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A Balanced Look at the Defense

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by AndyJohnson, Dec 6, 2011.

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  1. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I am going to eliminate statistical confusion, and simply look, game by game at what the defense contributed to winning or losing. I will also take into account the circumstances of the game, what the offense did, etc.

    Wk 1 Miami. With 5:44 left the defense had allowed 17 points, 7 coming off a turnover at the -11, and the lead was 21 points. What followed is irrelevant to the defense contributing to the win. This is a clear WIN for the defense.

    Wk 2 San Diego Through 3 quarters, defense allowed only 7 points. The drive that started the 4th resulted in a TD to make it 20-14. Then:
    After the offense turns over on downs at the 49, the D forces a fumble
    After the O extends the lead to 14 the D allows a TD
    After the O scores again, the D forces another fumble
    A clear WIN for the defense

    Wk 3 Buffalo As of the start of the 4th, the D had allowed 17 points despite 3 offensive turnovers. In the 4th quarter the defense was as awful as a defense can be. Clear LOSS for the defense

    Wk 4 As of 1:16 left in the game the defense allows 13 points and has an 18 point lead. Clear WIN for the defense.

    Wk 5 11:02 left in 3rd when Jets score to cut score to 17-14, THEN
    O doesnt score
    D 3 and out
    O doesnt score
    D 3 and out
    O scores
    D 3 and out
    O kicks FG 27-14 less than 13 minutes left
    D allows score but takes 5:42 off clock
    O scores game over
    WIN for the D, but certainly some help from the O to ensure winning

    Wk 6 Dallas D allowed 16 points despite 4 turnovers by the offense. 6 of 11 drives had 0 or 1 1st down. Most importantly, tied at 13 through 3 the 4th quarter D drives were punt (after 2 1st downs) FG, punt (3 and out) followed by the offense scoring after having gone 4 2nd half drives without putting a point on the board, forcing the D to come up with stops to keep them in the game.
    Clear WIN for the D.

    Wk 7 Bye

    Wk 8 Pittsburgh 1st 4 drives were TD,FG,Int,TD allowing 17 first half points.
    Good red zone D in second half masked 18 minutes time of possession by Pitt while we were trailing. D never made the play that gave the O the chance to get back in it.
    Clear LOSS for the D.

    Wk 9 Giants It is very hard to argue that a defense was responsible for a loss when the offense needs a muffed punt recovery followed by gaining all of 19 yards before kicking a FG for its first points with 250 left in the 3rd after having committed 3 turnovers and having allowed only 10 points including 7 on a turnover at the -10, but from there on the D handed it away. After 2 stops (punt and Int) to let the O get back in the game, the D takes over up 13-10 with 7:08 to go and allows an 85 yard 8 play drive that only takes up 4:05. After the offense answers to go up 20-17 the D takes the field with 1:36 to go, at the 20, and allows an 8 play 80 yard drive to lose the game. Nothing that came before those 7 minutes and 8 seconds matters, this was a clear LOSS for the defense.

    Wk 10 Jets Defense allowed 14 points, and never let the Jets challenge. Clear WIN for the D

    Wk 11 Chiefs 3 points allowed, clear WIN for the D

    Wk 12 Eagles. Allowed 2 early scores, then, while O was getting back in the game, then allowed 3 points in the subsequent 8 drives including 3 and out on 4 of 5 2nd quarter drives while the score went from 7-10 to 24-13. Clear and blatant WIN for the D, in fact one where the media will criticize the D for the yardage allowed, but the D had as much to do with the win as the O which played very well did.

    Wk 13 Colts The Patriots score to go ahead 31-3 with 4:13 left in the game, and the game is over. The defense had as much to do with this as the offense. At this point even of the offense ran only 9 plays and took 2:40 off the clock combined on their 3 remaining drives, there would not be enough time left for the Colts to come back and tie. The game was won. What followed was irrelevant. A clear WIN for the defense.

    So, in 12 games, the defense clearly won its half of the game and contributed very positively to the victory 8 times and well enough with to win as long as the O was decent a 9th time, and played crappy 3 times.
    That adds up to a defense that has done more to help the team win than it has done to cause them to lose, by a clear margin. No doubt the offense has been better than the defense, but the fact is the defense deserves to be 9-3.
  2. PYPER

    PYPER Rookie

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    This thread should be banned. There is no place on football message boards for intelligent football analysis. It is neither wanted nor appreciated. Long live the Peter King's and Prisco's of the world. If you aren't skilled in the art of oversimplification and flawed logic, you have no business writing about football.

