Patriots looking for more stops on third down


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."

Roethlisberger to Brady: I've never done this before but . . . can I have your jersey?

Roethlisberger to Brady: I've never done this before but . . . can I have your jersey?

Tom Brady has fans everywhere, apparently. Even in Pittsburgh. Even on the Steelers roster. 

Showtime's Inside the NFL caught video of Brady meeting with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger before Sunday's game between New England and Pittsburgh. 

The pair hugged near the 50-yard line at Heinz Field. Brady called Roethlisberger "big guy." Roethlisberger, who was out with a knee injury, told Brady he wanted to play "so bad."


Then Roethlisberger became a fan. And like many of them, he had a request. 

"Um, hey, listen," he said. "I've never done this before, but I would love to get a jersey at some point. It'd mean...There's not many I want to put in my office. You're the best, dude."

Brady was happy to oblige. Just not right at that moment. 

"Sure, I'd love to," Brady said. "I'll get you after the game."