Why the Patriots are back to Champion Level
There is really one simple reason.
Since Bruschi's return we are 6-2. One of those losses, to the Colts was right after he came back, the other was a 4 Int game by Brady.
Why is Bruschi a cause rahter than effect?
Since Bruschi has returned, the Patriot run D has allowed 80 yards per game (which would rank 2nd in the NFL) and 3.1 yards per carry (which would rank first).
If we give him a mulligan for his first game back (which by the way was only 3.5 per carry) the Pat run D since he was back, and reasonably ready to play, has allowed 70.4 ypgame and 2.95 ypcarry. Both would easily rank first in the NFL.
Before Bruschi came back we allowed on average, 125.3 yard per game, and a 4.3 yard per rush average.
With Bruschi back the Pats have not allowed more than 4.1 in ANY SINGLE GAME. They have allowed 3.1 or less in 5 of the 8, the others being 3.5, 3.8 and 4.1.
Before Bruschi's return, the Patriots allowed 27.3 points per game, since his return 15.6. (Which by the way is right about what the best Pats D, 2003, did)
Before Bruschi's return the Pats allowed 20 or more points in all 6 games. Since they have allowed more than 17 only twice. (Outside of the Colt game, the average allowed is 12.1)
This, however, means even more than it seems.
In the last 4 years, we have not won the SB only 1 time. What is intersting about that year? Tedy Bruschi was injured. During the games Bruschi did not play, we allowed 180 rushing yards a game. When he played it was approx 110, the same as in 2001. Had Bruschi not been injured, would be looking for the 5th in a row???????????????
Any Patriot gan knows this is a different team with Bruschi, and all knw the leadership and intelligence he brings.
But these numbers out his impact in black and white.
If we continue to play run defense that allows 70.4 yards a game, and 2.95 a carry, it is very simply, no one will beat us.
There has been much talk of the team getting new players in, fixing the secondary, improving as the season goes on, etc.
Really, this Patriot season can be divided into 2 halves. The half without Bruschi, and the half with. IMO, the evidence says that the half before Bruschi is irrelevant to what the next 7 weeks will hold.
Tedy Bruschi is co-MVP of this team, along with Tom Brady.
I remember when you presented the with and without Tedy numbers on Run Defense before the 2003 season and you were proven correct. It is impossible to disagree with the otherwise coincidental turnaround this year. Not being a tape watcher, I don't know how Vrabel is doing inside but my feeling is that his moving inside with Colvin looking electric in his outside spot is another significant factor.
I agree - as much as it is a cliché to say it - Bruschi is our Defensive QB - he is the best at play diagnosis and getting the his unit into the correct position.
More than likely someone will say that Seymour is more important - maybe they have a case - all I know is - seeing Bruschi out there gives me a lift and id imagine it does the same for the team.
Plenty of people are still pointing the finger at our secondary, but most teams have a weakness and at least we can counter-act this with our strength in the front 7.
No question in mind ... if Bruschi did not come back PATs Defense would not
be where it is today. He is an essential ingredient.
He is the biggest factor. IMO
Also have to look at other factors such as Seymour getting healthy and Vince
starting to finnally play the way many thought he could paly. Also the right
combination of DBs and their ability to work together. The coaching that
was necenssary for all to come together and start playing "team defense"
as Belichick stresses.
But if you want to single out one factor to call the most important factor it
sure would be Bruschi. IMO
I have to agree. Bruschi is the defenses quarterback. He was flapping his wings like Manning out there, calling all the plays and coverages. I too noticed the points per game since Bruschi came back going from 27 to 15. I do have to say, that the ppg going down also happened when Seymour came back also, and also coincides with the weakest part of our schedule too. Lots of factors, but probably the biggest one is Bruschi coming back, as well as Seymour. I will say that besides Brady, Bruschi is the most important Patriot. He is also my favorite Patriot, but I won't jinx him again by thinking about buying a Bruschi jersey. I was thinking about getting a Bruschi jersy, then he had the stroke, then I wanted a Rodney Harrison jersy, and you know what happened. My mother wanted to buy me a Brady jersey in October for my birthday, and I told her "No freakin way in hell" lol.
When the Pats won in 2001, one of the big points that I noticed was Willie McGinest become a force in RUN defense. Remember we were playing the 43 and he was an undersized DE. Down the stetch and in the playoffs, he was dominant vs the run.
One of the big things I have noticed this year is Colvin has become a dominant run defender. Perhaps its the rehab from the injury, but he is a MUCH more physical player and plays superb run D. (Ive notice it since about the Colts game)
I think Vrabel keeps getting better inside. What has been lost on some is that he still plays OLB too. In our scheme, we play 5+ DBs on at least half the plays. Typically we remove an ILB. Vrabel is staying on the field, pretty much rotating with Colvin and McG on the snaps he is not inside. Vrabel is having an outstanding year.
Willie is Willie, playing up to his standards. On a side note, I think Willie McGinest is the best player in the league when a fumble is on the ground. How many times, like Sunday, does a ball squirt loose, and Willie is the one to get to it? A lot. Ive also seen him more than once block an offensive player away from the ball so another Pat could recover.
These LBs as a group, IMO, are playing the best combined football of their careers. This may be the #1 asset we have to repeat. Well, maybe 1A because we have The Brady.
Just a note on your stats AJ.
Before and After Bruschi is also a break in the schedule in terms of the
toughness of the schedule. So Even though I believe Bruschi's return
has been the most important factor in PATs defense getting better,
I don't believe it because of just the stats. The Bucs game was a good
indication how PATs D has turned around.
Remember what these linebackers did in SB XXXIX against Philly. They were in Mcnabb's face from the first play. The Pats D is unbeatable when the linebackers are dominant. And when they are healthy, that is 99% of the time. Fine play by Seymour-Wilfork-Warren allows the LB's to make the great plays too. We don't have a sack happy D-Line, most of our pressure comes from Colvin-Vrabel-Bruschi.
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