Where Are the New England Patriots Struggling Most on Defense?

October 31, 2012   ·     ·   Jump to comments

The New England Patriots defense has had its share of struggles through the first half of the 2012 season, but what is most baffling and frustrating is how its problems are primarily isolated to one specific area: defending the deep pass.
In past seasons, the unofficial motto for the Patriots defense was "bend, don't break," and 2011 was perhaps the most egregious example of this style ever. Football Outsiders listed the 2011 Pats as their best ever in "Points Prevented Per Drive".
The "bend-but-don't-break" approach was alive and well just last year.
But in 2012 the Patriots aren't bending, they're just breaking.
The Pats are currently ranked 32nd in the NFL in passes over 20 yards allowed with 42, and they're tied for 28th in passes allowed over 40 yards with six. The bombs are dropping left and right and the Patriots defense has no answers.
This is nothing new really. The 2011 Pats were also the worst in the NFL at giving up 20-plus yard passing plays, but t...

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