Oct 2, 2014 4:16 PM
Patriots' defense looking to rebound from big loss
The Associated Press
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) There weren't too many bright spots for the New England Patriots' defense during a 27-point blowout to Kansas City.
The fact that it occurred in a Monday night game is one small positive.
Kansas City's 41-14 dismantling of the Patriots in front of a national audience left New England with a short week to prepare for its next opponent and mere hours to forget one of the more embarrassing losses in franchise history before shifting attention to the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals.
"It was a terrible loss for us, but at the same time, it was a short week, we had to move on," Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis said. "It's not like it was Sunday and then we had an extra day to look at the film and had a whole day to really think about it. We had to move on fast to Cincinnati."
So the Chiefs, officially, are in New England's rearview mirror. Running back Jamaal Charles' three touchdowns are a thing of the past. Quarterback Alex Smith missing on just six passes while dissecting New England's secondary for 248 yards and three scores is a distant memory.
The Bengals (3-0), one of only two undefeated teams in the NFL, are foremost in the minds of the Patriots.
But their poor performance against Kansas City isn't entirely a lost cause. New England's defense knows precisely what went wrong, and is looking to build off those mistakes.
"When you can't pinpoint what happened, you can't make any corrections from that," Pro Bowl nose tackle Vince Wilfork said. "For the most part, we see a lot of things that we do that we have no business doing; that we can fix. It's fixable. We need to fix it to get better.
"That's what good football teams do, they fix things and move forward. That's where we're at; we're fixing them and we're moving forward, and hopefully we fix them before Sunday."
The likely return of suspended cornerback Brandon Browner will surely help, if only to contain the Bengals' big receivers
The Patriots (2-2) signed the hard-hitting Pro Bowler during the offseason despite knowing he would miss the first four games of the season due to violating the league's substance abuse policy.
"We're excited to have him back. It's been too long," Revis said. "He brings a lot of physicality to our defense and we're looking forward to that, for him to be aggressive."
Browner probably will have to shake off some rust after missing the first four weeks of practice, but his height alone should be enough to counter that of Cincinnati wide receivers A.J. Green, who stands 6-foot-4, and the 6-2 Mohamed Sanu.
At 6-4, 221 pounds, Browner looks more like a receiver or linebacker than a member of the secondary.
"I don't care who guys have at receiver, having Brandon out there will be nice," safety Devin McCourty said. "He's a bigger guy, a physical guy who lets his presence be known as soon as he steps on the field.
"It'll be a big plus having him out there. He's a veteran football player who's been in tough situations, so he'll be ready to go when he's out there."
New England will need all the help it can get to slow down Green, who has been quarterback Andy Dalton's top weapon and deep threat since the two entered the league together in 2011.
Despite being hampered by an early season toe injury, Green has hauled in 12 catches for 233 yards and a touchdown, and he is coming off the best season of his four-year career.
The three-time Pro Bowler had 98 receptions for 1,426 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, and is a threat to score nearly every time he touches the ball.
"A.J. Green is one of the best receivers in the league," Revis said. "I've got a lot of respect for him."
New England's defense had garnered plenty of early season respect, too, although that perception may have swayed slightly following the debacle against the Chiefs.
That was a long time ago to Revis, though.
"It was an embarrassment, yes it was, but at the same time, you've got to put it in the past," he said. "We've got 12 more games left. If we can focus on those 12 more games, we can do what we need to do in those 12 games. It's a 12-game season."