Linebackers (F) … Dont’a Hightower was last seen whiffing at the edge as Ray Rice tiptoed into the end zone. Of course, that was after an unblocked Jerod Mayo let Rice slip away and bounce to the outside. Hightower was weak on the edge for as long as Belichick stayed with him. It was basic stuff, too. He let blockers get to his outside shoulder too easily, that’s the first rule of setting the edge.
Secondary (F) … You guys, you fans all told me this group was improving. You used the words “Pro Bowl” talking about Devin McCourty at safety. And you said Steve Gregory was the most improved guy back there. The bottom line is when the brittle Aqib Talib left in the first half, this secondary imploded. He’s Aqib Talib, not Ronnie Lott or Deion Sanders or even Ty Law. I tweeted it, and I will say it again. The Pats played most of the game without a legitimate starting, championship defensive back. The names have changed, but Arrington, Cole, Dennard and McCourty are simply the 2012 version of Wheatley, Wilhite, Butler and Chung. Against real teams or QBs, they turtle up into a ball and get savagely pummeled.
Why Belichick is better
Not sure he is after today, but the fact that he had his defensive backs convinced that Aqib Talib was the second coming, giving them such confidence, has to be worth something.
Of course, when Talib got hurt at just the wrong time yesterday, they panicked little dateless 17-year-olds a week before the prom.
When I see Aaron Hernandez turn inside in the final 30 seconds of the first half to fight for 2 yards, instead of stepping out of bounds, I wonder who is coaching these guys.
The clock butchery at the end of the first half was near embarrassing for this veteran team, though.