Four games into the regular season, the New England Patriots’ defense remains a tough unit to gauge.
Sometimes they look like a dominant group, one that batters opposing runners and pressures the QB like the early 2000s Willie McGinest-era Patriots. Other times, opposing quarterbacks pick apart their secondary, expose their linebackers’ flaws in coverage and gash them over the deep middle of the field.
During their Week 4 matchup against the Buffalo Bills, New England’s D showed both sides of that coin.
The Pats forced four INTs and three fumbles, two of which they recovered. They limited dangerous Buffalo rushers CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson and pressured QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in spurts.
But they also allowed 438 total yards, including Fitzpatrick’s 340 passing yards and four touchdown passes.
It's tough to evaluate the Pats' defensive performance in Week 4 wholesale, especially for a game in which performances varied wildly. So let’s give each starter on the Patriots defense their own individual grade.