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Patriots vs Raiders advanced stats: Running backs shoulder the load on the ground and through the air

Related: Patriots vs Raiders snap counts: Michael Onwenu not the only rookie to see a bigger role in Week 3

NFL: Oakland Raiders at New England Patriots Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots’ win over the Las Vegas Raiders saw the team play a familiar game: control the rhythm and tempo on the offensive side of the ball, and consistently put the heat on the opponent when on defense. As the advanced stats from the Patriots’ 36-20 victory illustrate, they were able to do both consistently enough to gain control of the game despite quarterback Cam Newton not playing on as high a level as he did in Weeks 1 and 2.

Before taking a look at the numbers, 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 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
Cam Newton 69 28 17 162 1 1 2 1 18.8% 73.8 42.9% -1.8

After back-to-back impressive performances, Cam Newton, as noted above, had a slight off-day as a passer against Las Vegas. The first-year Patriot was unable to establish a consistent rhythm with his targets — at least those not named Rex Burkhead — and was off the mark more than once. His OSR and EPA numbers of 42.9 and -1.8 reflect this, as does the fact that he himself would grade his performance as a C.

Newton was not bad by any means, but he was unable to duplicate the success he had as a downfield passer one week earlier against the Seattle Seahawks.

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 69 6 30 6 0 0 33.3% -2.0
Julian Edelman 56 1 -1 0 0 0 0.0% -0.8
N'Keal Harry 46 1 2 1 0 0 0.0% -0.3
Rex Burkhead 32 6 49 20 2 0 83.3% 5.2
Sony Michel 26 9 117 65 0 0 44.4% 5.2
J.J. Taylor 15 11 43 13 0 0 54.5% 2.0
Isaiah Zuber 6 1 13 2 0 0 100.0% 0.9

While the Patriots’ aerial attack had its ups and downs, the team’s ball carriers shouldered the load versus Las Vegas. Not every run was a success as the OSR numbers show, but New England’s top three backs — Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead and J.J. Taylor — were able to post some impressive numbers on the ground. Aided by a terrific offensive line performance even without starting center David Andrews, the team gained a combined 253 yards on just 35 carries.

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 66 3 3 27 17 0 0 104.2 0 33.3% 1.5
Julian Edelman 56 6 2 23 4 0 0 45.8 0 33.3% -2.5
N'Keal Harry 46 4 2 34 18 0 0 79.2 0 50.0% 1.5
Ryan Izzo 43 1 0 0 0 0 0 39.6 1 0.0% -1.0
Rex Burkhead 32 10 7 49 53 1 1 74.6 0 40.0% -2.3
Sony Michel 26 2 2 23 23 0 0 114.6 0 100.0% 1.6
Jakob Johnson 18 1 1 6 0 0 0 91.7 0 100.0% 0.3
J.J. Taylor 15 1 0 0 0 0 0 39.6 1 0.0% -0.8

New England’s running backs also stood out in the receiving game. While J.J. Taylor dropped his lone target, Sony Michel and especially Rex Burkhead had productive days as receivers out of the backfield: Michel caught both his passes and took them for 23 yards; Burkhead led the team with 49 receiving yards and a touchdown on seven catches.

The other receivers had their ups and downs. Damiere Byrd was solid as his 100 percent catch rate shows, but only one of his three catches qualifies as a success. N’Keal Harry, meanwhile, had the Patriots’ longest catch of the day — a 27-yarder in the fourth quarter — but failed to connect with Cam Newton twice. Julian Edelman, on the other hand, caught just two of his six targets on the day after a career performance in Week 2.

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
Jermaine Eluemunor 69 2.0 0 1 1
Shaq Mason 69 0.0 1 1 0
Michael Onwenu 69 0.0 0 0 1
Joe Thuney 69 0.0 0 0 0
Isaiah Wynn 59 0.0 0 1 0
Ryan Izzo 43 0.0 0 0 1

New England’s offensive line had to rearrange its talent with center David Andrews being sent to injured reserve because of a fractured thumb on his right hand. Nevertheless, the unit had a strong game: led by new center Joe Thuney it surrendered just six quarterback pressures on 32 dropbacks and also was strong in the running game. While right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor had his ups and downs — he gave up two sacks, a hurry, and a stuffed run — the unit as a whole was impressive.

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
J.C. Jackson 51 0.0 0 0 0 0 1
Deatrich Wise Jr. 39 0.5 1 2 0 0 1
Lawrence Guy 36 0.0 1 0 0 0 1
Chase Winovich 32 1.0 1 1 0 1 0
Adam Butler 29 0.0 0 1 1 0 0
Shilique Calhoun 27 0.5 0 1 1 2 0
Derek Rivers 16 0.0 1 0 0 0 0

The Patriots’ defensive front seven made life hard for the Raiders and quarterback Derek Carr: the veteran passer, who had a strong first two weeks of the season, was pressured on 11 of his 36 drop-backs for a disruption rate of 30.6 percent and lost the football on both of his sacks. Lawrence Guy and Deatrich Wise Jr. came away with the recoveries, the latter for a New England touchdown to effectively ice the game.

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
Devin McCourty 59 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 39.6 0.0%
Stephon Gilmore 58 3 2 20 0 0 1 1 85.4 66.7%
J.C. Jackson 51 3 2 28 0 0 1 0 96.5 33.3%
Jonathan Jones 49 7 5 74 1 0 2 0 145.2 71.4%
Ja'Whaun Bentley 47 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 39.6 0.0%
Jason McCourty 40 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 79.2 0.0%
Adrian Phillips 35 1 1 3 0 0 0 0 79.2 0.0%
Chase Winovich 32 1 1 4 0 0 0 0 83.3 100.0%
Shilique Calhoun 27 1 1 6 0 0 0 0 91.7 100.0%
Terrence Brooks 21 2 2 24 0 0 0 0 116.7 50.0%
Brandon Copeland 11 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 118.8 100.0%

After Seahawks quarterback and potential MVP frontrunner Russell Wilson had a field day against New England’s secondary, the unit did bounce back a bit against Carr and company. He threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns, but a significant portion of his production — 58 yards and one of his scores — came after the game was already out of reach and with the Patriots playing a prevent defense mostly built around zone coverage concepts.

All in all, New England’s coverage crew had a solid performance and held a potent passing game in check for most of the afternoon.