Another playoff game, another win for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. New England defeated Houston 41-28 on Sunday evening in a game that certainly wasn't as close as the final score leads you to believe.
Of course Tom Brady and his crew scored at will once again, racking up 457 total yards against one of the better defense in the NFL. No one was surprised by their scoring efficiency. However, the defensive effort seemed to stand out, as the Patriots held Arian Foster to just 91 yards on 22 carries, much of which came in garbage time.
Tony Santorsa of Pats Pulpit believes the run defense in New England's strength on that side of the ball, crediting Vince Wilfork for constantly slowing down opposing backs.
Arian Foster vs. New England's run-defese = New England wins.
New England's front-seven didn't give Foster any moving room as he rushed for 90 yards on 22 carries.
Without a debate, Wilfork is the main reason to why Foster and other elite running backs can't get things going against the Pats-but players like Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikesand Kyle Love have major impacts as well.
Santorsa also seems to be a huge fan of the Aqib Talib acquisition this year, citing how he has improved New England's defense in a huge way.
Outside of Vince Wilfork, Aqib Talib is New England's most valuable player on defense. He allows the team to do a lot of different things on defense solely because of his ability to shut-down the opposing team's No. 1 wide receivers.
Andre Johnson wasn't much of a factor Sunday, as he Talib held him to eight receptions for 95 yards.
You can put any receiver out with Talib on an island and I'd have complete faith in him-this simply opens up New England's defensive playbook.
Clearly the efforts of Brady, Stevan Ridley and the Patriots offense will continue to stand out. However, the defense deserves a lot of praise for its ability to slow down its opponents. The Texans offense put up a lot of points on a regular basis throughout the year, so holding them to 13 points through three quarters is no small feat.
For more on the Patriots, be sure to check out Pats Pulpit.