There’s no one way to explain that pig snout of a Patriots defense on Saturday night.
It’s not purely a talent issue. J.C. Jackson is a second team All-Pro, Matt Judon amassed 12.5 sacks, and Christian Barmore often looked like one of the best defensive rookies in the league.
It’s not all about coaching problems, either. Bill Belichick and his staff proved able to outclass younger, less experienced coaches and flummox talented opposing quarterbacks over the course of the Patriots’ seven-game winning streak. They allowed the second-fewest points per game in the regular season, despite stumbling down the stretch.
But in the end, against a real opponent with a real quarterback, the Patriots defense was utterly nonexistent, a far cry from the unit that was focused, cohesive, and productive during the team’s hot stretch. For almost half the season, the defense keyed the Patriots’ resurrection as a playoff team. They needed to be the key to the Pats making any kind of run in January. On Saturday in Orchard Park, they were the opposite.
What the hell happened to these guys?