    BOOOOOOOOOOO Mr. AJ BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  3. NinjaZX6R

    NinjaZX6R Rookie

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    Lol. I wonder if Deus will post here. Since he has AJ on his ignore list. :D
  4. grandpajim

    grandpajim Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    Great job andy.
    I've long been a fan of your observations & input to the site.
    While I would feel better if McGinnest, Bruski & Harrison were on the field, I do see & expect further improvement from this no-name bunch. I am also tentatively trusting BB's egotistically insane personnel moves.
    Having said that, I firmly believe the Pats will or will not win another Lombardi depending on the protection of Brady. If he's treated like a rag doll, what the D does makes no difference. If Brady has time, the D is good enough.
  5. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yeah, thats what he says allright. :rolleyes:
  6. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Contrary to what you will read here and elsewhere, the defense has played very well at times. The problem is people are just to quick to complain so a defense that allows 3 points on the way to a 31-3 lead gets lambasted for preserving a win by forcing the offense to run 13 of the remaining 19 minutes off the clock to cut a 4 TD lead to 2.
    Would it be better if they could go out and play a style that sacrifices areas of the field in order to not allow a big play and still get 3 and outs? Sure. But you can't really take a philosophy that says playing a style that gives you a 99% chance to win, while increasing the chance the other team moves the ball instead of a philosophy that has an 85% chance to win but an 84% chance to humiliate the opponent, and use that to extrapolate what will happen in a 21-20 playoff game in the 4th quarter.
  7. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #51 Jersey

    Far too positive in light of the defense ignoring too many critical factors Andy. When I have some more time, I'll break down a proper response for you.

    As a general position, the defense isn't as bad as people are saying and it's not been as good as you're attempting to illustrate.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2011
  8. smg93

    smg93 Rookie

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    Agree with this totally. For me at the end of the day it's about how many points were allowed by the team. That's the bottom line. This team gives up about as many points as the top third teams in the league. If compared against all 32 teams, that's good.

    Unfortunately we don't compare this team versus the entire league but really only against the best because we expect this team to be a Superbowl contender. So whether top third is good enough against playoff competition or not is the critical question.
  9. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    All this while moving from a 3-4 to a 4-3 combined with the number of players used.

    If healthy the D can do well in the playoffs, if we don't turn the ball over.


    Good job Andy.
  10. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    I think that is a very fair, honest, true, and reasonable statement...
  11. BlitzFritz

    BlitzFritz Rookie

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    I always appreciate a thoughtful thread or post, with a new angle. And this holds a lot of water, for what you are intending to say. The D has won its side of the battle in a lot of games. Its not a terrible Defense -- you have proved it to us.

    The confusion (or debate) comes down to how good the D really is (or is not). While it clearly is NOT terrible, or the worst in the league etc, and the D has clearly contributed to a bunch of wins.....

    the D is also vulnerable. To the pass. And is 30th in the league on 3rd down. Its scary.
    Its a middle of the pack D in this league that has done its part to help the team win games.

    I for one am quite excited to see if BB can continue to dial up the improvement, add more scheme, and make this D better as we move into the last quarter of the season and the playoffs.

    thanks for the thread AJ

    -- FRITZ
  12. Gumby

    Gumby Rookie

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    #11 Jersey


    I think this is the part that folks' eyeball test has them excited and posting about the horrible D. Sure statistically if you take selective portions of every game they are good enough to win it all.

    But especially worrisome from the Dolts game is that while they were giving up scoring drives to Garcon; according to BB, the defense, the Dolts HC, the Dolts themselves, and the press the PATS WERE PLAYING THE SAME DEFENSE AS EARLIER WITH THE SAME PLAYERS AS EARLIER. They weren't playing to protect the lead while forcing clock consumption. THEY JUST GOT FLAT OUT BEAT!!! So subtracting that from the evaulation is not appropriate.

    Granted that occurred with odd player combinations on the field and Mayo and Ninkovich etc were inches away from getting to Orlovsky before he got the passes off..................BUT WOULDA SHOULDA .......WILL NOT WIN A SB!!!

    The Pats themselves (TB !!) said it; we havent played a full 60 minutes.

    They are doing a team version of showboating while running with the ball an the 3 yd line and getting it knocked out of their hands. Losing focus and thinking it is all just going to happen.

    That focus is what needs to be turned around.
  13. mosi

    mosi Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    People forget, Bill is about winning the game. Do whatever you need to win the game. Sometimes that involves a stouter defense. At other times, it involves letter the clock wind down. Bill tries to utilize his players in a way in which they will win the game. Sometimes he gambles and loses but for the most part, he wins.
  14. patsfaninpittsburgh

    patsfaninpittsburgh Banned

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    Andy

    Facts only work if you are mentally stable.

    Analysis of all available data through a credible analysis process only works with some.

    Come up with a stupid opinion then determine a straw man through the use of non facts and nonsense.

    The offense has as much to blame for Pittsburgh. Actually, the coaching staff does.

    After 2010, there were several articles here about how Lebeau realized that "do what we do" wasn't doing it. Likewise, the previous games against Jax and Tenn should have made it obvious the Steelers would "take what's given".

    It's still amazing how little gameplan consideration went into that dynamic.

    The silver lining is that suprise will not happen in the post season like last year's gift by the Jets.
  15. patsfaninpittsburgh

    patsfaninpittsburgh Banned

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    You really believe that?

    Again, the critical question:

    Why are teams waiting till the end of the fourth quarter, down 3 or 4 scores to start lighting it up?

    Doesn't it make sense to do earlier? When the game is in the process of being decided?

    Typically, activity after something is decided isn't really decisive.

    My best guess is you really want to believe it so you will believe it.
  16. ctpatsfan1

    ctpatsfan1 Rookie

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    at the end of the day the job of the D is to give up the least amount of points as possible by stopping the opposing O and giving the ball back to the Pats O. I agree with the overall analysis that the D hasn't been as bad as some of the chicken littles are making it out to be but it hasn't been good either, at best it has been inconsistent with spurts of ability to shut down opposing O's and times where they can't get off the field. IMHO many factors have played into this, injuries, switch to 4-3 with no off season, BB experimenting etc. Once the lineup settles down and gets some consistency I think you will see an average D that can at times shut teams down and at other times not get out of its own way or stop an opposing O when it has too. Overall so far I think they have improved as a unit I would just like to seem more improvement and consistency as the season winds down and the playoffs begin.
  17. Sydney

    Sydney Rookie

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    Wait, so the only clear losses for the defense come against pittsburgh, buffalo and new york despite numerous offensive turn overs? This analysis is hardly objective.
  18. robertweathers

    robertweathers Rookie

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    What other games has the defense lost? How are you mesuring them? Everyone knows this defense is not the 85 Bears and if Aaron Rodgers had the ball at the end of the game and needed to get in the end zone, most of us would be in panic mode.

    With that said, AJ's analysis is by far the most objective assesment of how the defense perfromed when the game was still in doubt on this board.

    For all the chicken littles out there that care about yards, QB rating, etc, the only metrics that should matter are...

    -Points allowed
    -Forced turnovers
    -3rd down D
    -Red Zone defense.

    Every other metric used to measure the effectiveness of a defense is helpful, but worthless.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2011
  19. Big-T

    Big-T On the Roster

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    #51 Jersey

    I think quite a few people are over-selling how bad the defense is, especially when you look at some of the players who have missed games:

    Mayo, Spikes, Fletcher, Chung, Dowling & McCourty just to name a few - that's 2 of the 3 starting linebackers, the best safety on the team and 2 of the top 3 corners.

    Yes it isn't the 85 Bears reincarnated, but it doesn't need to be with the offense the Patriots have - if they can hold teams to FGs and force turnovers - which they do, then they're doing the job they're supposed to be. 13th in the league in points allowed is one of the reasons this team is 9-3.
  20. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree with the sentiment that the defense isn't nearly as bad as many people on this board and elsewhere want to make it sound, but the overall initial analysis might be a little too rosey. I think it is closer to reality than most of the doom and gloomers put forth, but I might not go as far as Andrew on some of his analysis.

    I did feel that the defense did it job in games like the Dolphins, Raiders, and Eagles; but allowed a lot of garbage time yards and/or scores to make it look far worse than it was. That said some of the "clear wins" by the defense were not so clear in that they did enough to win, but had problems at least at times.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2011
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