Defense headed in right direction

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The Patriots held the Chiefs to a mere field goal Monday night at Gillette Stadium.FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A quality effort? A poor opponent?

Some will debate exactly how much credit the Patriots' defense deserves on the heels of a 34-3 triumph over the Kansas City Chiefs Monday night at Gillette Stadium, but New England players stressed afterwards that they are headed in the right direction and there's a growing confidence within the unit.

"We’re not satisfied, but we like the direction that we are going," said Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington, who boasts a league-best seven interceptions, two of which came Monday against the Chiefs. "[If] we just keep preparing, stay focused and come out and play for each other, and play hard like that for 60 minutes, I think we will be in pretty good shape down the road."

The Patriots' defense allowed its lowest output of the season in holding the Chiefs to a field goal and pitched a shutout over the final 46:30. The 334 net yards were the second lowest total allowed by New England this season.

Some will argue that beating this Chiefs squad isn't much of an accomplishment, particularly not against a quarterback in Tyler Palko making his first NFL start. But considering the Patriots played without four defensive starters of their own, members of the defense see a lot of positives to build off of.

"It’s a step in the right direction," said defensive captain Vince Wilfork. "Each week you get tougher and tougher. I think you have to be able to move forward and get better each week because the opponents get tougher, games get tougher. Later in the season, you have to be able to win ball games in November and December, so that’s where we are. It wasn’t perfect out there, but at the same time, we made a lot of plays tonight and it’s very exciting to give up just 3 points as a defense, which was very exciting...

"We had some guys down where, coming into this game, guys knew we had to be out there and make plays. And they got through it with a lot of confidence – a lot of confidence and it showed tonight. You can’t take anything away from these guys. They work hard and there is just so much trust. I mean, the commitment to this team is everything for us, and it showed tonight."

But did the Chiefs win prove anything to this unit?

"Sixty minutes every Sunday -- or in this case Monday night -- we go out there [and] no matter who we play, we play as hard as we can," said Arrington. "And we’ve got an extremely great test coming up next week versus the Eagles, so we are going to have to go out there and play another 60-minute game again."

The Patriots were unwilling to look too far ahead despite the effort. Asked if this is a defense that can take New England deep into the playoffs, Wilfork expressed optimism while maintaining the familiar one-game-at-a-time mantra.

"We are going to take it one game at a time, but I think we have the possibility of being a pretty good defense as long as we play well and get better each week," said Wilfork. "[We] can’t get complacent; that’s one thing we can’t do. We can’t sit back and say we only gave up three points and everything is all good, because it’s not. We always have to work on little things. We’ll look at this film and we’ll see things that may be a problem in the future and we’ll try to get better at those things. There’s always something you can get better at. There’s definitely always something you can get better at. It’s a short week for us and we have to turn around and get it going tomorrow. We have to get it going tomorrow, get some film, get guys healthy, and just take care of ourselves and we’re back on the road this week in Philly. But it starts tomorrow. This will be a quick turnaround for us, but that’s what it’s all about."