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Number of possessions, and why the Pats lost the SB, again

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by BradyManny, Feb 8, 2012.

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  1. BradyManny

    BradyManny Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    After we lost to the Steelers, I made this post:

    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england...er-possession-why-bend-dont-break-broken.html

    I'll spare the rehash on the importance of points per possession. Let's just jump right into SB46 and what it means. The Patriots offense had a total of 9 possessions this past Sunday night. The first was the one play safety, the last was a drive destined for hail mary futility as soon as Brady & Branch didn't connect.

    So if we take those two drives out of the equation, we see they really only had 7 possessions of consequence. I believe the NFL average is between 11 to 12.

    So, consider. On the Patriots 7 actual drives, they scored 17 points, tallied 320 yards, and had one turnover. This equates to:

    Points per possesion: 2.43 (would rank 4th in the league, season average was 2.79)
    Yards per possession: 46 (would rank 1st in the league; season average was 39.5)
    Turnovers per possesion: .14 (would rank 20th in the league, season average was .9)


    Now, on the other side of the ball, here is how the Patriots defense performed. The Giants had 9 possessions, 1 was a kneeldown, so we'll call it 8.

    Points per possesion: 2.63 (would rank 32nd in the league, season average was 1.9)
    Yards per possession: 49.5 (would rank 32nd in the league, season average was 37.5, which was last in the league as well)
    Turnovers per possesion: 0 (obviously, would rank 32nd in the league, season average was .18, which was good for 3rd in the league)


    Conclusions:
    1) The Patriots offense performed with roughly the same efficency it had all year. With a notable exception. Looking at a high level and ignoring point 2 which I will make, the safety to start the game, and Brady's INT arguably cost this team the game. I hate to say it b/c I think his play was largely brilliant in between, but the possession he cost the team with the grounding (and I still think the call is iffy) ended up being the difference.

    2) The Patriots defense performed far worse than to the naked eye. Per possession, it's efficiency would be worst in the league in points (narrowly over the Bucs) and by yards (blowing away their own last place regular season average) The long slow drives and inability to get off the field led to fewer possessions for its offense and poor starting field position, both which were HUGE factors in the outcome of the game.

    3) In the other thread, I mentioned the importance of increasing the number of possessions in the game because it increases the sample size, and the likelihood that numbers return to norm. In this case, the big one was that the Patriots defense caused zero turnovers. If the Giants had had say 11 possessions, the Pats likely would've caused a turnover in the game. If they had, they would have won. The Patriots defense is bend don't break - and relies heavily on turnovers. But with a small sample size - with a small amount of possessions - they may not force that critical turnover. It's clear to see in this game - they caused three fumbles, but luck was not on their side in any case.

    What it means going forward:
    Lack of possessions has cost this team two Super Bowls now. Shortening the game does not do this team justice anymore. It might've against the Rams in 2001, but not in its current construction. Belichick needs to go out and find some defenders that can get this team off the field on 3rd down. Plain and simple. Until then, we will not win a title.



    On a side/personal note, this will be my last post for a while as I take my now annual "get away from football" holiday. Hopefully this year, I last longer and stay away longer. Each year I'm reminded I take the Pats too seriously, and get way too caught up in the outcome of their season. I can't take another offseason of replaying in my mind certain plays from the SB that could've gone a different way. A lot of fans on this forum are able to see that these are just games, and have proper perspective - and remain diehard fans without being obsessed. For some reason I am not great at that, and I definitely need to stay away from any sports media indefinitely, and unfortunately that includes patsfans.com. If anyone sees me on here in the next couple months, please tell me to leave...
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  2. ThatllMoveTheChains!!!

    ThatllMoveTheChains!!! Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    #24 Jersey

    Why wouldn't you include the first drive? And why the hell are you including points surrendered by the offense against the defense?

    You're comparing stats which you are excluding information you don't want to and then comparing them to stats that are all inclusive. This isn't reasonable analysis.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012
  3. SeymourTrophies

    SeymourTrophies Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    #93 Jersey

    Yeah, even when we weren't giving up points, the giants were punting from around midfield. We were fighting an uphill battle with field position all game long, and our two TD drives were 80+ yards.

    Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but if one of those strips bounces to a patriot instead of directly to a giant, those numbers flip significantly. That's why getting to the super bowl is so hard, there are a lot of almosts that can turn on you in a second.
     
