Patriots Statistical Analysis: Week 3

 

Week 3, and the Patriots suffered their first defeat of the season.  The team and particularly the defense is getting its fair share of criticism in the media, and rightly so after surrendering a 21 point lead.  Let's look at some of the stats to see if we can determine where the Patriots had success and where their ultimate downfall may have come...

Opponent

3rd down Defensive Efficiency

Number of sacks

Defensive Passer Rating

Opponent Passing YPA

Rate of Defensive 3-and-outs

Defensive Red Zone Efficiency

T.O. Diff

Pass:Run Ratio (Pass Percentage)

@ Miami

14%(2/14)

4

93.6

8.5 (49/416)

38%(5/13)

50% (3/6)

0

69% (48:22)

San Diego

83%(10/12)

2

97.7

9.5 (40/378)

0%(0/10)

50% (2/4)

+4

62% (40:25)

@ Buffalo

36%(4/11)

0

92.6

9.2 (40/369)

42%(5/12)

75% (3/4)

-2

63% (45:26)

Total

43.2%

6

94.6

9.1

22.2%

57%

+2

64.5%

TARGET

37%

45 (2.8PG)

73.8

6.45

25%

42%

+16 (+1PG)

50%

Analysis

Positives:

Pure analysis of these statistics shows two clear positives for this Patriots defense (yes I used the words positives and Patriot defense in the same sentence); defensive 3rd down efficiency and rate of defensive 3-and-outs.  The Patriots stopped the Bills on 7 of their 11 3rd downs and also made a stop on the only 4th down they faced.  As a result, on 42% of Buffalo's drives, this defense produced a 3-and-out, putting the ball into Brady's hands sooner rather than later (this also doesn't include the Bill's opening drive which only lasted two plays and ended in an interception) - let's just hope he uses the ball a little better at times!  Despite all the gloom about this defense, these are two key statistics that cannot be ignored and show some of the important progress this defense is making.  It's time for people to acknowledge that pure yards count for absolutely nothing and, for half of this game, the Patriots defense was very good!

Negatives:

What killed the Patriots in this came can be attributed to two key stats: turnovers and red zone defense.  The defense got Brady the ball often enough but four Patriot turnovers devastated the lead this team had built.  The Pats could have potentially ended the game before half time when a key INT caused a significant points swing.  Back to back INT's in the second half gave the Bills terrific momentum in closing out the game.

However, despite some of the good things the defense did, they were poor in their own red area.  If you are going to allow opposing QB's to generate a 9.2 Passing YPA, you have to make stops in the red zone - and the Patriots didn't.

Yes, the sacks weren't there and only 2 QB hits against one of the consensus worst offensive lines in the league will not instil fear into any opposing passers.  But early in the game and even at points in the 2nd half, this was not as much of an issue statistically speaking, but became more apparent late in the game when vital stops were needed.

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