by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

Say what you want about New England beating a scoring-challenged Buffalo team, no one deserves the coveted PD Game Ball more than defensive coordinator Dean Pees.

Pees’ defensive line put the D in depleted, as Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren and Myron Pryor all missed the trip due to injuries. After an opening series where Buffalo pounded the ball (including five straight runs by Fred Jackson totaling 24 yards), Pees made a few adjustments. That, and a Bills tendency to implode with penalties, tempered the Bills rushing attack.

Most of all, though, Pees gets credit for implementing what we’re calling the cocktail party defense: on passing downs, New England forewent down linemen for a cluster of linebackers loitering around the line of scrimmage. The look confused the home team’s inexperienced offensive line and opened the gates for the visitors’ best sack production of the year (Tully Banta-Cain had three all by his lonesome).

We have heard (and seen) how this defense lacks the playmakers of Pats yore. In the face of this leadership void, we enjoyed watching certain players respond Sunday, including standout performances by Mike Wright (six tackles, one sack), Derrick Burgess (six tackles, one sack) and Banta-Cain (six tackles, three sacks).

So, Coach Pees, for adding a few positive twists to a team that needed them, we award you this week’s game ball.

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