Breaking down sub package

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- A unique sub package on defense helped spark the Patriots' 17-10 win over the Bills. Only linebackers and defensive backs were utilized, with linebackers walking around the line of scrimmage to confuse an overmatched Buffalo offensive line.

I'll write more on the topic for a story that will be posted on ESPNBoston.com later tonight.

This is what I found in breaking it down: The Patriots used the package 18 times, 10 coming on third down or fourth down. On third or fourth down, the Patriots stopped the Bills every time except when Derrick Burgess was penalized for being offside.

In looking further, part of what contributed to the defense's success was the long-yardage situations that the Bills were in on third or fourth down. This is how they broke down:

1. Third and 7

2. Third and 11

3. Third and 20

4. Third and 8

5. Third and 6

6. Third and 17

7. Third and 11

8. Third and 12

9. Third and 8

10. Fourth and 9

ANALYSIS: This is a good example of team defense. While the sub package certainly generated a better pass rush, it wouldn't have been possible without the early-down work of the 3-4 alignment. The Patriots made some important early-down adjustments after the Bills' opening drive, creating those long-yardage situations for the sub defense to unleash the best pressure of the season.