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Patriots vs Seahawks advanced stats: New England’s passing game comes to life against Seattle

Related: Patriots vs Seahawks snap counts: Rex Burkhead takes over as New England’s top running back

New England Patriots v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The New England Patriots’ first road game of the season ended in disappointment. While the team came within one yard of beating the Seattle Seahawks, it ultimately fell short and ended up losing with a final score of 35-30. The game still saw some encouraging performances, though, as the Patriots’ aerial game in particular stood out on Sunday night — something the statistics behind the game confirm as well.

Before taking a look at them, 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 being said, let’s dig into the numbers.

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
Cam Newton 72 44 30 397 1 1 3 1 20.8% 94.6 54.5% 22.9

In just his second game as a Patriot, Cam Newton had a solid passing performance. Not only did he complete 68.2 percent of his pass attempts despite three drops, he also posted a success rate of 54.5 and a cumulative EPA of 22.9 — the latter a vast improvement from the -2.3 he had against the Miami Dolphins last week. While he did throw an interception, Newton had a good overall game against one of the NFL’s best teams and nearly brought New England back from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

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
Cam Newton 72 10 48 2 2 0 70.0% -1.0
Rex Burkhead 51 6 2 1 0 0 0.0% -5.3
Sony Michel 15 7 19 9 0 0 14.3% -1.9
J.J. Taylor 1 1 -1 0 0 0 0.0% -0.9

The Patriots’ running game was nothing short of impressive in Week 1, but it failed to duplicate its success versus Seattle. Be it do to a strong defensive outing or the situation forcing New England to focus on moving the ball through the air, the team finished with only 68 rushing yards and 24 carries for an average of 2.8 yard per attempt and some horrendous OSR and EPA numbers.

The lone consistently successful ball carrier was Cam Newton: the dual-threat QB had success on seven of his rushing attempts — including three scrambles — and also found the end zone twice out of the Patriots’ goal-line 14 personnel package.

Pass receivers

Pass receiving 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
Ryan Izzo 70 2 2 19 6 0 0 106.3 0 50.0% 0.7
Damiere Byrd 62 9 6 72 4 0 1 51.4 0 55.6% 1.2
N'Keal Harry 61 12 8 72 23 0 0 82.6 0 41.7% 4.3
Julian Edelman 52 11 8 179 26 0 0 114.8 3 72.7% 13.6
Rex Burkhead 51 6 4 47 49 0 0 90.3 0 50.0% 1.7
Jakob Johnson 17 1 1 1 0 1 0 118.8 0 100.0% 0.6
Sony Michel 15 1 0 0 0 0 0 39.6 0 0.0% -0.7
Jakobi Meyers 8 1 1 7 0 0 0 95.8 0 100.0% 1.7

While Julian Edelman’s career-high 179 passing yards on eight receptions stand out, his performance also includes a success rate of 72.7 percent as well as a 13.6-point EPA — both clearly the best among the team’s wide receivers. His three drops also catch the eye, but Edelman’s performance was still a strong one despite him seemingly dealing with a neck/head issue after landing hard on his head on a reception in the third quarter.

The other pass catchers also saw regular action, meanwhile, especially Damiere Byrd and N’Keal Harry. The two, who led the wide receivers in snaps, caught a combined 14 passes on 21 attempts. Neither their OSR nor their EPA may stand out, but they did a solid job and appeared to have earned Cam Newton’s trust.

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
Joe Thuney 72 0.0 1.0 0.0 0.5
Shaq Mason 72 0.0 0.5 1.0 0.5
Isaiah Wynn 72 0.0 0.0 2.0 0.0
David Andrews 72 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0
Julian Edelman 52 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0
Jermaine Eluemunor 51 0.0 1.5 0.0 0.0
Rex Burkhead 51 0.0 1.0 2.0 0.0
Michael Onwenu 29 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5
Jakob Johnson 17 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5

As noted above, the Patriots allowed Newton to be pressured on 20.8 percent of his dropbacks. However, not all those disruptions were the fault of the offensive line: Newton did not adjust the protection for the blitz on his lone sack of the day, while running back Rex Burkhead allowed him to be pressured on three separate occasions. All in all, the blockers up front still had a solid day in pass protection by giving up a mere nine total disruptions.

The run blocking, however, was a different story with the Seahawks successfully overpowering the line on numerous occasions — including the game-deciding goal line run as time expired.

Pass rush/run defense

Pass rush/run defense statistics

Player Snaps Sacks QB Hits Hurries Stuffed runs
Player Snaps Sacks QB Hits Hurries Stuffed runs
Stephon Gilmore 62 0.0 0 0 0.5
Jonathan Jones 59 0.0 1 0 0
John Simon 56 0.0 0 1.5 0
Chase Winovich 47 0.5 2 3 0
Lawrence Guy 45 0.0 2 2 0
Kyle Dugger 34 0.0 0 1 0
Brandon Copeland 30 0.0 0 0 0.5
Deatrich Wise Jr. 20 1.0 1 1.5 0
Shilique Calhoun 17 1.0 0 1 0
Derek Rivers 10 0.5 0 0 0

While Cam Newton was pressured on one fifth of his dropbacks, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson felt the heat on more than half of his: New England was able to disrupt him on 19 of 34 dropbacks, even though the defense registered just two sacks.

No player was more active when it comes to pass rushing than second-year man Chase Winovich, who shared a sack with Derek Rivers and also registered two hits as well as three hurries. Winovich was a problem for Seattle’s offensive line all game long, even though Wilson appeared to be unfazed by the pressure he felt.

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
Ja'Whaun Bentley 63 2 2 16 1 0 0 0 139.6 100.0%
Devin McCourty 63 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.0 0.0%
Stephon Gilmore 62 5 3 85 1 0 0 0 143.8 60.0%
Jonathan Jones 59 4 3 21 0 0 0 0 86.5 75.0%
Adrian Phillips 49 2 2 27 1 0 0 0 158.3 100.0%
J.C. Jackson 38 1 1 7 0 0 0 0 95.8 100.0%
Jason McCourty 30 2 2 42 2 0 0 0 158.3 100.0%
Terrence Brooks 6 1 1 9 0 0 0 0 104.2 100.0%

New England’s secondary is the strength of the team but Wilson and his impressive group of pass catchers still had a field day against the unit: the Seahawks’ quarterback completed 21 of 28 attempts for 288 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. The Patriots’ pass coverage numbers are naturally not great.

Wilson regularly found the open spots in the team’s zone defense, and also was able to take advantage of his man-to-man matchups whenever he encountered them — giving his pass catchers opportunities to make plays by putting the ball in favorable locations. Just ask cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who had near-perfect coverage versus DK Metcalf on the second-year receiver’s 54-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.