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Patriots Played Defensive Gauntlet This Season

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The Patriots played a string of elite defenses this year and always found a way to stay on top.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

(h/t to reader Robert Long for passing this along)

The Patriots buzzed through most of the top defenses in the league (in terms of yards allowed) during this historic run to winning Super Bowl 49.

By my count, including regular season and the playoffs, the Patriots played 12 of the top 14 defenses in the league by yards allowed, excluding the Patriots, who are themselves ranked 13th.

The Pats went 10-2 vs the top 11 defenses, including beating the Seahawks (1), Lions (2), Broncos (3), Bills (4), Jets twice (6), Ravens (8), Chargers (9) and Colts twice (11).

They played the toughest defenses in the league, and still managed to finish 4th in scoring offence!

Unbelievable run by Brady & Co!

Cheers,

Rob

What an outstanding find.

In fact, the Patriots closed out the season on an 11-0 run against top 12 defenses after the Kansas City debacle, if you take away the extended Bye Week 17 game against the Bills. For context, these defenses rank in the top third of the league and were ahead of the Patriots in the yards allowed per game category. The Patriots lone losses were in Week 1 against Miami and Week 4 against Kansas City.

During the Patriots victories, they averaged 68 yards of output beyond the defensive average (ex: the Chargers allow 338 YPG, while the Patriots produced 397 yards, or 59 yards beyond the average).

It's worth pointing out the success of Rex Ryan, whose defenses averaged 321 YPG, but limited the Patriots to an average of 277 YPG.

Still, the Patriots offense pulled through when it was needed the most, something that hasn't happened during past playoff exits. This is a team that continued to fight against the highest quality opponents on the biggest stages and posted 110 yards beyond the Seahawks average.

Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady were stellar during this season and the numbers and trophies show it.