How A “Terrible” Defense Won The AFC Championship

BY: Jess Dempsey

All year, NFL “analysts”, and I use the term lightly because they often give their opinions and truly aren’t analyzing much, have been referring to the New England Patriots defense with a slew of less-than-flattering adjectives (“terrible”, “untalented”, and “slow” being among those). But, when it has really mattered, last week against the Broncos, and this week versus the Ravens, the Patriot’s defense showed up, and they showed up in a big way.


Integral, key plays by linebacker Brandon Spikes and cornerback Sterling Moore helped prevent a win for the Baltimore Ravens. Spikes intercepted Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco to turn the momentum back to the Patriots in the fourth quarter. Although Brady would negate that play with an interception of his own, Spikes’ interception lit up the crowd and took precious time off the clock. Another key play maker for the Patriots was Sterling Moore. Moore stripped Baltimore receiver Lee Evans of the ball in the end zone at the last second, preventing what most in the stadium thought was a sure touchdown. The entire place erupted in cheers for the backup cornerback from SMU.


” It was just a split-second decision and I’m glad it worked out,” Moore said. “We do that drill everyday in practice, but it was the first time I had to use it in a game, and I just took what I learned from practice into the game.”


You can’t talk about the Patriots’ defense without giving major props to tackle Vince Wilfork, who earned shouts of “MVP! MVP!” as his smiling face was shown on the Jumbotron at Gillette Stadium after the win. Wilfork had six tackles, three for a loss, including a key play with little more than three minutes remaining in the third quarter where he dropped Ray Rice for a three-yard loss.


Wilfork said that despite what many said, he “never lost faith in [our] defense.”


Some will say that Cundiff lost it for the Ravens, missing a 32-yard field goal at the end that would have sent the game into overtime. But, without such a stellar showing by the Patriots’ defense, the Ravens wouldn’t even have needed a field goal because they would have been 7-14 points ahead.


Bottom Line: The Patriots defense is an athletic, talented crew, and if they play in the Super Bowl like they’ve played the last two games, they will present quite a problem to Eli Manning and the red-hot Giants.


Pro Football Chick will be reporting LIVE from Indianapolis at the Super Bowl. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @JessDempNFL to get updates!!

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