It’s been said over and over. “Defense wins championships.”
Even with the valiant effort from the comeback kid himself, the New England Patriots came up short. Once again, the defense couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain.
Tom Brady did have a few mishaps however. Multiple missed throws to open targets including a wide open Brandin Cooks in the first quarter allowed the Carolina Panthers to stay in the game. The offensive line allowed Brady to be hit on multiple occasions which resulted in more missed opportunities.
The Panthers were tenacious in their effort on both offense and defense. Julius Peppers racked up two sacks, and the rest of the defensive line pressured Brady on multiple attempts. Linebacker Luke Kuechly led the Panther’s defense with his performance finishing the game with 12 solo tackles and 14 combined tacklers.
The opposite can be said about the Patriots defense. If you’re looking for a sparknote version of a Patriots defensive recap, here you go, they were horrible. Holding calls, illegal hands to the face penalties, and more in the long list of flops plagued the defense.
This was especially evident on the last drive of the game when cornerback Stephon Gilmore was tagged with an illegal hands to the face, when there could have been a sack on a third down which would have resulted in a punt.
Head coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will need to get things in order in a short week as the Patriots will look to improve to 3-2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday at 8:25 p.m.