Mary Paoletti says the Patriots have gotten better against defending long passes this season. The numbers show it and the coach knows it.
On Quick Slants, Paoletti points out that when coach Bill Belichick was prompted to talk about how well his secondary is doing against the long ball, his response was "Thank God" and he was quick to point out how terrible they'd been in the past.
Stats show the Patriots allowed 50 percent of passes longer than 20 yards to be completed in 2011. That percentage is down to 30.9 this season.
A key reason is the tightening defense of safties Devin McCourty and Steve Gregory and cornerback Aqib Talib.