BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots hit their bye week at 6-2 following Sunday’s ugly 21-13 win over the Chargers in Foxboro, but are feeling better as a defensive unit despite playing without some of their biggest names.
The Patriots will have to play without Dont’a Hightower the rest of the way, and they sorely missed the linebacker early in the game as Melvin Gordon broke off an 87-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. But they came together after that big play and held Los Angeles to just 209 yards the final three quarters. For the second straight week, the Patriots defense held the opposing quarterback under 300 yards, something that didn’t seem possible when watching the secondary work over the first six weeks of the season.
Patriots safety Duron Harmon joined Steve Burton on WBZ-TV’s Sports Final on Sunday evening, and admits that the defense still isn’t where they want to be. But he’s happy with the strides they have made as a unit.
“I tell everyone the biggest thing is consistency. We have everyone on the same page, everyone is playing the same call and playing fast and physical,” he said. “Everyone is having fun and you can see what transpires from that: Good football. Tough, physical, smart and fast football.”
The Patriots got a big play from their special teams unit when Brandon King, Jonathan Jones and Matthew Slater swarmed Travis Benjamin on a punt return, forcing him to take a few steps backwards into the end zone. King brought down Benjamin for a rare safety on a punt return, giving the Patriots a 9-7 lead at the time.
“That brings excitement to the team and we pride ourselves on our special teams,” Harmon said, pointing out that the special teams unit had a big day all around. “We feel like every week, when we go into a game, we have the best special teams unit because we put so much into it. We practice it, we study it. We want it to be an advantage each and every week we step out onto that field.”
Harmon said the bye week is coming at a great time for the Patriots.
“Where we started, where we got to and the injuries that have piled up, this bye week has come at the perfect time. Getting a win makes it even better. We’re really going to get to enjoy this and everyone is going to get some down time,” said Harmon. “It’s been since the end of July that we’ve been going at it, not really getting much time off. We had a couple of Thursday night games so you get a couple of days off, but you’re still in the grinding and getting ready for an opponent. Being able to just relax for a bit, it’s really big mentally more than anything, taking your mind off of football for a little bit.”
Watch Steve Burton’s full 1-on-1 with Duron Harmon from WBZ-TV’s Sports Final in the video above.