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Patriots' 60-second rant: Defense gets a wake-up call

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Sept. 21, 2010 @ 6:52 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Mark Sanchez threw for 74 yards against the Ravens in Week One. The Jets' offense was woeful.

Against the Patriots in Week Two, Sanchez lit up the Pats' secondary for 220 yards and three TDs. And veteran RB LaDainian Tomlinson gained 6.9 yards per carry on the ground.

We knew the Patriots' secondary would have issues this season, starting a rookie corner (Devin McCourty) opposite a second-year player (Darius Butler). But after shutting down the Bengals' "Batman and Robin" duo in Week One, they could handle the Jets' passing offense, right?

Instead, they made Sanchez look like, well, Tom Brady.

McCourty was beat for a touchdown twice. Inside the red zone, Jerricho Cotchery tried to make an inside slant on him. The rookie, known for his physicality, played bump-and-run with the veteran for the first few steps before losing Cotchery for an easy TD.

The second came against TE Dustin Keller. Sanchez floated the ball across his body toward Keller, and it appeared to be a pass McCourty could knock down, but Keller outjumped the rookie to bring it down.

Butler had a nightmare of a game, getting torched and taunted by Braylon Edwards for a touchdown and two-point conversion. If that wasn't enough, Butler picked up two pass interference penalties that led to the Keller TD.

While the pass defense is a major concern after Week Two's loss, Vince Wilfork mentioned another problem in an interview on Monday with WEEI in Boston. He said the Patriots' defense continues to struggle against "sub" runs, and despite being aware of the weakness, it still let up a few big runs to L.T.

The Jets trotted out three-WR sets, knowing the Patriots would respond with a 4-2-5 nickel. L.T. ripped off runs against the sub package after the Patriots' base package had kept him in check.

It seems as if defensive genius Bill Belichick was outsmarted in Week Two. The Jets attacked two Patriots weaknesses and turned a woeful offense into one that piled up 28 points.

The Pats' "D" is banged up without starters DE Ty Warren and CB Leigh Bodden for the season, so defensive miscues are going to happen — you just don't expect them against a below-average Jets offense in a division game. The defense gets an even easier task in Week Three against the lowly Bills and their 32nd-ranked passing offense, but if defensive miscues continue, it might have to send the Pats into panic mode.

The defense wasn't the only thing that went wrong on Sunday, as the offense completely fell apart in the second half. Click here to read analysis of Brady's over-reliance on WR Randy Moss.

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