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Super Bowl 2018: Patriots had second-worst defensive day of the Bill Belichick era

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It’s hard to be worse.

Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles scored 41 points over 10 drives against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII for an average of 4.10 points per drive, a truly outstanding mark.

Only one time has been able to best that scoring rate on offense against a Bill Belichick defense, when the 2005 Indianapolis Colts posted 40 points on just 9 drives for an average of 4.44 points per drive.

In fact those are the only two teams to average more than 4 points per drive on offense against the Patriots (I’m eliminating defensive and special teams scores from the equation and not including drives that end in kneeldowns).

The bottom five games of the Bill Belichick era are rounded out by:

  • 2009 against the New Orleans Saints (3.80 points per drive). This Patriots defense was so frustratingly bad against Drew Brees and company that Bill Belichick said on his episode of A Football Life, “I just can’t get this team to play the way we need to play. I just can’t do it. It’s so [expletive] frustrating.”
  • 2008 against the Miami Dolphins (3.80 points per drive). This is the famous wildcat game where the Patriots were caught off guard and embarrassed by the tricky formation.
  • 2005 against the San Diego Chargers (3.78 points per drive). The Chargers even added an extra interception return for a touchdown, but they scored 34 points of offense on just 9 drives. This team was also led by Drew Brees and LaDainian Tomlinson.

If we look at overall points scored, the 41 points allowed to the Eagles is tied with the 2012 game against the San Francisco 49ers for the second-worst of the Belichick era, too, behind only the 42 points allowed to the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2017 season opener.

Oh, and the 538 total yards allowed to the Eagles edges out the 537 yards allowed to the Chiefs in the 2017 season opener as the worst performance of the Belichick era.

So by efficiency and overall points, this was the second-worst day, and by yards it was the absolute worst day. However you slice it, the New England defense really picked a terrible time to post one of the worst outings in the entire Bill Belichick era.