It’s time to start worrying about the New England Patriots’ defense.
The Patriots led the NFL in points allowed per game entering their Week 10 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks and dropped all the way down to sixth after the 31-24 loss. The Patriots’ defense wasn’t passing the “eye test” even while preventing points, and its level of competition wasn’t exactly high-powered, but New England still was winning.
The Seahawks are the type of team the Patriots will face in the playoffs, and the Pats struggled and lost. Some of the Patriots’ biggest issues came in pass coverage.
Here’s how the Patriots individually fared in pass coverage, pass rush, pass protection and accuracy.
Logan Ryan: 6-12, 101 yards, TD, PBU
Malcolm Butler: 7-8, 66 yards, TD
Elandon Roberts: 2-2, 48 yards
Justin Coleman: 2-4, 37 yards, defensive pass interference
Patrick Chung: 2-2, 37 yards
Shea McClellin: 1-1, 18 yards
Chris Long: 1-1, 14 yards
Dont’a Hightower: 2-4, 11 yards, PBU, defensive pass interference
Devin McCourty: 1-1, 4 yards
— The Patriots might have to reassess their cornerback situation again rough outings by Logan Ryan and Justin Coleman. Even Malcolm Butler, who mostly has been solid as a rock as the Patriots’ No. 1 cornerback, labored his way through New England’s Week 10 loss.
— The Patriots had more success in zone than man coverage. It still seems it would benefit them to play more aggressively. Both Ryan and Hightower dropped interceptions, however.
— Roberts was burned on a completion to running back C.J. Prosise. Coverage isn’t Roberts’ strong suit.
— If there’s a silver lining, the Patriots held Jimmy Graham to four catches for 48 yards. They also keyed in on him for most of the game.
— The Patriots might go back to cornerback Eric Rowe next week. They might as well see what they have in Cyrus Jones and Jonathan Jones while they’re at it.
Trey Flowers: two sacks, three hurries (five pressures)
Rob Ninkovich: sack, QB hit, three hurries (five pressures)
Dont’a Hightower: four hurries (four pressures)
Malcom Brown: QB hit, hurry (two pressures)
Chris Long: two hurries (two pressures)
Jabaal Sheard: hurry (one pressure)
— Flowers started over Jabaal Sheard at right defensive end and played 61 snaps. Sheard played just 16 snaps. Flowers now has four sacks in his last two games.
— The Patriots’ pass rush was more productive Sunday night, but the Seahawks’ offensive line also is horrible. So it’s a small feat.
— There were times the Patriots sent just two pass rushers. It didn’t seem to help much in coverage, however.
Nate Solder: sack, QB hit, five hurries (seven pressures)
Marcus Cannon: sack, three hurries (four pressures)
Joe Thuney: three hurries (three hurries)
Shaq Mason: sack, hurry (two hurries)
David Andrews: hurry (one pressure)
— The Seahawks’ pass rush is dangerous even without Michael Bennett, but this wasn’t the offensive line’s best effort.
— Solder let up a sack on his own, while Cannon and Mason split one.
1. Pass to Julian Edelman broken up
2. Grounded to Chris Hogan
3. Overthrown to Edelman
4. Underthrown interception to Malcolm Mitchell
5. Pass to Rob Gronkowski broken up
6. Pass to Gronkowski tipped at the line
7. Underthrown/miscommunication on pass to Hogan
8. Overthrown to Hogan, who stopped his route
9. Overthrown to Gronkowski
— The Patriots didn’t have any drops. The pass to Gronkowski tipped at the line passed through Gronkowski’s arms, however.
— Brady was just 3 of 9 for 89 yards with an interception on deep passes.
— Brady had two miscommunications with Hogan, which is concerning to see. Hogan kept running on what appeared to be a back shoulder throw. Later, he stopped running on a deep attempt.
Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images