I've always imagined what football games, or any games for that matter, would look like if each play or score could somehow be charted on a graph. The result would show how the momentum swung back and forth throughout the game, and ultimately who pulled out the victory. Kinda like sports without emotion or fun, just a set of lines or dots battling it out until one wins.
The other day while perusing the interwebs I came across a site that does just that. My Patriots-related findings after the jump...
AdvancedNFLStats.com is put together by a former Navy pilot and self proclaimed "closet math enthusiast". Though he grew up a Colts fan, I'm willing to put blind faith in his methodology because after looking at the 2009 Pats games it's pretty clear it's dead on. (All games are linked to their corresponding graphs)
First, I present you with the game that defined the 2009 season. Seasons can really come down to one or two plays, and 4th and 2 was the turning point of the 2009, just as this play cost the 2008 Patriots the playoffs.
Who knows how much confidence this young defense would've gained had they beaten the Colts that day. But alas, this is what happened. Any Patriot fan can tell you, that graph sums up that loss pretty nicely.
Feeling great until the bottom just fell out. Kinda like a big long roller coaster that just keeps going up until it's a sudden and painful plunge to your death at the end.
Add up those games and they account for four of the six total losses. Had the 2009 Pats just been able to close teams out, get that one first down, get that one last stop... they would've been 14-2.
Of course, we all want the graphs to look more like this and less like this, but for all the trash that has been heaped on the Patriots defense... for all the talk of pass rush, and an old offense without a good running back, this is a team that really isn't that far off.