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Mayo takes the loss hard

Posted by Adam Kilgore, Globe Staff  December 1, 2009 01:13 AM

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Jerod Mayo understands his role as the leader of the Patriots defense, and the second-year linebacker took tonight’s loss personally. The defense, the unit he takes pride in leading, gave the Patriots no chance to win. Their coach resorted to going for it on fourth down every chance he got.

“It’s tough, man,” Mayo said. “Every time you lose a game like that, you just try to shoulder it. It was a tough game for us all the way around.”

The biggest failing of the Patriots tonight – and there were plenty to choose from – was bungling coverage and yielding huge plays. Those occurred because players were not in lockstep on the defensive call.

“It’s all about execution and being on the same page,” Mayo said. “Tonight, the defense wasn’t on the same page. I take that on my shoulders, not having these guys on the same page and given up big plays against a good offense.”

Mayo was left to absorb a bad performance in a statement game for the second time in two weeks. The Colts shredded the Patriots defense in the second half to seal the Patriots collapse. Tonight, the Saints didn’t wait around until the second half.

“We have to play situational football better against top teams,” Mayo said. “To this point, the defense hasn’t done it. So hopefully we’re going to get that fixed these next five weeks.”

When Mayo was asked to clarify what he meant by “situational football,” his answer was particularly telling. The Patriots’ defense has been most assailable at the most important times, against the toughest competition.

“When it’s crunch time, we have to make plays,” Mayo said. “We didn’t do that. We came in and at halftime ready to go. As a defense, we haven’t played well coming out of the halftime yet. The whole year, the defense has been playing pretty good besides the Colts game and this game. We just have to go back to the drawing board and get better.”

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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