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Patriots vs Chiefs advanced stats: New England’s pass defense looked very good in Kansas City

Related: Patriots vs Chiefs snap counts: Coverage-heavy game plan helps slow down Kansas City’s offense

New England Patriots Vs. Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The New England Patriots took on the reigning world champions in less-than-ideal conditions: their starting quarterback, Cam Newton, had been diagnosed as Coronavirus positive just three days earlier, while the team had to fly to Kansas City and back on the same day as the game and with Covid-19 hanging over everybody’s collective head. Seeing the Patriots come up short 26-10 against the Chiefs was therefore no surprise, even though the club certainly had its chances to eventually come away victoriously.

With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the advanced numbers from the contest. Before analyzing the statistics, however, we will have to explain two of the categories you will meet here that extend beyond conventional statistics:

  • OSR: OSR stands for “Offensive Success Rate” and is based on Bill Connelly’s work at SB Nation. It aims to characterize how successful a play was relative to the down and distance in which it took place. For a play be considered a success it will have to gain at least 50 percent of the necessary yardage on first down (i.e. at least 5 yards on 1st-and-10), 70 percent on second down (i.e. at least 7 yards on 2nd-and-10), and 100 percent on both third and fourth down (i.e. at least 10 yards on 3rd-and-10 and 4th-and-10).
  • EPA: EPA stands for “Expected Points Added” and is based on the work done by Ben Baldwin through his website rbsdm.com. EPA aims at measuring the value of individual offensive plays in terms of points by calculating what is expected to happen on an individual play depending on down, distance, field position and game situation and contrasting it with the eventual outcome.

With that out of the way, let’s dig into the stats.

Quarterbacks

Quarterback statistics

Player Snaps Attempts Completions Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Drops Throwaways Pressure rate Rating OSR EPA
Player Snaps Attempts Completions Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Drops Throwaways Pressure rate Rating OSR EPA
Brian Hoyer 50 24 15 130 0 1 1 0 25.9% 59.4 41.7% -7.5
Jarrett Stidham 25 13 5 60 1 2 3 1 14.3% 39.4 30.8% -9.4

With Cam Newton unavailable due to his Covid-19 diagnosis, the Patriots turned to veteran backup Brian Hoyer to start against the Chiefs. While Hoyer had his moments — his 25-yard pass to Damiere Byrd was one of the best throws of the night on either side — he also made too many mistakes along the way. His success rate of 41.7 percent and his EPA of -7.5 speak for themselves, and it was no surprise to see him get benched after losing a fumble in the red zone.

Statistically speaking, Jarrett Stidham did not fare better than Hoyer: he had a lower OSR and EPA despite facing a reduced pressure rate — all while also throwing a pick-six. That said, those numbers do not tell the whole story as three of his pass attempts were dropped by the intended receivers. Stidham certainly had some positive plays to build on coming out of the first extended action of his NFL career.

Ball carriers

Ball carrier statistics

Player Snaps Attempts Yards Yards after Contact Touchdowns Fumbles OSR EPA
Player Snaps Attempts Yards Yards after Contact Touchdowns Fumbles OSR EPA
Brian Hoyer 50 1 8 7 0 0 100.0% N/A
James White 40 3 21 4 2 0 66.7% 0.9
Rex Burkhead 26 11 45 10 0 0 27.3% -1.3
Jarrett Stidham 25 2 3 0 0 0 50.0% 1.5
Damien Harris 23 17 100 18 0 0 29.4% 1.0
Isaiah Zuber 9 1 8 0 0 0 100.0% 0.6

As had to be expected entering the game, New England posted some strong rushing numbers against the Chiefs’ defense: the Patriots ran the football 35 times for a combined 185 yards and a 5.3-yard average per carry. The running game did not dominate quite like it did against the Las Vegas Raiders one week earlier, however, with the team’s top two backs in terms of carries both posting a sub-30 percent success rate.

Pass receivers

Pass receiver statistics

Player Snaps Targets Completions Yards Yards after Catch Touchdowns Interceptions Rating Drops OSR EPA
Player Snaps Targets Completions Yards Yards after Catch Touchdowns Interceptions Rating Drops OSR EPA
Damiere Byrd 73 10 5 80 20 0 1 37.5 0 40.0% -3.7
Ryan Izzo 64 3 0 0 0 0 1 0.0 1 0.0% -6.7
N'Keal Harry 57 6 3 21 10 1 0 97.9 0 50.0% 3.7
Julian Edelman 46 6 3 35 4 0 1 28.5 3 33.3% -3.6
James White 40 8 7 38 53 0 0 86.5 0 37.5% -0.6
Rex Burkhead 26 1 1 5 0 0 0 87.5 0 100.0% -0.1
Gunner Olszewski 6 0 1 11 0 0 0 N/A 0 100.0% 1.9

The quarterback play did them no favors at times, but the Patriots’ wide receivers also had their fair share of downs to go along with the occasional ups: the unit dropped four passes — three of which by Julian Edelman alone — while only one of the players targeted more than once (N’Keal Harry) posted a success rate of above 50 percent as well as a positive EPA. Numbers obviously do not tell the entire story, as noted above, but New England’s receiving talent failed to tip the scales in the team’s favor on Monday.

