Patriots tough defense readies for challenge of slowing down Jonathan Taylor

New England will visit Indianapolis for an AFC game on Saturday night in a game with huge playoff implications

FOXBOROUGH – When the outside linebacker of the New England Patriots, Matthew JudonAsked what defines the team’s tough defense, in the midst of his seven-game winning streak, he spoke of its transformative nature.

“It’s whatever it takes to complete the job. Whether we have to slow down the race because they come out in heavy formation, or they come out with an empty backfield trying to throw the ball across the field … we can transform into that,” but Judon. “I think it’s our style.”

It’s a defense tailored to the head coach’s preference. Bill belichick, to be specific to the game plan.

Throughout the past five games, New england he has allowed 36 points (7.2 per game); but now comes the challenge Jonathan Taylor, with the Patriots at 9-4 starting preparations for Saturday’s game of the AFC against the Indianapolis Colts in 7-6, in the Lucas Oil Stadium (8:15 pm ET).

Taylor, 5 feet 10 inches and 226 pounds, is the leading runner in the NFL with 241 carries for 1,348 yards and 16 touchdowns. The next one on the list is Joe mixon of the Cincinnati Bengals, with 245 carries for 1,036 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Taylor he’s a tough guy to take down. Is strong. He breaks a lot of arm tackles. It’s very fast. Not many defensive players can reach it, “he said. Belichick of the 2020 second-round draft, from Wisconsin.

“He’s really been very effective when he’s been able to get through the line of scrimmage and exploit a 60- or 70-yard run. It’s hard for teams to count on in the running game, but he’s been able to respond for them with his speed. and ability to run. “

The Colts they rank first in the NFL in rushing average (5.1 yards per carry), second in the league in rushing yards per game (151.7) and third in points scored (28.5 per game).

“It’s an incredible running game. I think it starts up front,” said the inside linebackers coach for the Patriots, Jerod May, from the left tackle Eric Fisher, left guard Quenton nelson, center Ryan kelly, right guard Mark Glowinski and right tackle Braden smith, headlines for Colts. “Many people believe that it begins with TaylorBut if you look at those guys up front, they’ve done a great job opening holes for the corridors. “

As added by the outside linebackers coach, and in charge of the command of plays, Steve Belichick, “A lot of things are clicking for the offense … If you bet everything to stop it [a Taylor]It is going to open up problems elsewhere. “

Meanwhile, the defense of the Patriots –outside an uncharacteristic performance before Tennessee Titans on Nov. 28, when they allowed 270 rushing yards – he’s been strong against the run during the winning streak.

The nose tackle Davon godchaux, coming off a career-high 10 tackles performance in the Week 13 win against the Buffalo bills, previously shared his tagline of “Stop the race and have fun.” Godchaux He said he learned it in college, in LSU, and has brought that mentality to New england in his first campaign with the team.

The defensive lineman too Deatrich Wise Jr. noticed that the Patriots they are at their best when they “read the keys and play fundamentals”, allowing them to build a wall on the line of scrimmage. That will be critical against Taylor, Nyheim Hines & Inc. Saturday night.

“Everyone should understand that the ball can go anywhere. It could be designed to go through a certain gap, but that doesn’t really mean anything. Those guys will take whatever is available, wherever there is space,” he shared. Belichick Monday in his weekly interview with WEEI sports radio.

“Everyone must be in their hole, their area of ​​responsibility, or we are about to give up a great play. They can literally score from anywhere on the field, and that’s always a very dangerous situation.”

This season, opponents are averaging 4.4 yards per carry against the Patriots and 114.5 rushing yards per game, ranking 19th in both fields on the run, doesn’t necessarily illustrate how good they’ve been in the rushing game, especially in short-yardage situations.

In November, after a victory against the Atlanta Falcons which included stops on the third chance and 1, and the fourth and 1, to ensure the match, Belichick He said: “It’s a real mindset and source of pride for defense, where we’re going to fight every yard and force you to beat it.”

It will be strength against strength when Patriots collide with Taylor and the Colts.

Something will have to give.