This is a critical article if you want more insight into the Patriots pass rush. The Pats are ranked 25th overall in blitz percentage, obviously meaning that they really don’t blitz very much at all compared to the rest of the NFL.
When the Pats do blitz, they were fairly effective, ranking 13th in the NFL for pass rush productivity when sending more than four guys. But again, it didn’t happen very often.
Finally comes the real measure, and that is measuring the ability to get pressure with just their front four. In this the Pats were ranked 23rd.
I think in Bill Belichick’s world this is the most telling stat. When the Pats had a dominant defense this ranking would’ve been much higher because they had the ability to get pressure with just four guys, which would be their front three in the 3-4 and whichever LB they felt like sending on that play.
If you’re a conservative defensive team and you don’t blitz a lot, getting pressure with just four is critical to your defense. It might be the single most important element. This is why, for all the excitement the signings of Revis and Browner bring, it’s all about the front seven as I see it if this defense is going to be truly elite.
Also, here’s MMQB’s last pressure points ranking which similarly has the Pats in the early-20s for pass rush. Just not good enough. If Wilfork/Kelly can re-enter the rotation they will definitely help, but how limited will they be. Hopefully Armstead helps too.
Recapping the Pats Stats
Here are a collection of some of my favorite stats, mostly Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings, with the final 2013 values in.
Some dropoff on offense, but considering the changes, they barely registered a blip. Pats offense was still elite.
The defense saw it’s best pass defense since 2007, but the regression in run defense is huge as to be expected without their two two tackles and top two tacklers.
Pats played their most sub defense in four seasons this year, that tends to happen when you essentially run out of defensive linemen. Even with better pass defense and more defensive backs, they regressed on 3rd down. They need to solve that problem and until they do they will never be an elite defense.
Nothing exciting about these numbers either, except that they finally did a good job covering tight ends after two-straight seasons of futility. Maybe Jamie Collins helped play into that a bit. The drop at #2 WR is likely due in part to Talib locking down WR #1 and not many passes going that way.
Must-read alert from Doug Kyed! Great stats and a lot of assumption-killing numbers.
Great stats from Doug Kyed. Nice improvement this year, and really shows how well Devin McCourty has done on the back end.
Check out how the Patriots stack up this season on deep passes compared to the past two years below.
2013: 26-84, 30.9%, 9.25 YPA, 777 yards, 5 TDs, 6 INTs, 4 pass interference penalties
2012: 35-88, 39.8%, 12.1 YPA, 1,067 yards, 12 TDs, 9 INTs, 4 pass interference penalties
2011: 39-78, 50%, 15.7 YPA, 1,226 yards, 6 TDs, 3 INTs, 5 pass interference penalties
Here are the latest DVOA rankings as the Patriots defense continues their decline to an average-at-best squad. But hey, the offense still looks pretty good.
Perhaps the most-telling offensive stat though for this Patriots team is their VARIANCE, which measures how consistent they are from drive to drive. They’re 27th.
The defense is more consistent, they’re 13th in Variance. So consistently slightly-below-average.
- Pass 16th
- Run 21st
- vs #1 WR: 13th
- vs. #2 WR: 30th
- vs. Other WR: 21st
- vs. TE: 16th
- vs. RB: 17th
Special Teams: 3rd
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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:
- 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
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Even during the bye week the other scores will affect the Patriots rankings. Here are the latest as we head into what might be the defining two games of the season.
- vs. Pass: 8th
- vs. Rush: 22nd
- vs. #1 WR: 1st
- vs. #2 WR: 32nd
- vs. Other WR: 20th
- vs. TE: 8th
- vs. RB: 19th
Special Teams: 5th
52.5 yards per game. The difference in passing yards allowed through nine games in 2012 vs. nine games in 2013. The Patriots preach team defense more than just about anyone, but it’s hard not to look at the this year’s pass defense numbers against last season and not credit the work of the secondary. Through nine games in 2013, the Patriots have yielded an average of 232.8 passing yards per game (13th in the league). Through nine games last year, New England was allowing an average of 285.3 passing yards per game (29th in the NFL).
Some historical perspective on the 2013 Patriots and their DVOA ratings, Sub/Base mix and 3rd down percentages.