  4. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact Pro Bowl Player

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    I'll make it alot simpler.......

    how many point per game did the pats give up during the season? 21
    how many points did hte pats give up to the ravens? 20
    how many points did th epats give up to the giants? 21

    how many points did the pats score per game during the regular season? 32
    how many points did the pats score against the ravens? 23
    how many points did the pats score against the giants? 17

    what this tells me is that this team is designed to win big against weaker teams. in stead of being designed to grind teams down to a nub whilst scoring fewer points, this team just racks 'em up. leaving them ill-prepared when another bully enters the stadium


    I won't complain, I had alot of fun watching the pats put up 49 unanswered points against the bills, or 34 against the chiefs, or 27 against the broncos, or watching brady put up 500 plus yards against the dolphins.......all extremely entertaining, but all completely useless when it comes to playoff football
     
  5. upstater1

    upstater1 Pro Bowl Player

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    Patriots had the same defense and offense all year. And they scored a lot of points and gave up only the league average. If the safety doesn't happen, this is a different story.
     
  6. Mike in 333

    Mike in 333 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Bend don't break is a scheme that you use when you lack the talent to make plays between the 20's, it is what has killed us repeatedly in the postseason and until our safety and cornerback corps are able to force an opponent off the field on 3rd down (or even 4th) and can force turnovers we'll still continue to struggle mightily. We win by having our offense on the field for more than 23 minutes. We could once rely on forcing a couple of opportunistic turnovers, forcing a team to punt from outside the 50, starting drives with good field position as the OP said but this defense just doesn't get that done.
    It's difficult for an offense to get in a rhythm with long stretches on the bench and that is what this defense allows.
    On the other hand, this offense struggles on possessions late in the game; how many times are we looking at 3rd and long when converting would give us the possession that would likely cement the game? I don't know if it's some kind of "prevent offense" but we really can be our own worst enemy in late game possessions. Whether it's play calling or execution, something isn't working.
    It's OK though, we have 18 games to work on it until next Superbowl.
     
  7. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact Pro Bowl Player

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    the pats did not take enough advantage of the fact that refs don't make certain calls during the SB.......a lesson they forgot in their win over the rams.

    during the regular season, the chung hit on nicks would have been flagged,, and some of the morre PD's would have been flagged for PI. and a couple of hits on brady would have been RTP. the pats never got a late hit on manning.....not one personal foul the entire game.

    they didn't play rough enough
     
  8. ThatllMoveTheChains!!!

    ThatllMoveTheChains!!! Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    #24 Jersey

    The thing was it was working on that drive. Brady was 4 for 5 for 34 yds and they had run it 4 times for 14 yds. This was a textbook drive on how to close out the game until they decided to go for it all on 2nd and 11. They were picking up yards at will there was no reason to risk the entire drive on that throw and they should've never been in 3rd and 11. If you want to take that shot it should be reserved for once you're already in FG range.
     
  9. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #54 Jersey

    Sorry to be a double poster but I don't have the courage to re type this.

    I agree, the time of possession were critical.

    -----------

    The stats are fun but the Safety and INT were huge. Basically as soon as the Safety was called the Patriots were doomed to lose the time of possession battle, giving the Giants extra possessions and putting more pressure on the defense.

    The INT was not as good as a punt, it was thrown on first down. Instead of moving into possible field goal range or worst case taking another 2-3 minutes of the clock the Giants were given another possession. With two high quality offenses possessions are critical.

    Interesting (or not) the Giants and Patriots were essentially operating at the same efficiency just that the Giants had more chances:
    Measure 1) Yards per play
    Giants - 396/71 = 5.6 yards per play
    Patriots - 349 / 62 = 5.6 yards per play

    Measure 2) 3rd down efficiency
    Giants - 6/11 - 45%
    Patriots - 6/12 - 50%

    In the end the Patriots did it to themselves, I thought they were out played but despite it all still had a chance to win but couldn't close the deal.

    Oh well, there have been worse loses.

    C'est la vie, enjoy the nice weather everyone.
     
  10. sambam94

    sambam94 Practice Squad Player

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    yup..your numbers back up what I've been saying. The defense gave up too many long drives(every Giant possession) which put our strength, the offense, on the sidelines for most of the game.
     
  11. fair catch fryar

    fair catch fryar In the Starting Line-Up

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    I was saying this all game. I don't give a sh!t if the defense only held the Giants to 21 points because the advantage in time of possession was just as effective as scoring because it didn't allow Brady on the field. The PPG stat is meaningless if the time of possession is lopsided against you.
     
