NFL: New York Jets at New England Patriots

Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy blocks the pass of New York Jets quarterback Luke Falk in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game. The New England defense has yet to allow a touchdown in three games.

The group has allowed one field goal in three games.

REMEMBER WHEN the Patriots were known for their defense? When word around the league was that, sure Tom Brady did special stuff, but Bill Belichick’s defense was the thing that was going to kill you?

Well, those days seem to be back.

Forget the opposition. What the current group is doing is scary.

If you missed the news, the Patriots have not allowed a touchdown on defense in their last four games, dating back to last year’s Super Bowl. Now, removing the Super Bowl because that was last year and some names have been changed, this year’s team has yielded one field goal in three games. That’s it!

Last year, after Matt Patricia’s departure for the Lions, Brian Flores was the de facto coordinator. Now he’s in Miami getting his butt kicked and the Patriots he left behind are doing some very impressive things on that side of the ball.

Remember, Greg Schiano came and went as the new coordinator, thus leaving Belichick in charge. We’ve all always felt he was in charge, anyway, right?

One field goal in three games?

The final score of Sunday’s game was 30-14, but the Jets touchdowns came on mistakes by rookies in the punt game and on offense. Nothing on defense. Yes, the Jets are woeful. But they ran FOUR plays in New England territory. This after a 33-3 rout of the Steelers and 43-0 demolition of the Dolphins.

Asked if Sunday’s game counted as a shutout for the defense, captain Devin McCourty, who happens to have an interception in each of the first three games, said, “They got 14 points on the board. But I think the thing we talk about as a defense is consistency. Every time we take the field, playing to a certain level. Whether we give up a play or not, but just continue to get back to that and I think you saw that towards the end.

“Slate (Matthew Slater) downs a punt on the 1-yard line and all we’re talking about is getting off the field, get a turnover or let’s go three-and-out. And we just want to create that mentality every time we take the field, to play a certain standard of football.”

Technically, the Patriots have allowed 17 points this season, a pace of 5.67 points per game. The 2000 Ravens hold the NFL record of points allowed in a 16-game season: 165. At this pace, the Pats, who visit undefeated (yes, undefeated) Buffalo this coming Sunday, will yield 91 points.

Obviously, that’s not going to happen. But this is fun to watch.

Asked if he and his pals talk about being the best defense ever, McCourty said, “No. I think we don’t care about that. Right now, we just care about winning football games, and playing well and improving. I think we’ll continue to do that and wherever that puts us at the end of the day, we’ll take it. But I think for us, we’re just playing for each other and having fun.”

New life

If you’re looking for a major personnel reason for the defense’s play, consider the play of the reclaimed and rejuvenated Jamie Collins.

Thanks to NESN pal Zack Cox for tweeting: “Jamie Collins through three games this season: 18 tackles, 2.5 sacks, one QB hit, five TFLs, two INTs, one PBU.”

As far as the defense not allowing a TD in three games this season, Collins said, “Yeah, that’s pretty damn good. You know, we just go out there and play for keeps. We are playing to win.”

He also said, “I have 10 other great guys out there. It’s not just me out there and all those guys can make plays. They make my job easy.”

Stephon Gilmore, asked about Collins, said, “He is a baller. He is big, he can tackle fast, so he helps our defense out a lot.”

Bad look

Amid the off-field flood of developments re: Antonio Brown, Belichick gave the Pats yet another black mark when interviewed by Dana Jacobson of CBS, starting the second Twitter storm of the day (the first was by Brown).

Jacobson, doing her job, asked Belichick, “What was the final straw with Antonio Brown.” Perfectly reasonable question coming from an NFL network partner. There were many ways for him to answer, but as the Twitterverse said, he gave her a “death stare” and said, when he had the chance to make a statement about violence against women, etc., “We’re focused on the Jets today.”

Sometimes, there’s just no need.

Twitter went nuts, the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand tweeting, “It is Belichick’s tough guy staredown of Dana Jacobson that I find particularly weak. He is in a position of power and it is a really bad look. (Oooh, Bill, you are really tough staring her down).”

And Nick Wright of FS1 said, “Bill Belichick, the coach & GM of the Patriots, and highest paid coach in all of American sports, is just utterly indignant that there might be a question about the lunatic he signed to play WR & then had suit up a game after being accused of rape.”

Monday, Jacobson tweeted, “I did my job yesterday. Coach did his. End of story. You know what I didn’t like? Rambling through the start of my Ty Law interview. Wish I could do that over. Social media & sports radio can continue the discussion. I’m going to go get ready for my wedding Saturday.”

Congrats — TWICE!!!

Brady, making his weekly WEEI appearance Monday, talked about his love and feelings for teammates, but wouldn’t directly address Brown. “I do have a lot of personal feelings, none of which I really care to share,” he said. “That is about it. It’s a difficult situation. That’s kind of how I feel.”

Very receptive

Clearly, with Brown having quickly gone away, the Patriots have to count on Josh Gordon making it through the entire season. So far, so good — and he made two outstanding catches Sunday, one after having his fingers taped together after hurting his ring finger on a facemask.

“I think my life, the battle of perseverance, is something that can show through my play, and my mindset, and how I attack the game,” he said. “Physically, I’ve always been a fighter in some type of way.”

Brady, on his team’s injuries (and other manpower situations), Brady said, “There’s nobody feeling sorry for anybody out there. There’s no teams that are, ‘Man, poor Patriots.’ No one feels sorry for us; we don’t feel sorry for them.”

Jarrett Stidham, who completed two straight passes before his third became a pick-6, said, “I was obviously very, very thankful to get a few snaps. I wish it would have gone a little bit better. I just have to make a better throw. So I’m going to continue to get better and have a next player mentality.”

He added: “Any time you go out there and do that you’re itching for the next thing. But it is what it is and like I said I’m just going to continue to play.”

Stidham said he was surprised to get the call and also refused to try to erase the TD going the other way, saying, “I think anytime you get to step foot on an NFL field, it’s pretty memorable.”

Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is shalinmike@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.