Pass protection/run blocking

Pass protection/run blocking statistics

Player Snaps Sacks QB Hits Hurries Stuffed runs
Player Snaps Sacks QB Hits Hurries Stuffed runs
Justin Herron 75 1.0 2 1 0
Isaiah Wynn 75 1.0 1 0 1
James Ferentz 75 0.0 0 0 0
Joe Thuney 75 0.0 0 0 0
Michael Onwenu 75 0.0 0 0 0
Julian Edelman 46 0.0 0 0 1
James White 40 0.0 0 0 1
Jakob Johnson 23 0.0 0 1 0

New England’s offensive line had a solid game against the Chiefs, despite being down starters: center David Andrews is still on injured reserve; right guard Shaq Mason was deactivated before the game because of a calf injury; right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor did not play a single game after suffering a migraine before kickoff. The rest of the line did look good, with three players having a clean slate and Isaiah Wynn’s sack more the result of Brian Hoyer holding onto the ball for too long.

The Patriots can also be pleased with the play of rookies Michael Onwenu and Justin Herron: the former started his second straight game — this time at right guard instead of left — while the latter received his first career start in place of Eluemunor. Onwenu had another impressive outing, while Herron also was solid despite giving up four total pressures, including a strip-sack.

Pass rush/run defense

Pass rush/run defense statistics

Player Snaps Sacks QB Hits Hurries Stuffed runs Fumbles forced Fumbles recovered
Player Snaps Sacks QB Hits Hurries Stuffed runs Fumbles forced Fumbles recovered
Stephon Gilmore 56 0.0 0 0 0 1 0
J.C. Jackson 56 0.0 0 0 0 0 1
John Simon 45 0.0 0 1 0 0 0
Chase Winovich 37 1.0 0 2 1 0 0
Lawrence Guy 36 0.0 0 0 1 0 0
Adam Butler 30 0.0 0 1 0 0 0
Deatrich Wise Jr. 27 0.0 0 2 0 0 0
Byron Cowart 17 0.0 0 1 0 0 0

While the Patriots’ pressure rate against Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes may not be overwhelming — they sacked, hit or hurried him on 10 of his 35 dropbacks for a rate of 28.6 percent — the front-line did a good job of making disrupting him in the pocket on numerous occasions. Mahomes did still make his fair share of plays, but New England’s defense and its combination of disguised looks and pass coverage was able to throw him off his rhythm a bit. Not every team can say that.

Pass coverage

Pass coverage statistics

Player Snaps Targets Completions Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Pass Breakups Pass interference Rating OSR
Player Snaps Targets Completions Yards Touchdowns Interceptions Pass Breakups Pass interference Rating OSR
Jonathan Jones 56 5 2 27 0 0 0 0 57.9 40.0%
Stephon Gilmore 56 3 1 10 0 0 0 0 43.8 33.3%
J.C. Jackson 56 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 39.6 0.0%
Devin McCourty 56 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 N/A N/A
Ja'Whaun Bentley 46 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 39.6 0.0%
Adrian Phillips 42 1 1 11 0 0 0 0 112.5 100.0%
Jason McCourty 35 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 39.6 0.0%
Kyle Dugger 16 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 79.2 0.0%
Joejuan Williams 8 2 1 45 0 0 0 0 95.8 50.0%

The Chiefs have arguably the best group of pass catchers in the NFL, and yet the Patriots’ secondary did a tremendous job against them no matter if playing man-to-man or zone coverage. While Mahomes did finish the game with two touchdown passes, those throws were essentially run plays — speaking for how Kansas City had to find different ways to move the ball against a disciplined secondary.

If there was one blemish for New England’s coverage personnel it is the number of dropped interceptions: Devin McCourty and J.C. Jackson could both have picked off passes that eventually led to Chiefs scores. When speaking simply in terms of covering Mahomes’ assortment of weapons and making life hard for the reigning Super Bowl MVP, however, the unit did a very good job on Monday night.