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Defense remains a disaster

Posted by Albert Breer  September 27, 2010 10:56 AM

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It's been three weeks now -- roughly one-fifth of the season -- and we've seen very little improvement from a young Patriots defense. Maybe it's coming, but this point, there aren't signs of that.

And if stays the same, that's not good. This has, in fact, been the worst three-game start from a "points allowed" (Bill Belichick often says that the only defensive stat that really matters) standpoint of the Belichick Era. In fact, the last time the Patriots allowed this many points through three weeks was in 1994, Robert Kraft's first year as owner, and Belichick's fourth season ... in Cleveland.

Here's how this "points allowed" start stacks up among others in Belichick's tenure ...

2000: 62
2001: 46
2002: 59
2003: 57
2004: 53
2005: 67
2006: 51
2007: 35
2008: 58
2009: 50
2010: 82


What's worse, it's not like it was the Saints and Colts that did this to them. Even with big numbers compiled against the Patriots factored in as one-third of the equation, the Bengals are just 14th in total offense and the Jets are 21st. The Bills? Well, their 374 yards yesterday helped their stats, no doubt, but they were so scattershot previously that it wasn't enough to get them out of 32nd place on the total offense list.

There was a series of statistics I dug up for my On Football column that appeared in this morning's paper. Went like this ... The Patriots were 13-4 in 2003 and '04 in games where Tom Brady's quarterback rating dipped below 85.0. They were 4-1 in such spots in 2007, the lone loss coming in the Super Bowl. The last two years, when Brady's number has fallen below 85.0, the Patriots are 2-6.

The bottom line is that this team is more reliant than it's ever been on Brady, and the above statistics on the defense show you why.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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