Patriots Statistical Analysis: Week 2

About the only time this happened on Sunday, the Patriots will need to improve their pressure on opposing QBs in the coming weeks.

 

Week 1 saw a decent return from the Patriots in terms of key areas targeted for improvement.  They fielded a drastically improved defense in both pressure and 3rd down efficiency.  However, I don't need to keep you in suspense to see that the Patriots saw a bit of a drop off in performance in week 2.  See how they did after the jump, together with some post game thoughts...

Opponent

3rd down Defensive Efficiency

Number of sacks

Defensive Passer Rating

Opponent Passing YPA

Rate of Defensive 3-and-outs

Defensive Red Zone Efficiency

Turnover Differential

Run:Pass Ratio (Pass Percentage)

@ Miami

14%(2/14)

4

93.6

8.5

42%(5/12)

50%(3/6)

0

69%

San Diego

83%(10/12)

2

97.7

9.5

0%(0/10)

50%(2/4)

+4

62%

Total

46.2%

6

95.7

8.9

22.7%

50%

+4

65.5%

TARGET

37%

45 (2.8PG)

73.8

6.45

25%

42%

+16 (+1PG)

50%

Analysis

 

Positives:

The standout statistic from this game is clearly the turnover differential - so often a key statistic in determining the outcomes of games as indeed Chargers QB Philip Rivers duly noted after the game.  The Patriots were outstanding protecting the football and were opportunistic in creating the turnovers.  It was especially good to see Jerod Mayo force the key fumble from Mike Tolbert, as many fans are hoping Mayo can take the next step in his progression as a pro and become a true playmaker in key moments.  Also, although it isn't on target, the Patriots were very good in defending their own red zone in this game.  This is particularly challenging to do against a team like the Chargers who, given their offensive height, have a clear advantage in the red zone, so despite allowing the two TD's, I would say this was a positive for the Patriots given the opponent.

Negatives:

Statistically speaking, three big areas of concern here in my opinion.  This first is the 83% 3rd down defensive efficiency - simply unacceptable for this team despite the fact they were facing an offensive beast in the Chargers.  After taking Antonio Gates out of the game, the Patriots allowed completion after completion to Vincent Jackson or the Charger running backs.  Once Gates was out of the game, the Charger offense should have been easier to read and despite Rivers' often awesome accuracy, the Patriots should have been more competitive in defending passes rather than just wrapping up after the completion. 

Another disappointing stat is the 9.5 YPA in the Charger passing game.  Look, we all know the Chargers get the ball down the field but that is some serious chunk yardage to give up.  What makes this statistic even more disappointing is the fact that to achieve such a YPA in an offense that doesn't rely on YAC, Rivers needed time and boy did he get it!  This was an ideal game to force some pressure up the middle against an immobile QB but the Patriots failed to do so, despite their two sacks.

Finally, the Patriots defense failed to register a single three-and-out from the Charger offense, each of whose drives found their way into Patriot territory.  So, It's been an up and down start for the new Patriot defense but it's also well known that Belichick's defenses improve throughout the year and I think we can all see the promising signs from the current incarnation.

Some general thoughts on the game...

  • 1. How is that Antonio Garay hit on Brady not flagged!? That is literally millimetres away from a season destroyer for Brady and it would be pretty embarrassing for the NFL if its two marquee players were lost for much of the season! It was a cheap shot that should have been called.
  • 2. With regards to the hit, I think it spooked Brady somewhat for the next few series as it was following this hit that the Patriots failed to gain any momentum offensively in the 3rd quarter. (Also really surprised that Mankins didn't go hunting for Garay on the ensuing plays - credit to him that he didn't since at the time we needed a 1st down and not a probable penalty against but still, I was pretty annoyed at the hit).
  • 3. Pretty solid work on the face of it from Dan Connolly. He was forced back a couple of times but his overall play, snapping and the time which he and the line provided for Brady were for the most part, outstanding. Obviously, there are plays he'd like to have back (including the Garay hit) but overall, a good start.
  • 4. I found myself wondering if even Wes Welker marvels at the connection that Tom Brady has with Deion Branch - those two completions at the end of the 2nd quarter were beautifully executed. As a side note, if Welker does happen to marvel at said connection, someone tell him don't tweet such admiration in the vicinity of a certain former Patriot.
  • 5. Despite his early season struggles, I love Devin McCourty's fight. He's still there for every ball despite the fact he's manned up against two receivers in the opening two weeks who stand 5 and 6 inches taller than him and outweigh him by 25 pounds. He must be more aggressive at the line since his great recovery speed can help him if he's beaten off the jam, but still, it's nowhere near as bad as it probably looks. Rivers accuracy on some of those passes was absolutely astonishing and simply undefendable.
  • 6. I said it last week, but Ras-I Dowling is a player. He has terrific body control and understands how to use his physical attributes to his advantage. He makes it very difficult for any receiver to get open and forces opposing quarterbacks to make the perfect pass to gain a completion on him.
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