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Jim Davis, Boston Globe

Malcolm Butler knew he needed to step up. The Super Bowl XLIX hero struggled through the preseason and through two games in the regular season.

But last Sunday against the Texans, he put together one of the best games of his career.

According to CSNNE, Butler only allowed two catches for 10 yards and played every defensive snap. That performance earned him tons of praise from Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia.

"Yeah, I think Malcolm did a good job," Belichick said. "I mean, all of our defensive backs I thought were pretty competitive. We had some scramble yardage and loose plays and things like that. But I mean, the normal passing game we were pretty competitive on. But like anything else, there are certainly a lot of things we can do better."

"I thought Malcolm played really well," Patricia said. "We certainly didn’t play great at all as a defense. I’m not saying that but I think the guy really tried to go out and play extremely hard.

"This is a very competitive guy. Malcolm steps up to the challenges that you place in front of him. He goes out and competes, he works hard, he tries to do it the right way and he really tries to get better every week. Look, we had a productive week last week for him and working through. But it’s a new week and we’re going to try to get the same consistency every single week and that’s what we’re trying to do."

Butler himself also seemed pretty encouraged by his play on Sunday.

“I think I’m building,” Butler said afterward. “I think I’m taking it a step at a time. There’s a lot of football to be played, so whatever you see, judge me.”

The Patriots' defense as a whole has been underwhelming. As it stands, they're on pace to break the record for the most yards allowed in a season that was set by the 2012 New Orleans Saints. But Belichick defenses are generally always a work in progress, and the personnel is too good to be playing this poorly. Butler's inspired play will certainly help that turnaround.

They'll need Butler to be at his best moving forward, as the Patriots will go up against the lethal receiving corps of the Falcons, Broncos, Steelers and Raiders in the coming months.

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Jesse Gaunce 9/27/2017 04:02:00 PM Edit
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