  12. RhodyPatriot

    RhodyPatriot In the Starting Line-Up

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    Outstanding!!!! Hit the nail on the head.
    Can't help but laugh at all the commentary suggesting the top priority for the Patriots this off-season is obtaining a WR who can stretch the field. :rolleyes:
    Yes the Patriots need a WR with speed and I'm very confident they'll obtain one. (Did I hear the Saints Marcus Colston is a FA?? Love that guy's length and game) But the Patriots also need to re-assess their offensive gameplanning and priorities.
    This QB is heading for 35 years old, has not had a top notch playoff season in years and has gone into the last 2 SB's with injuries.
    Time to change the priorities Mr. Belichick.
    Time to swap out one B(rady) for another B(alance)
     
  13. Jackson 2

    Jackson 2 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    There you go again: "Mr." Belichick - we now know he's been added to your sh!t-list along with the charter member, "Mr." Brady from your post a few minutes ago.
     
  14. RhodyPatriot

    RhodyPatriot In the Starting Line-Up

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    The TOP was completely skewed because of Brady's blunder in the 1st qtr.
    Giants had the ball for over 11 minutes in that qtr. Take away that 1st qtr and TOP was fairly even the rest of the game. Brady did his defense NO favors. His safety was on the 1st play of the 1st Patriot possession of the game after the D had stopped the Giants and his pick was on the 1st play of a Patriot possession during in the 2nd half. Twice this D had to turn right around and come right back on the field because this QB was not playing under control and with intelligence. Brady and Brady alone did this defense ZERO favors in this game despite the fact that they were keeping the game close all night long.
     
  15. the Patriot

    the Patriot On the Game Day Roster

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    Giants offense also had the ball for 14 more minutes than Brady and the Patriots offense. That's almost an ENTIRE QUARTER of ball possession and opportunities to score.

    I love Belichick as a head coach, but we need a GM to build up the defense again. The offense will take care of itself.
     
  16. Triumph

    Triumph Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #32 Jersey

    The pass defense is killing this club. It just is.

    Brady has to play perfect for the Pats to win.
     
  17. fair catch fryar

    fair catch fryar In the Starting Line-Up

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    I agree with you for the most part, but this has been the crux with the defense all year. I'm not blaming the defense, I'm just sick and tired of the "bend, but don't break" philosophy. For once, I want BB, the "defensive genius" to put together a ferocious D that can consistently get off the field in 3 downs, that's all.
     
  18. dhamz

    dhamz In the Starting Line-Up

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    I'm not sure why you think this. The Giants held a 14 minute edge for the game in time of possession. You take out the first quarter, they still held a 7 minute edge for the final 3 quarters. In the NFL, a dominant time of possession advantage for a full 4 quarters is 4-5 minutes. A 32-28 edge in time of possession would put you near the very top of the league year in, year out.

    A 7 minute edge for the final 3 quarters isn't fairly even. It is dominant in the Giants favor. It is even more dominant when you consider if Bradshaw does as he is coached and falls down on the 1 yard line, the TOP edge over those last 3 quarters would have been 9 minutes.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  19. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The Pats' defense only gave up 19 points to the Giants (2 points came off a safety). And if the Pats didn't have to let the Giants score quickly to have a shot at getting the ball back with time left on the clock, the defense would have most likely given up only 15 points. So your theory is out the window.

    If a defense only gives up 15-19 points, it did its job for the most part. Yes, it fell apart on the final drive, but they kept a elite offense in check for most of the game only allowing 12 points until the final minute of the game.

    Welker holds onto the pass on the second to the last drive and the spin would probably be that the Pats can win games in multiple ways. Or if the Pats didn't have 12 men on the field when they turned the ball over in their red zone. Or either other stripped ball bounced the other way. They just don't need to outscore their opponents. They can get into a brawl and come out on top. Since this was a game where either team could have won or loss based on any number of one or two plays turning out different, you can't argue that losing the Super Bowl was proof that they can't win other than beating on bad teams. They went to the wire with two of the best teams in the league and won one and lost the other both in the final minute. That means they could compete with anyone.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  20. skinnydog

    skinnydog On the Game Day Roster

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    Getting killed in TOP and field position means your defense will be tired at the end of the game. For some teams like the Giants in the last two Superbowls time of possession TOP means the other team is not out there scoring points. They believe keeping a high scoring offense on the sidelines and not scoring points is almost as important as putting points on the board themselves. It means the high scoring offense used to putting a lot of points on the board will begin to get frustrated and will begin to press and make mistakes ala Brady's int on the pass to Gronk. Time of possession can be a way to manage the scoreboard and keep your defense somewhat fresh for the end of the game. Besides TOP directly contributed to the Pats only having the ball 9 times!
     
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