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Patriots Statistical Analysis: Week 6

A winning combination
A winning combination

The Patriots should enter their bye week feeling pretty good about themselves - they have come through a very tough stretch of games with a 3-0 record, including the daunting west coast trip to Oakland to play in perhaps the most hostile environment in the league and of course, back to back games against the Ryan brothers, which has recently provided a matchup nightmare for the Patriots.  To me, what makes this more significant is the fact the Patriots won these games by not playing at their best, toughing out victories and excelling in situational football - all prerequisite qualities if this team is to go far in the playoffs.  We know the quality and talent is there, but these recent games gave us a real insight into the mental toughness of this team. Check out the statistical breakdown from their latest victory after the jump...


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




8.5 (49/416)


50% (3/6)


69% (48:22)

San Diego




9.5 (40/378)


50% (2/4)


62% (40:25)

@ Buffalo




9.2 (40/369)


75% (3/4)


63% (45:26)

@ Oakland




8.8 (39/344)


40% (2/5)


50% (30:30)

NY Jets




6.4 (26/166)


100% (2/2)


49% (33:35)







33% (1/3)


62% (41:25)


42.5% (31/73)



8.5 (235/1990)

29% (19/66)



59% (237:163)



45 (2.8PG)





+16 (+1PG)




Progress! The Patriots finally put together back to back consistent performances in some key categories.

For the first time this season, the defense recorded back to back strong outings with regards to defensive 3rd down efficiency, holding the potent Cowboys offense to a 33% conversion rate.  Not only that, but the defense got after Tony Romo on a more consistent basis and although they only recorded 2 sacks, they brought good pressure all game, resulting in quite a few hurried balls from Romo.  His decreased completion percentage and decent coverage held the Cowboys to a 7.7 YPA average for passes - not as good as the 6.4YPA against the Jets but still, its far lower than the 9.5 recorded against San Diego, who fielded a comparable offense to the Cowboys.  In fact the Cowboys-San Diego comparison is perhaps a good barometer to judge how far, if at all this defense has progressed.  Doing so shows terrific results, as the defense SIGNIFICANTLY improved in every statistical category aside from sacks (although they got more pressure in this game).

It is abundantly clear that this defense is indeed headed in the right direction and with the necessary improvements made in the coming weeks and with players getting healthy, it will only expedite its progress.


The turnovers were the biggest negative in this game.  It seems early this year, the Patriots are nowhere near as careful as they were in 2010 with the ball, including Brady throwing into double coverage and receivers losing concentration in keys moments.  Hopefully, ball security can become a priority during their bye week, particularly with winter just around the corner.

General Thoughts on the game...

  • 1. Although many are pointing to the 2009 opener against Buffalo as the last time the Patriots offense produced in the clutch, you'd have to actually go back further than that in my opinion. In that Buffalo game, the Patriots got the ball deep in Buffalo territory thanks to a Leodis McKelvin fumble on a kickoff return, so the offense hardly had to drive the field to produce the win. I would argue the last time Brady produced in the clutch was the 2007 Super Bowl and yes, I know we lost, but he nevertheless marched the team down the field for the (what should have been) winning touchdown. Even Brady remarked at how long it has been since he's done it successfully. Still, this is a new team and offense so it's big for them to build some confidence together in this area.
  • 2. My favourite three game stretch in a long time! I love the fact we had to scrap out these wins with heart rather than blistering offense. I wrote an article in the offseason and mentioned how this team rarely gets tested in truly scrappy close encounters, since it usually blows opponents away so early. I often think this is the reason for some of their post season struggles - a lack of experience amongst a new team of winning the close one where perhaps the Patriots are behind for stretches in the game.
  • 3. Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo will complement each other perfectly in leading this defense. Mayo eads by example without being an intimidator, whereas Spikes plays mean and just loves to knock players out of their cleats. This new system is also helping him to improve his coverage skills and he is looking more the player Belichick envisioned with each game.
  • 4. Teams are really keying in on Gronkowski in the red zone and forcing Tom to through his progressions.
  • 5. I know some opposing player said it a few weeks back, but Wes Welker really does run the best ‘Out' in football.
  • 6. Rob Ryan - the one that got away?
  • 7. Speaking of the Ryans, the Patriots finished 2010 1 - 3 against Ryan coordinated defenses - this season? 2 - 0.
  • 8. The Patriots after their bye move onto the final third of a murderers row of defensive coordinators: Ryan - Ryan - Le Beau. If they can reproduce some of their Heinz Field magic of previous years, that will be some coup that not many could lay claim to.