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Patriots vs Eagles advanced stats: Kyle Van Noy, Stephon Gilmore lead New England’s dominant defensive effort

Related: Patriots vs Eagles snap counts: N’Keal Harry plays rotational role in his NFL debut

New England Patriots v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The New England Patriots fell in an early hole against the Philadelphia Eagles on the road, but were able to overcome their 10-point deficit in the early second quarter to secure their ninth win of the season. How did they do it, and ultimately leave Philadelphia with a 17-10 victory? Let’s dig a little deeper into the advanced statistics to come out of Sunday’s game to find out.

Pass distribution

NFL Next Gen Stats

Tom Brady looked very good against the Baltimore Ravens before the bye, but he had an inconsistent game against the Eagles: his ball-placement was off at times, and he never appeared to be truly confident in an oft-collapsing pocket. What does stand out when looking at his target chart is that the vast majority of his throws came inside 10 yards down the field — a result of New England’s game plan that put an emphasis on the screen a short passing game. Despite running a lot of high-percentage plays, however, Brady was still not able to get into a rhythm throughout the contest.

Carson Wentz was not better, despite throwing a touchdown in the second quarter. Facing relentless pressure from New England’s defense and a difficult coverage scheme that focused on taking away his number one receiver — tight end Zach Ertz — the former first-round draft pick was too inaccurate targeting other players to kickstart the Eagles’ aerial attack. The Wentz-Ertz-combo did find some success, but it was too little to seriously challenge the Patriots from the second quarter on.

Offensive rush direction

NFL Next Gen Stats

Another day, another inconsistent outing from the Patriots’ rushing offense. While all three of the backs were involved in the screen game — Rex Burkhead, for example, had the game’s longest play when he took a shovel pass 30 yards in the third quarter — their production on the ground once more left a lot to be desired. All in all, New England gained only 75 yards on 21 hand-offs for an average of 3.6 yards per carry.

Pass receiving

Pass receiving statistics

Player Snaps Targets Completions Yards Yards after Catch Touchdowns Interceptions Rating Drops
Player Snaps Targets Completions Yards Yards after Catch Touchdowns Interceptions Rating Drops
Julian Edelman 66 10 5 53 15 0 0 65.8 1
Benjamin Watson 59 4 3 52 34 0 0 116.7 0
Mohamed Sanu 41 4 2 4 0 0 0 56.3 0
Phillip Dorsett II 34 5 3 33 10 1 0 119.2 0
James White 32 7 4 16 19 0 0 62.2 0
N'Keal Harry 32 4 3 18 6 0 0 83.3 0
Sony Michel 22 4 2 11 18 0 0 56.3 1
Rex Burkhead 21 3 2 34 34 0 0 104.9 0
Matt LaCosse 21 2 2 3 8 0 0 79.2 0
Jakobi Meyers 19 2 1 7 1 0 0 58.3 0
NFL/Pro Football Focus

As noted above, the running backs were involved quite a bit in the passing game against the Eagles with James White, Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel combining to be targeted 14 times. Other than the trio, Julian Edelman was once again heavily involved in the offense. Not only did he play 66 of a possible 74 offensive snaps, he also finished the day as the team’s leader in ever major receiving statistic — all while also throwing the Patriots’ lone touchdown of the day.

Other bright spots from the receiving corps were tight end Benjamin Watson, who saw a heavy workload and finished with three catches for 52 yards, and rookie N’Keal Harry playing in his first NFL game. On the other end of the spectrum was veteran Mohamed Sanu: despite getting plenty of opportunities and coming off one of the best games of his career, the 30-year-old finished with only two receptions for four yards.

Receiver separation

NFL Next Gen Stats

The Patriots got solid production out of veteran tight end Benjamin Watson, who was targeted four times on the day by Brady — but only when he was comparatively wide open. The same cannot be said for N’Keal Harry, who averaged just 1.91 yards of space on the four passes thrown his way. It sure seems as if the future Hall of Fame quarterback trusts New England’s first-round draft selection when it comes to winning contested balls if need be.

Wentz also took a rather safe approach against the Patriots’ big-play defense: exactly half of his 40 passing attempts went to Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor, who combined to catch 13 passes for 134 yards. The fourth-year passer mostly went to them, however, when they were open.

