In their previous seven trips to the Super Bowl (2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2011, 2014, and 2016, just because I wanted to list them), the Patriots have scored a whopping zero points in the first quarter. In fact, on their 13 drives that start and finish in the first quarter, the Patriots have scored -2 points because they gave up a safety to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.
Zero points in the first quarter. That’s brutal and the Patriots need to get off to their first fast start in the championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.
Fortunately for the Patriots, they always seem to generate some offense in the second quarter. On their five drives that started at the end of the first and carried into the second frame, they’ve scored 10 points (and also had that fumble against the Falcons), and on their 19 drives in the second quarter they’ve scored seven touchdowns and a field goal, in addition to missing a second field goal against the Panthers.
The same issue of a slow start affects New England in the second half, although it’s not as severe. They’ve scored 23 third quarter points in the Super Bowl, versus 71 fourth quarter points. In other words, the average Patriots offensive production is zero points in the first quarter, followed by 10 points, 3 or 4 points, and then 10 more points in the final quarter.
If New England can settle into their offense faster in both halves, then they’ll have addressed their biggest struggle in each trip to the Super Bowl.