We'll get into the videos breaking down some of the issues in the 43-40 win over the Chiefs, and our usual positional breakdowns, gamecharts and 3 up/3 down, but first I wanted to discuss the answers to some of the most frequent questions I get about the Patriots defense because, for some reason (don't ask me why), the answers crystalized as Kansas City kept marching up and down the field on New England.
Probably the most common questions I get asked about the Patriots' defense are these:
- Why aren't they very good defensively between the 20s (total yards)?
- Why are they much better in the red zone (points allowed)?
- Why does New England struggle against mobile quarterbacks?
Don't ask me why it took me this long to come up with a good answer outside of Bill Belichick plays the percentages with everything they do (the odds of an opponent scoring a touchdown by going 12 plays every drive are low, making a quarterback complete passes deep and outside the numbers are a low percentage for the offense, getting more draft picks increases the odds of landing a good player, etc.). That's definitely in play in this whole discussion.
Think about it. If, over 16 games, you force an opponent by driving the field virtually every time to score seven points by not turning the ball over and not allowing big plays, the odds are the Patriots are going to be successful a lot more than they are not, especially against opponents that are inferior from a talent perspective. Against teams that are as talented or more talented, all bets are off. But how often does that happen in the postseason — maybe in the AFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl? That's about it.
So playing the percentages -- as Belichick does -- is very sound. The Patriots' ridiculously successful track record is all the evidence you need of that.
But when it comes to one-game situations against a good quarterback — especially of the mobile variety — and offensive talent as good or better than what the Patriots can counter with defensively, New England will be hard-pressed to have the kind of dominating, three-and-out defense that so many of its fans would like to see.
It all comes down to simple math, as well as Belichick's philosophy at one position: