Shane Vereen is among players shut out at the goal line in 2014. (USA TODAY Images)
Taking a closer look at the Patriots numbers down on the goal line this season, it’s interesting to see that this appears to be an area where they’ve struggled through the first nine games.
Collectively ¬†they’ve run the ball seven times down on the opponents’ one yard line, while throwing the football three times over that span. ¬†Punching it in has been an issue and so far it’s been Brady’s arm that has carried them.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how it’s played out:
2014 AT THE ONE YARD LINE:
Tom Brady: 3-of-3 (100%) 3 TD’s
Tim Wright: 2 targets, 2 touchdowns
Rob Gronkowski: 1 target, 1 touchdown
Stevan Ridley: 3 carries, 2 touchdowns
Tom Brady: 2 carries, 0 touchdowns
Jonas Gray: 1 carry, 0 touchdowns
Shane Vereen: 1 carry, 0 touchdowns
RUNNING BACKS TOTAL:¬†¬†7 carries, 2 touchdowns
Penalty: False Start, Bryan Stork – Week 8 vs Chicago
One quick note on these numbers, fans may talk about the loss of Logan Mankins, but it’s interesting to note that both of New England’s touchdowns this season have come over left guard. ¬†Overall they’ve run twice over left guard (two touchdowns), three times up the middle (0 touchdowns), once over right guard (0 touchdowns) and once around right end (0 touchdowns).
Going back to 2013 and where they were through nine games, here’s a quick look at how it played out. ¬†So far Brady’s been sharper down there than he was to this point last season having completed just 2-of-6 (33%) with just one touchdown.
2013 AT THE ONE YARD LINE THROUGH ¬†NINE GAMES:
Tom Brady: 2-of-6 (33%) 1 touchdown
Matthew Mulligan: 1 target, 1 touchdown
Aaron Dobson: 1 target, 1 reception – 0 touchdowns
Kenbrell Thompkins: 1 target, 0 receptions
Nate Solder:¬†¬†1 target, 0 receptions
Julian Edelman:¬†¬†1 target, 0 receptions
Rob Gronkowski:¬†¬†1 target, 0 receptions
Stevan Ridley: 4 carries, 2 touchdowns
Brandon Bolden: 2 carries, 1 touchdown
Shane Vereen: 1 carry, 0 yards
Tom Brady: 1 carry, 1 lost fumble
LeGarrette Blount:¬†2 carries, 0 touchdowns
RUNNING BACKS TOTAL:¬†10 carries, 3 touchdowns
Down the stretch in 2013 things improved dramatically. ¬†Brady only had one pass attempt (a touchdown to Danny Amendola) but the running back production down there was a key factor over the final seven games. ¬†On five carries the Patriots scored four times, each of which came from four different players. ¬†Stevan Ridley (1 carry, 1 TD), Brandon Bolden¬†(1 carry, 1 TD), James Develin¬†(1 carry, 1 TD) and LeGarrette Blount¬†(1 carry, 1 TD) were all among players who scored from the one-yard line. ¬†The only player shut out was Shane Vereen (1 carry, 0 touchdowns).
Hopefully that same improvement happens this season.