Patriots 2011 defense the bendiest ever and unbreakiest since 2006

It seems like the universal excuse for us Belichick apologists these days for why the Patriots give up so many yards and how it doesn’t matter is that they play a “bend don’t break” style of defense that forces the offense to consistently execute and waits to take advantage of turnovers or stop them in the red zone.

The two stats that are best reflective of the bend don’t break are first downs pergame and red zone defense touchdown percentage. I went back and looked at the Pats performance in these areas since the 2003 season and the results are pretty interesting.

FIRST DOWNS PER GAME

  • 2011: 23.2 (32nd)
  • 2010: 21.2 (29th)
  • 2009: 17.9 (10th)
  • 2008: 17.1 (7th)
  • 2007: 17.6 (7th)
  • 2006: 17.6 (11th)
  • 2005: 18.7 (20th)
  • 2004: 18.4 (11th)
  • 2003: 18.3 (16th)

RED ZONE TOUCHDOWN PERCENTAGE

  • 2011: 50% (16th)
  • 2010: 56% (22nd)
  • 2009: 56% (21st)
  • 2008: 67% (31st)
  • 2007: 54% (21st)
  • 2006: 40% (3rd)
  • 2005: 54% (23rd)
  • 2004: 42% (3rd)
  • 2003: 43% (7th)

The most interesting thing here is that never before have the Patriots given up more first downs per game than they’re giving up this year. Regardless of slight improvements on 3rd down, offenses have never had an easier time moving the ball.

However the Patriots defense is having it’s best red zone season since 2006, and although they’re still only 16th in the league it’s clear that this has been the saving grace in getting the Pats to 10-3 on the season.

  1. victor2k reblogged this from patspropaganda
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