvall and Jay Bruce and Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.

* Dustin Pedroia has now reached base safely in 32 straight games.

STARS

1) Rick Porcello

Porcello had his first complete game in a Red Sox uniform, stopping Boston’s losing skid at four games.

2) Xander Bogaerts

Bogaerts finished with a double and a home run -- the only Boston hitter with multiple hits. He also led the Red Sox with three RBI and scoring twice in the win.

3) Dustin Pedroia

In addition to walking in his first two at-bats, Pedroia had a base hit -- and another walk -- scoring twice on the night.

First impressions of the Red Sox' 6-2 win over the Angels

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First impressions of the Red Sox' 6-2 win over the Angels

First impressions of the Red Sox 6-2 win over Los Angeles:

Rick Porcello is not fazed by his fellow staff members’ struggles.

Although his teammates continue to deal with frustrations on almost a nightly basis, Porcello got the job done and put Boston in a position to win once again.

The second-inning double by Daniel Nava should have been a single, had Jackie Bradley Jr. not misplayed a funny hop. If that hit is a single, the next ground ball is a double -- and the following grounder ends the inning.

One of the most impressive components of his outing was dealing with Cole Kalhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to finish his outing after already facing them three times on the night.

Xander Bogaerts had his first multi-hit game in a week.

Which in the grand scheme of things isn’t a long time -- but that can feel like a long time given the shortstop’s output this year.

It was also his first multi extra-base hit performance since June 11.

Oddly enough, those are his only two games of that kind this season.

In addition to the win, Porcello did the bullpen a favor.

Not necessarily because the relievers needed rest, but with Ziegler’s last two rough nights, they could use a break.

Although Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz got warm late, it was more so to keep them fresh for the coming games since they haven’t thrown much.

Additionally, he gave an example for the Red Sox starting rotation that they are in fact capable of going the distance.

Tim Lincecum is barely a shell of what he used to be.

That first inning was hard to watch. The former Cy Young Award-winner threw eight straight balls, and somehow managed to work past. Even his final throw to first base in he opening frame looked like it was going off the mark.

Just hard to watch in general, which made it all the more shocking that the Red Sox couldn’t score against him.

Good for them that he never adjusted, and they took advantage of it in the ensuing innings.