Pass protection

Pass protection statistics

Player Snaps Sacks QB Hits Hurries
Player Snaps Sacks QB Hits Hurries
Marshall Newhouse 74 0.0 3 1
Marcus Cannon 74 0.0 1 5
Ted Karras 74 0.0 1 2
Shaq Mason 74 0.0 0 0
Joe Thuney 74 0.0 0 0

Tom Brady was pressured on 14 of his 48 drop-backs (29.2%), with the offensive tackles again being an area of concern: Marshall Newhouse, who might get replaced at left tackle by Isaiah Wynn this week against the Dallas Cowboys, surrendered three quarterback hits and a hurry; Marcus Cannon gave up only one hit but allowed his quarterback to be hurried five additional times. While Wynn should be an upgrade over Newhouse, Cannon’s performance this season — he has given up 24.5 quarterback pressures (1.5 sacks, seven hits, 16 hurries) — remains inconsistent.

On the bright side, both Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason did not allow even a single disruption against a talented Eagles defensive line. This performance was especially encouraging in Mason’s case, as it seems he has overcome the ankle injury that limited him before the bye week.

Pass rush/run defense

Pass rush/run defense statistics

Player Snaps Sacks QB Hits Hurries Run stops
Player Snaps Sacks QB Hits Hurries Run stops
Kyle Van Noy 70 1.0 4 4 1
Dont'a Hightower 69 1.0 3 1 0
Jamie Collins Sr. 63 0.0 2 0 0
Lawrence Guy 42 0.0 0 0 2
Danny Shelton 39 1.0 0 0 1
Terrence Brooks 36 0.0 2 0 0
Chase Winovich 30 0.0 2 0 0
John Simon 30 0.0 0 1 0
Adam Butler 28 1.0 0 1 0
Elandon Roberts 8 1.0 0 0 0

Two weeks after struggling against the Ravens, the Patriots’ front-line defenders played a very good game in Philadelphia. Led by a terrific Kyle Van Noy, who finished with nine quarterback disruptions (1.0 sack, four hits, four hurries), New England was relentless in pressuring Carson Wentz and never allowed him to get into any rhythm. On the day, the unit registered 5.0 sacks, 13 hits and seven hurries on just 45 drop-backs for an outstanding pressure rate of 55.6%.

Defensive rush direction

NFL Next Gen Stats

The Patriots were unable to stop the Ravens’ running game two weeks ago, but kept the Eagles’ ground attack in check. On the day, running backs Miles Sanders and Boston Scott combined to gain just 64 yards on the ground on 18 carries (3.6 yards per attempt). Carson Wentz added 17 more yards on three carries, but he did not impact the game in the same way Lamar Jackson did two weeks ago. All in all, New England’s run defense was quite solid on Sunday against a unit that missed its number one option due to injury (Jordan Howard).

Pass rush separation

NFL Next Gen Stats

Both teams’ defenses were able to get into the backfield on a regular basis, which in turn impacted the passing games on both sides. For the Patriots defense, rookie linebacker Chase Winovich and veteran Dont’a Hightower were the most disruptive players in terms of getting close to Carson Wentz on rushing attempts. Defensive tackle Adam Butler, meanwhile, had another solid game as a pass rusher from the interior line.

Pass coverage

Pass coverage statistics

Player Snaps Targets Completions Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Rating Pass Breakups
Player Snaps Targets Completions Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Rating Pass Breakups
Devin McCourty 75 4 2 11 0 0 56.3 1
Stephon Gilmore 75 4 0 0 0 0 39.6 2
Duron Harmon 72 2 2 33 0 0 118.8 0
Kyle Van Noy 70 1 0 0 0 0 39.6 0
Jamie Collins Sr. 63 3 0 0 0 0 39.6 1
J.C. Jackson 51 5 2 17 0 0 49.6 1
Jason McCourty 51 3 1 19 0 0 56.3 1
Jonathan Jones 46 1 1 3 1 0 118.8 0
Terrence Brooks 36 8 5 43 0 0 76.6 3

Even though the Eagles started the game by drawing a 49-yard pass interference call against Jason McCourty, the Patriots’ secondary did bounce back in style — especially when it came to limiting Zach Ertz. The standout tight end did finish the game with 94 yards on nine receptions while matched up against a number of defenders including Stephon Gilmore — who had another outstanding performance — and Terrence Brooks, but he did not make the game-changing plays.

The rest of New England’s coverage players, meanwhile, were able to slow down their assignments on a regular basis and took away Wentz’s ability to spread the football around consistently.