Patriots defense lets down in fourth quarter

Patriots defense lets down in fourth quarter
December 5, 2011, 12:23 am
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FOXBORO -- Jerod Mayo recorded his first NFL interception in the fourth quarter of the Patriots' 31-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

It was one of the only positives coming from a fourth quarter that saw New England outscored 21-0.

"I was just reading the quarterback and just broke on the ball," said Mayo about his diving interception over the middle. "I don't remember, to be honest with you. I'll have to go back and watch the film."

When Mayo -- and the rest of the Patriots' defense -- goes back and watches that film, chances are, they're going to look at a whole lot more than just Mayo's interception.

They're also going to take a look at Indianapolis' 88, 93, and 90-yard scoring drives from that fourth quarter, which turned a 31-3 Patriots lead into a 31-24 final.

"We played good for 45 minutes, and then didn't do anything offensively in the fourth quarter," said Tom Brady after the game. "So we'll hear about that tomorrow."

Brady wasn't about to throw his defense under the bus. But as bad as the offense looked putting up a goose egg in the final 15 minutes on Sunday, the defense looked worse.

"We started off fast, we just couldn't finish the game," said Mayo. "Those guys fought back and executed at the end of the game, and we couldn't put two halves together. Hopefully we do it next week.

"It's kind of disappointing, to be honest with you," added Mayo. "Even though it's a win, and it's hard to win games in the National Football League, you want to finish so much stronger than that."

So what was the reason for the poor finish?

"Poor execution, lack of execution, lack of focus," said Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington. "Got to really look at the film. It's hard to really tell right now. We'll go back, look it over, and take a hard look in the mirror and see how we can get better."

"I thought we did some good things out there today," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "We've obviously got to do a better job of finishing the game. That was disappointing, but we'll work on that. We'll get back to work here and get ready for Washington next week.

"I think we did some good things today," added Belichick. "There are other things we didn't do as well. That's the way it is every week."

Defensive lineman Andre Carter was a little more optimistic than others about the way New England finished defensively. The veteran sounded like a guy who believed some -- if not most -- of the let down at the end was more about human nature creeping into a 31-3 lead against a winless team, rather than a lack of skill.

"We just know that, in the end, as a team, we have the talent, and we have the mentality," said Carter. "We just have to finish strong. It's something that we have to communicate as a group and as a team, and move on from there.

"I think in general, it's a mindset," added Carter. "It's just knowing what you have to do, and going out there trying to execute. Unfortunately, towards the end, final stretch of the game, Indy was just able to make big plays. And that is something we have to eliminate."