It’s not getting much mention yet this week, but the Pats o-line is certainly starting to string together a good stretch of games. Especially the interior guys, who were inconsistent early this season.
Center Ryan Wendell and right guard Dan Connolly had a little trouble at times, but the offensive line was excellent overall in pass protection, allowing only one sack in 42 passing plays. We counted 16 Houston blitzes, and Watt seemed to twist or stunt on every single play. But the five offensive linemen worked well together, correctly handled their assignments, and kept Tom Brady clean for most of the game. Nate Solder had a really nice bounce-back game after allowing two sacks to the Broncos’ Von Miller. Logan Mankins had another nice game, but did miss a block that would’ve sprung Vereen for a big gain on a screen pass.
The All-22 film reviews are pouring in this morning. Good stuff from all the beat guys and I try to pick out nuggets that stood out to me in my own watching of it. Here’s one from Nick Underhill…
One negative about the switch to more 3-4 looks: Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones are often forced to drop into coverage. Ninkovich dropped back into coveage 10 times Sunday, while Chandler Jones dropped back five times. If it’s about getting the best 11 men on the field and putting them in a position to succeed, a 4-3 look with Chandler Jones and Ninkovich as the ends and either Jamie Collins or Dane Fletcher essentially taking the place of one of the defensive linemen may be a stronger front.
Here’s the Week 13 DVOA ratings and they point out what we all know:
You can see how the Patriots have completely turned things around to become the same team they’ve been the last few years. The offense is awesome again, and the defense, now riddled with injuries, is once again below average. The special teams, as always, are excellent.
From Weeks 1-8:
- Offense 18th
- Defense 11th
- Special Teams: 2nd
From Weeks 9-13
- Offense: 2nd
- Defense: 21st
- Special Teams: 9th
Still, I think if you looked specifically at the defensive breakdown, it wouldn’t be the same old “great against the run, can’t stop any legit passing attack” we’ve seen the last three seasons. Now it’s the opposite, and we’ll see if that makes any difference in the post season.
The overall season DVOA ratings:
- Pass: 8th
- Run: 9th
- vs. Run: 31st
- vs. Pass: 9th
- vs. #1 WR: 7th
- vs. #2 WR: 30th
- vs. Other WR: 17th
- vs. TE: 10th
- vs. RB: 10th
Special Teams: 4th
After a brutal night last night and a brutal game today, the victory salvages what was almost an all-time worst Thanksgiving weekend.
Let’s kick of everybody’s favorite half-day Wednesday of the year with the updated DVOA rankings.
- Run 9th
- Pass 12th
- vs. Run 28th
- vs. Pass 8th
- vs #1 WR: 4th
- vs. #2 WR: 32nd
- vs. other WR: 14th
- vs. TE: 9th
- vs. RB: 9th
Special Teams: 2nd
It’s not hard to see that this is the best Patriots team we’ve seen on DVOA in a while. Or better yet, it’s the most complete team. Yes they have problems against the run, that’s kind of to be expected without Wilfork and Kelly in there.
And yes they seem to have problems with #2 wide receivers, although that is a bit subjective.
Otherwise they are in the top half, and very likely in the top 10, in every other ranking. And given how the NFL is, I’ll take those rankings every season, especially over the recent years of struggles against the pass while the run defense was stellar.
Simply put, these rankings matchup with the kind of team you need to win the Super Bowl.
Good tweet from Matt Chatham showing how the Pats sold out against the pass and let the Broncos take what they could on the ground. Forcing continued execution and not allowing any big plays is “bend, don’t break” at its finest.
|—||What is the hallmark of these New England Patriots? It’s beginning to look like their heart | masslive.com|