FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Bill Belichick said earlier this year that a team can never have enough quality defensive backs. Sunday's season-opening win was a prime example of that for the Patriots, as the team was primarily in a sub package -- with either five or six defensive backs -- from the middle of the second quarter to the end of the game.
The final numbers look like this (defensive penalties included):
Sub package: 58 of 78
3-4 defense: 17 of 78
Short yardage: 3 of 78
The team had been in its base 3-4 alignment on 11 of the Bengals' first 14 plays. The number of times the Patriots were in their sub package explains why six of the top eight players in defensive snaps played were defensive backs.