Taking a look at some numbers that stood out from the New England Patriots 23-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Tom Brady’s completion percentage on Sunday, which was easily his highest of the year. The progression has been slow, and Brady didn’t really have all that great a game, but it was good to see him and his receivers on the same page for the most part.
The completion percentage for Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman. Don’t get me wrong – Freeman did miss some throws, particularly in the first half. However, the Patriots pass defense really stepped up at times and held their opposing quarterback to a sub-50% completion percentage for the second week in a row. It doesn’t matter who they were playing – the Patriots defenses of 2010-2012 were incapable of such a feat.
The Buccaneer’s 3rd down efficiency, good for 36%. This number is even more impressive for the Patriots defense considering that the Buccaneers were 4/8 after the first half. The Bucs were also 0/4 on 4th downs. Those 4th downs turned out to be key momentum swings.
The average yards gained per pass play for the Patriots offense. The total YPA was 6.3. There were some encouraging signs from the Patriots’ passing attack yesterday, but they still need to find a way to be more efficient at picking up yardage in the air. The Patriots top three receptions leaders – Aaron Dobson, Julian Edelman, and Brandon Bolden – all averaged under ten yards per reception.
The Patriots third down efficiency in the first quarter. They fared at an even 50% (6/12) the rest of the way, but this is an area that the team will look to improve on heading into the Falcons game. The Patriots haven’t had to play from more than a score behind this year, but when they start playing better teams, they may have to if they can’t move the ball consistently to start.
The longest rush yard allowed by the Patriots on the day. Strong games from their defensive tackle pair – Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly – helped limit one of the league’s best runners in Doug Martin. Martin would finish with 88 yards on 20 carries, but he never broke any runs and never truly got into a rhythm (with the possible exception of one second half drive that didn’t end with any points for Tampa).
Sacks and quarterback hits for the Patriots. Tampa Bay has one of the better offensive lines in the NFL, and the Patriots generated consistent pressure throughout the game. Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Tommy Kelly, and Michael Buchanan all contributed here.
The final time of possession for the Patriots, which was a stark turnaround from last week. The Patriots were able to control the clock in large part due to a consistent running game, which picked up 156 yards on 33 attempts. The running game, led by Stevan Ridley in the first half and LeGarrette Blount in the second half, allowed the Patriots to take a lot of time off the clock. It was also the first game that the Patriots had a balanced run-pass ratio.