Three weeks into the NFL Season there’s enough information now to start taking a look at some trends, and there are some numbers that are both interesting and somewhat concerning as the Patriots start getting ready to face the Bills on Sunday in Buffalo.


3rd Down hasn’t been a strong point for Brady this season. (FILE:USPresswire)

Here were a few things that stood out after updating our stats database earlier this evening:

- 3rd Down is a problem for quarterback Tom Brady:  On first down Brady has completed 40-of-57 for 489 yards (70%) with 2 touchdowns and an interceptions.  On second down he’s even better, completing 28-of-37 (76%) with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions.  On third down, however, he’s just 11-of-24 (46%) throwing the football, which is surprising considering he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

However, last night’s game against the Ravens was actually his best 3rd down performance so far this season, and here’s how it broke down by week:

Wk 1 at TEN: 2-of-6 (33%) for 16 yards, 1 sack, 0 TD, 0 INT
Wk 2 vs AZ :  3-of-8 (38%) for 47 yards, 1 sack, 0 TD, 0 INT
Wk 3 at BAL :  6-of-10 (60%) for 56 yards, 1 sack, 0 TD, 0 INT

Last season through three games Brady was 16-of-28 (57%) on 3rd down with two touchdowns and 0 interceptions and overall finished the 2011 regular season 80-of-139 (58%) with 9 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He was also 83-of-137 (61%) with 15 touchdowns and two interceptions on 3rd down overall during the regular season in 2010.

- Brady has been extremely consistent in the 1st quarter.  No, seriously – he has:  This will probably be one of the oddest facts of week’s 1-3, but taking a look today it is indeed true.  Brady has completed exactly 67% of his passes in the first quarter in every game so far this season.  He was 6-of-9 in week one (67%), 4-of-6 in week 2 (67%), and 8-of-12 (67%) last night.  If you want to check out how he’s fared in the other quarters this season, those can be found here.

- Not much Gronk in the Red Zone: So far on 14 attempts down in the red zone, Tom Brady has only targeted Rob Gronkowski 3 times, although the big tight end has two receptions – both of them touchdowns.  Those two TD receptions are the most for the team, with Julian Edelman having had the only other red zone touchdown reception.  Overall Brady is 9-of-14 with 3 touchdowns inside the 20.

- Success to the right hasn’t been there in the passing game:  Looking at raw numbers, most of New England’s success has come at the short middle and left of the field.  Based on the official score sheets Brady is 41-of-50 for 381yds (82%) throwing short left, and 17-of-21 for 205yds (81%) and 2 touchdowns on short attempts to the middle.  However, throwing short right he’s completed 16 of 30 for 131yds (53%) and a TD, and he’s 0-for-2 on deep right attempts.  You can view the passing chart here.

- Ridley now with 9 negative carries on the season:  Patriots runningback Stevan Ridley had just 7 negative carries in all of 2011, but so far through 3 games he already has 9.  He accumulated two more in the 3rd quarter of last night’s loss against a tough Ravens defense, and finished with his lowest yards per carry average of the season (2.8).  He finished game one against Tennessee with a 6.0 avg, and last week’s game against the Cardinals he averaged 3.9.  He did about all he could be expected of last night against a tough Ravens defense, but it’s going to be interesting to see how he holds up over the course of an entire season.

- Welker and Lloyd lead the way on 2nd down so far: On 2nd down Brady’s 28-of-37 (76%) throwing the football through three games, and Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker each have 7 receptions – which obviously accounts for half of the total completions. Brady’s had a little more success throwing to Welker and is 7-of-8 (88%) with 71 yards, while he’s 7-of-11 (64%) on attempts to Lloyd for 73 yards. Brady’s also 4-for-4 passing in the red zone on 2nd down with a touchdown, with Lloyd accounting for two of those four receptins. Julian Edelman caught that touchdown last night against the Ravens.

We’ll try and point out a few things each week, and you can check out our full database here.