FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots’ defensive issues finally reached their tipping point Sunday night in a 31-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Through the first half of the season, the Patriots’ defense bent but didn’t break all the way to a 7-1 record. Then a good team came to Gillette Stadium, and that method no longer worked.
The Patriots now are 7-2 and were potentially exposed by a very good Seahawks team.
Here are six standouts, good and bad.
The Patriots’ pass defense was exposed, allowing Russell Wilson to go 25-of-37 passing for 348 yards and three touchdowns. Logan Ryan, Malcolm Butler and Patrick Chung all let up touchdowns.
The Patriots’ run defense didn’t exactly set the world on fire, either, allowing 4 yards per carry to a Seahawks rushing attack that came in struggling to move the ball.
QB TOM BRADY
Brady throwing an interception — his first of the season — doesn’t automatically qualify him for a down performance. But it was the throw he decided to make that does. Brady scrambled, then sent a duck 10 yards short of his intended target.
It also wasn’t Brady’s strongest game with the deep ball. He was 3 of 9 with completions to Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman and an interception.
Brady was on point for much of the rest of the game, completing 23 of 32 passes for 316 yards.
The Patriots’ fumbling issues aren’t getting any better as the season continues. Kick returner Cyrus Jones and wide receiver Julian Edelman both coughed up the ball. Jones’ loose ball was scooped up by Patriots safety Nate Ebner, but Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman recovered Edelman’s.
The Patriots’ defense also has struggled mightily at forcing turnovers. They’ve survived because the Patriots hadn’t thrown any interceptions entering the game, but they need to start getting more aggressive on defense.
RB LEGARRETTE BLOUNT
All Blount did was score touchdowns against the Seahawks’ defense.
Blount carried the ball 21 times for 69 yards with three touchdowns. Blount now has 12 touchdowns and is on pace for a ridiculous 21 on the season.
Blount was supposed to slow down with Brady back under center. That hasn’t happened.
TE MARTELLUS BENNETT
The Seahawks keyed in on Rob Gronkowski and seemed to forget about Martellus Bennett, who had seven catches on seven targets for 102 yards.
The Patriots proved an opposing defense can take away one tight end, but it might be too much to ask to eliminate both.
DE TREY FLOWERS
Flowers earned his first career start and rewarded the Patriots with three sacks. The Patriots finally were able to bring some pressure, though it resulted in just three total sacks.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images