I always look forward to Football Outsiders Almanac as I’m a firm believer in their efficiency-based rankings over traditional stats. Here are some interesting tidbits about the Pats that I think paint an interesting picture of who they were in 2011 and what they’re trying to be in 2012.
- The Pats gave up 37.5 yards per drive, the worst figure of any team in FO’s drive stats ever, going back to 1997.
- They did however have the best “Points Prevented Per Drive” number ever as well. That means the 2011 Pats were the most extreme example of “Bend Don’t Break” in the last 15 years.
- Since 1993, the results of doubling up on defenders in the first round have been consistently positive. Twelve of the fifteen teams showed immediate improvement and many times it was substantial.
- Rob Gronkowski had “easily the greatest season of any tight end in FO’s DVOA era, and probably in history”.
- Patriots targetted running backs on a league-low 9.5 percent of passes, they had been at 17 percent or above in every other season tracked by FO.
- The Pats have only used the running back screen a dozen times in each of the past two seasons, though when used it was good for 10 yards on average.
- The Pats had the only defense whose opponents threw more passes to number two receivers (21.2 percent) than number one receivers (20.7 percent).
- Only 13 percent of passes against the Pats were to tight ends, every other team was at 18 percent or higher. Because why throw to a tight end when it’s pretty much an auto-completion to a wide receiver?
More to come as we pour through the rest of the stats…