We begin the 2013 campaign with a review of the Patriots against Buffalo, their Week 1 opponent. And we'll start the discussion with the defense's effort in the first half.
1st Quarter – Defense
...Patriots started on defense in the nickel, with
...The next time the defense took the field, on the second defensive series, this lineup remained intact, with the exception of Dont'a Hightower replacing Spikes at linebacker. Effectively, this nickel package served as New England's "base" defense, if you will, against Buffalo. The game plan apparently called for this, as the Patriots expected Buffalo to employ three-receiver sets most of the time.
...New England's interior defense got decent penetration into the Bills backfield early on, with end Jones sometimes stunting into the middle to pressure Buffalo rookie QB E.J. Manuel. By the third series, though, rookie
...The Patriots forced a punt on that third Bills drive when Jones, lined up as a right tackle (rookie end
...Buffalo went no-huddle most of the first quarter, but the Patriots, with very limited substitutions, held firm.
2nd Quarter – Defense
...To open the second quarter on D, New England subbed Vellano back in, this time for Wilfork. So, Kelly and Vellano were your tackles. Buffalo exploited this anomaly on the first two plays, gaining 20 yards total on the ground by running easily between the tackles both times. The Vellano-Kelly duo made up for this a short time later with a combined tackle-for-loss on 3rd-and-1 that forced the Bills to punt.
...Wilfork came back in on the next series, taking Kelly's place, and New England finally showed a traditional "base" defense (four down linemen, three linebackers, four defensive backs). Rookie
...The Patriots got creative on the next series. Ninkovich moved to the right end spot, next to Jones at right tackle. Buchanan replaced Ninko at left end, with Wilfork at left tackle. The rest of the D stayed the same in the nickel. This grouping forced a Bills three-and-out.
Read After Further Review: Patriots-Bills, 2nd Half Defense >>
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