Yards per completion for the Texans against the Patriots on Sunday. Texans quarterback Case Keenum would only complete 50% of his passes, but the Texans were able to move the ball down the field in big chunks. A big reason for this were breakdowns in zone coverage, where the Patriots often left Texan receivers alone and uncovered. There were times yesterday where the Patriots were excellent in coverage, but there were just too many instances of individual or group break downs that led to big yardage for Houston receivers.
The red zone efficiencies for both the Patriots and the Texans offenses yesterday, showing the stark difference in level of play by New England’s offense and defense. For the defense, all three touchdowns allowed were on the ground. They scores were due to an inability to hold at the point of attack by defensive tackles Joe Vellano and Chris Jones as well as poor performances from linebackers Brandon Spikes and Dont’a Hightower. Not only could the Patriots not execute their gap assignments, but they couldn’t tackle either. A recipe for disaster that doesn’t exactly sing the tune of “bend but don’t break.”
The offense however, was a different story. All three scores were from three different players, two on the ground and one in the air from Tom Brady to Shane Vereen. The Patriots have turned things around in the red zone the last few weeks with a combination of improved execution and chemistry as well as solid playcalling.
Completion percentage for quarterback Tom Brady in the second half. That number could have been even higher. He wasn’t particularly bad in the first half, but he looked as good as ever in the second half. That’s four straight games with Brady having a completion rate of 68% or higher, by the way.
Kick return average for Josh Boyce on six returns in his true debut in that role. He also broke a 41 yard return that nearly went for more. He wasn’t perfect out there, but appeared to be comfortable in that role and showed more explosion (obviously) than LeGarrette Blount. I think his performance was good enough that he continues to see time there going forward.
Net rushing average for the Patriots yesterday. The Texans are a solid team in defending the run, but the Patriots weren’t exactly challenging them much. Brandon Bolden carried the ball for just two yards on three carries while neither LeGarrette Blount or Shane Vereen could hit the 4.0 YPC mark. It’s not as if either ran poorly, the run blocking wasn’t great. But it is interesting to note that one of the Patriots’ worst statistical rushing games of the year came with Stevan Ridley being a healthy scratch.
Yards per rush for the Texans on Sunday. I was actually surprised to see the number that low, as the Texans seemed to consistently run for chunks of 5+ yards if they made it past the line of scrimmage. We knew the Patriots would not be as good of a run defense without Vince Wilfork, but to see them so bad is somewhat shocking.
Straight drives the Patriots scored on to begin the second half. In fact, the drive they didn’t score on came with less than two minutes left as the Patriots just handed the ball three times to LeGarrette Blount to burn clock. You’ve got to wonder why the Patriots couldn’t execute consistently in the first half, but the team’s second half performance was about as good as the offense has looked all season.
Penalties for the Patriots. The Texans only had two, so there wasn’t a big discrepancy there. Nonetheless, any time you can go an entire game without committing a penalty, it shows tremendous discipline.