Sep/11/12 08:48 AM Filed in: Vince Wilfork
Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork played a central role in the team's run defense holding running back Chris Johnson to just 4 yards on 11 carries, and the Titans to just 20 yards as a team on the ground.
It was a continuation of what the Patriots' run defense showed during the preseason, and an area that Wilfork believes can be a calling card for his team this season.
"Today, we responded well against the run. I think throughout the preseason we showed improvement each week," he said. "And this is something that I think can be a backbone for us. If we can go into a game and just get teams one-dimensional, that'll help us tremendously, and that's what we're looking forward to."
He credited not just the defensive line, but all three levels of the Patriots' defense for the stingy effort.
"Very excited about these guys, very, very happy with the performance, these guys came out as a team, as a unit," Wilfork said. "Especially being a defensive lineman, and holding a great back to only four yards. That was good team defense. It's just not the guys up front, it's the 'backers and it's the secondary at times. We all play this game together, as long as we continue to play better and get better as a team, I think we can do some special things."
The Titans came within feet of narrowing the Patriots' lead to 11 points early in the fourth quarter, driving down to the one-yard line and setting themselves up with goal-to-go situation. On 1st & goal, Wilfork stopped Johnson for a five-yard loss, a lift that helped the Patriots hold the Titans to just a field goal.
Wilfork deferred credit to both his teammates and his coaches for the big play.
"That's one thing that we went through this week, knowing tendencies down there, and that was perfect play calling. I can't really take credit for that, that was the play calling," he continued. "Perfect play calling on defense, putting me in position to make that play. If the other ten guys didn't do their job, it probably wouldn't have been a problem also. I know I made the tackle, but my teammates, the other 10 guys and it was definitely the coaches that put me in that situation to make that play."