The New England Patriots pitched a shutout Thursday night, blanking the Atlanta Falcons, 25-0, in Georgia. It was the culmination of a dominant stretch of defense for Bill Belichick's team.
During the Pats' five-game win streak, they've allowed a measly 10.0 points per game, generated 12 INTs to just four TD passes allowed, and given up just 169.6 yards per game and a 51.1 passer rating.
"I don't want to brag too much, but I feel like we've got one of the best defenses in the league right now," cornerback J.C. Jackson said after Thursday's performance, via NESN. "We've got a good pass rush. We've got some guys up front who are doing pretty good this season. The secondary has always been pretty good, and we're starting to build that chemistry defensively."
The Patriots' defense is as well-rounded a unit you'll find in the NFL this season. It can clamp down in the secondary with Jackson and safeties Kyle Dugger and Adrian Phillips leading the way. The pass rush has become fiercer by the week, with Matt Judon slipping seamlessly into Belichick's scheme to become a headache for quarterbacks. Rooke Christian Barmore has become a beast on the interior front. Kyle Van Noy has reclaimed his do-it-all handyman role (8 tackles, 2 sacks, pick-6 vs. Falcons). And the unit does not miss tackles.
"We kinda wanna be a-holes on the field, but good guys off the field," Judon said. "Make sure we don't get penalized. We play within the rules, but we a nasty group. So, that's how we like to play, and that's how we gotta play in order for our team to win. And we enjoy it."
On Thursday, they displayed what kind of a-holes they can be, showing no mercy on the feeble Falcons. The Pats intercepted the Falcons on the final four drives of the game to ice the contest. It was the fourth game in team history with four or more INTs and four-plus sacks in a shutout win (last time in Week 2, 2019, at Miami).
"I feel like we played great defensively (Thursday night)," Jackson said. "We didn't give up no touchdowns, no points allowed. It don't get no better than that. … The defense played outstanding. I can't even describe. But we've got to keep it up. It's going to get scary. It's going to be scary."