The Patriots' title defense largely started the way the last season finished: with the offense searching for offensive consistency and an identity (despite the 33-3 final — you can thank the Steelers' mistake-prone defense and offense for that), and the defense again largely carrying the banner as the most dependable side of the ball.
There weren't a whole lot of unexpected aspects of this game for the Patriots. We've been talking for weeks that the Patriots were going to use multiple running backs out of passing sets, and at times the tight end was likely to disappear from the offense. Both held true in this one.
But there were two notable aspects for this team going forward, and both are on the defensive side of the ball. We'll get to the usual unit grades, charts and videos, but first, we start with what stood out on the defense: