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Modest Thoughts About the Box Score

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PatsFaninAZ, Oct 17, 2011.

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  1. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ In the Starting Line-Up

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    The box score is really interesting. Ultimately, the big picture story is what the final score already tells you – that the Patriots got a TD where the Cowboys got a FG and that was the margin. But there are a few nuggets in there that tell you a bit more about the game.

    Brady and Romo had surprisingly similar lines. Both were 27/41 with 7 and 7.7 ypc respectively. Total yards and total plays were nearly identical. The Patriots made up for Romo’s 28 extra yards throwing with a slightly better running game.

    The Cowboys had 11 possessions to the Patriots’ 10, although the proper numbers for considering drive efficiencies is probably 10 and 9, since both teams had an essentially meaningless possession at the end of each half. The way the timing worked out, the Patriots likely would have had the extra possession, but the two extra turnovers turned it from a +1 to a -1. Or, making it even simpler, the Cowboys ended up with an extra drive because of the special teams turnover. And they had one drive more than the Patriots which was not ended with a turnover.

    So, given the even stats and the -2 takeaways, how did the Patriots overcome that usually dispositive statistic and, in particular, the special teams fumble? Two things: penalty differential and better third down defense. (Going even deeper, the Cowboys had an extra sack, which reduced the effect of the penalty disparity in the end.) The result of these two things was that the Cowboys had to punt twice more than the Patriots, which neutralized the two turnovers.

    In the end, that left five meaningful drives by each team. “Red zone” is a bit artificial for this game, because each team had possessions (Cowboys twice and Patriots once) where they got right to the edge of the red zone well in field goal range.

    Essentially, stripping away everything else, each team had five drives where they were inside field goal range. Each had one of those drives ended with a turnover. Each scored on the other four. Cowboys went 1 and 3 on TD/FG and the Patriots went 2 and 2, and that was the difference.

    Again, that’s not a major revelation, and something that’s pretty apparent just from the final score. How they got there, though, is mildly interesting.

    Edit -- One other interesting thought. I think Brady had a hand in all 80 yards in the final drive, between the 8 completions and the rush.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  2. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It's remarkable how similar the final stats were for the two teams yesterday. Normally when a team turns the ball over four times and is minus two in turnover differential, but all else is almost equal, it usually results in a loss.

    Good teams find a way to win even when they don't have a dominating game.
     
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