Not much about the 2013 NFL season has been pretty for the New England Patriots. The Patriots now sit with a solid 6-2 record and hold a two-game lead in the AFC East, but that doesn’t mean it’s looked great along the way. This isn’t the Patriots’ teams of old that have been able to put up 40 points seemingly whenever they please.
The Pats continued that trend in week eight against the Miami Dolphins. New England trailed by a score of 17-3 going into the half, but they put on their big boy pants and pulled out a big defensive performance in the second half, shutting out the Dolphins in the final two periods, to earn the sixth victory of the season by a count of 27-17.
Though you might expect big performances from the Patriots’ offensive players in a comeback like this one, that scenario wasn’t the case on Sunday. Tom Brady finished the game throwing for only 116 yards, one touchdowns and one interception. The running game was decent, amassing 152 yards on 37 carries while also grabbing two scores, but there’s no denying that the Pats’ defense was the key to victory.
With Miami trying to mount a comeback late in the third and in the fourth quarter, the Patriots came up big defensively on three consecutive drives. In order, the Pats’ defense was able to come up with an interception, a blocked field goal, and another interception—that’s pretty big time from the defensive unit.
This may not be the Patriots’ teams that we are used to that have a ton of offensive weapons that can take down anyone, but this is an improved defensive unit. They aren’t great against the run, but it’s hard to throw against them, certainly. If New England is going to make it to the postseason, it’ll be riding their defense and not Brady, as surprising as that may be.