The totals in this weeks “By the Numbers” are looking a lot larger than they have at anytime this season. But I guess that’s what happens when the team you cover puts up a whopping 55 points against their opponent. So without further ado, our weekly look at what stood out statistically from the Patriots 55-31 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers:
Total yards from the Patriots. I’m not normally a huge fan of looking at total yards, but it was awesome to see the offense moving so efficiently up and down the field yesterday. By the way, the Patriots gained those 610 yards by averaging 8.6 yards per play and picking up 33 total first downs.
Total punts from Ryan Allen – tied for his lowest total of the season. This number also represents the total number of three and outs the Patriots had yesterday.
The Patriots third down efficiency from yesterday. The Patriots were the league’s best team on third downs in 2012, but have struggled in that area thus far in 2013. Yesterday’s performance marked a profound improvement, even if the play calling was a bit suspect on third downs (example: long pass on 3rd and two in 3rd quarter to Aaron Dobson that was low percentage and landed incomplete) . The Patriots will need to prove to be consistent in this area in the second half of the season.
The Patriots run:pass from yesterday, including sacks. This is a remarkably close number, and reflects the balance that the Patriots have re-established over the last three weeks. The run:pass ratio was a key to the record breaking offense of 2012, and it will be the driving force behind the turnaround on offense in 2013. And by the way, it’s no surprise that the turnaround has coincided with the return of Stevan Ridley as the workhorse back.
Tom Brady’s completion percentage on throws 20 or more yards down the field (4/6 tota). That’s a remarkable improvement over the early portions of the season, when he really struggled in this area. Brady was sharp at all levels of the field yesterday. But if his deep ball is as good as it was yesterday going forward, it is going to be awfully tough to stop this Patriots offense.
38% - 3 - 5
I grouped these three statistics together because they are perhaps the only positive numbers from the team’s defensive performance yesterday, they represent the defense’s third down efficiency, turnovers forced, and sacks. The problem is, while the pressure did create some sacks, it was really, really inconsistent. There were times that the Patriots put the quarterback under duress, but more often than not, Ben Roethlisberger had time to clip his toe nails, watch an episode of Ice Road Truckers, put down a beer, and then find Jerricho Cotchery for an easy touchdown.
Passing yards from Ben Roethlisberger. Those are some 2011 numbers. Kyle Arrington really struggled on the outside, and Logan Ryan and Marquice Cole struggled while in the slot. The Patriots made Jerricho Cotchery look like an all-world receiver yesterday.
Average yards per rush for the Steelers yesterday. Not a good number at all for the Patriots run defense. Granted, the Steelers were playing from behind a lot of the game, which allowed them to find some easy running lanes when they did run the football. Isaac Sopoaga played slightly more than a third of the snaps, and did show up on a few short yardage stops. Nonetheless, the Patriots are still a work-in-progress in this area.