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The Patriots' Pass Rush Against the Browns

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NFL: New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Figuring out pass rushing statistics is sometimes not an easy task with different figures given by different sources. It's fairly common to see the numbers given by Doug Kyed, PFF or others vary due to the lack of a fixed definition of what constitutes a hurry. Furthermore, raw pressure stats don't tell the whole story since they aren't categorised by time. Thus I've gone ahead myself and created a few guidelines by which I recorded the pressures by the Patriots' pass rushers against the Cleveland Browns.

  1. Pressures will be listed in three different time categories after the snap. Under 2.5 seconds, between 2.5 and 5 seconds and above 5 seconds.
  2. No hurries or hits will be logged past 5 seconds. Sacks will be termed "coverage sack", not counting towards the pressure total.
  3. Hurries are defined as rushes that either cause the quarterback to throw before he's originally intending to do so, or force him out of the pocket.
  4. A rush will only be categorised as a rush during an obvious defensive run play call when the player(s) manage to pressure the quarterback.
  5. A two-point conversion pass play will be logged like any other pass play.

Observations:

  • Jabaal Sheard had a solid day accounting for four of the ten pressures of the team of under 2.5 seconds.
  • Chris Long for most of the day drew the assignment on the right side against All-Pro Left Tackle Joe Thomas and his numbers reflect that. He was unable to get quick pressure on Cleveland's QBs.
  • Rob Ninkovich was eased back into duty with only five pass rushing snaps.
  • Six of the 16 pressures were by players on a blitz highlighting the problem of the defensive line generating pressure by itself.
  • Dont'a Hightower, despite still hampered by injury, once again showed his value as a blitzer. His two pressures resulted in a three-and-out and a safety (plus an injury to Cody Kessler).
  • It has to be said, however, that the focus this game was clearly on stopping the run. There were a few instances where three of the four, or two of three respective, rushing linemen were the DTs.