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Points per possession and why bend don't break is broken

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by BradyManny, Oct 31, 2011.

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  1. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    While I hate to dig up old wounds - yesterday's game, above all of our losses in recent years, reminded me of our loss to the Giants more than any other.

    Advanced NFL Stats: Super Bowl XLII and Team Possessions

    An offense line that struggled. An offense that didn't capitalize when it had changes. An offense that went 3 and out to start the second half.

    But most importantly - a defense that allowed long drives.

    The above link is an interesting analysis of SB 42 - and the long and short of it is this:


    Consider - if a given team scores more points per possessions than you, on average, then the best way to defeat them is to force a statistical anomaly.

    To best way to force this anomaly is to reduce the sample size. The larger the sample size gets - the closer to norms everything will be.

    Reducing the sample size means long, plodding drives.

    And the problem is - the Patriots team, as constructed, is no longer better suited to shortening the game and reducing the sample size. Their offense, over time, will outscore its opponents. The longer the game feels, the better the Patriots chances of winning.

    Not only does this make statistical sense, it rings true in the tangible sense in the football world - fatigue has always punishes defenses more than an offense, and an offense can capitalize on that. The more an offense has the ball, the better it will be - perhaps even further enhancing the premise given by the link above: the longer the game goes the better chance the better team wins, and even more specifically in my eyes, the better chance the better offense team wins.

    Some things to consider about yesterday's offensive performance that oughta put it in perspective. No, it was not a great performance by any stretch, but as I said in another thread we have to consider a few things:

    Gost's field goal missed by inches. If it goes in, the Pats score 20 points yesterday. With that HYPOTHETICAL premise in mind, consider:
    1) 20 points in 8 possessions (ignoring the hail mary fumble) = 2.5 points per possession
    2) 2 three and outs in 8 possessions = 25% of the time

    Consider week 1 of this season versus Miami, when Brady had one of his best games of his career and the offense executed at a much higher level.
    1) 38 points in 12 possessions = 3.1 points per possession
    2) 4 three and outs in 12 possessions*(one of those was actually a 3 play drive ending in an INT) = 25% of the time

    Consider our victory over the Jets:
    1) 30 points in 11 possessions = 2.7 points per possession

    BOTTOM LINE: The difference between the offensive performance in a game like our blowout of Miami in week 1, or the big victory over the Jets, and our brutal defeat in Pittsburgh yesterday PER POSSESSION was not nearly as great as one might think. The amount of times an offense touches the ball has an obvious - yet hugely underrated - affect on the game.

    If the defense could get off the field better - that would become more apparent.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  2. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Really, zero replies.

    Wait, I know what works...Ochocinco sucks. Bring back Moss. Fire Belichick, Bill O'Brien, Tom Brady, Pepper, Patricia, everyone. Bring back Bledsoe. Trade for Asante. Well, since the trade deadline is passed, have Kraft get Goodell to extend the trade deadline, then trade for Asante. Etc. Discuss. :bricks:
  3. FCB02062

    FCB02062 Rookie

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    Yes, and this is how, in large part, the Patriots were able to beat Indianapolis in 03 and 04 and St. Louis in SB 36....control the clock, don't let the explosive offense get a ton of possessions. If teams are going to use successfully, and I freaking can't stand this word, the Pittsburgh "blueprint", then the Patriots better score on every possession.....
  4. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    It's true - Belichick has used this to defuse high-powered offenses his entire career.

    But he must realize at this point that his team is the high-powered offense now, and that their defense is not capable of winning a shortened game...does the team simply not have the personnel defensively? I would say so. Unfortunately.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  5. LasVegasPatsFan

    LasVegasPatsFan Rookie

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    When Brady is sharp, we win. If Brady plays poor, we loose. That simple! Our defense is only the field on because it is mandatory.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  6. TBradyOwnsYou

    TBradyOwnsYou Rookie

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    I agree. While our offense was subpar, Brady had roughly 200 yard, 2TD, 0INT in 20 minutes. So if his defense can keep him on the field 50% of the time, he's throwing 300yards, 3TDs. While not an MVP type performance, I think every team in the league would be happy if their QB could get them that type of performance. The problem is when it comes with 12 rushes for whatever pathetic amount we rushed for. That makes it so we can't sustain drives to help out our defense, which leads to our defense getting tired and not helping out our offense, which just snowballs.
    I would venture a guess and say that the percentage of teams that win games being down in ToP 2-1 is less than 10%.
  7. vuudu

    vuudu Rookie

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    Ouch!!!. This hurts.
  8. TBradyOwnsYou

    TBradyOwnsYou Rookie

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    I just had to quote this, since this is what you posted *AFTER* you edited your post... I know it's a depressing morning bud, but hitting the sauce this early isn't the answer!
  9. hlywoodjp

    hlywoodjp Rookie

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    Good post. Nice to see something other than the constant bickering in other threads. I think BBDB has been a consistent winning strategy on defense for a long time. The early 2000's teams played in a similar fashion but had a knack for making big plays in big spots. They made these plays because they were talented players.

    For me it is mostly a talent issue not a scheme issue. BB is still successful in reducing the number of big plays for the opposition and he still forces teams to execute flawlessly for 10-12 plays in order to score touchdowns. Even now, they are not allowing that many points. We are just not getting great plays by individual players in key spots. Things start to get even more concerning when you factor in that we seem to be tackling poorly(good tackling is a requirement of BBDB) and that offenses league wide seem to be executing at a higher level in the passing game.

    All of this together results in a less effective BBDB. BBDB certainly isn't designed to have the other team never punt the ball. It assumes that the other team will eventually make a mistake or someone from your team will at some point make a play. I haven't done the research, but I just cannot recall seeing teams drive up and down the field methodically all game long like I saw yesterday. It's hard to watch.
  10. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Very fair points - I would agree that it's not as if the defense is designed to give up drives like that, it does come down to execution, even if the style of the defense (BBDB) might be more prone to allowing said lone drives.
  11. BradyFTW!

    BradyFTW! PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    Great post, and I agree with just about all of it. One thing that I will point out, especially since it supports the overall point, is that 4 three and outs in 12 possessions is actually 33% for the Miami game.
    .
  12. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    My bad - forgot to adjust when I decided to count the 4th (which was a 3 play INT drive).

    I wish there were points per possession stats out there - but I don't know of any sites that do that. FootballOutsiders factors it into its efficiency stats, and if I had to guess, the Patriots offensive DVOA on Sunday was not too far off the norm.
  13. BaltimorePatsFan

    BaltimorePatsFan Rookie

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    This is a "bend until it breaks and then just hope our offense bails us out" defense.
  14. stcjones

    stcjones Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    This is a good post and great analysis.

  15. billdog3484

    billdog3484 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    not to toot my own horn but ive been saying this for months
  16. hovis

    hovis Rookie

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    Ha! I've been saying it for years, and more concisely.

    Brady has had no margin for error since 2009.

    Two more third and long stops and the Pats would've won.
  17. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Well thats an epic fail considering that since 2009 the Patriots have the best record in the NFL and the 2nd best point differential.
  18. hovis

    hovis Rookie

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    Epic fail? Is it even controversial to say the Patriots win with offense at this point? Of course they have a good point differential: they score a ton.

    There are lies, damned lies, and your statistics.

    Look at their defensive numbers and tell me they can win a game with a less than 2 points per drive average. I can't find stats for their average offensive possessions per game, but the Patriots are 23rd in points per drive this year. They haven't been good on third down and in the red area the past three years. Bottom line, if your D can't get off the field, then your offense better score when it's on it.

    Nothing about what I said was either "epic" or "fail."

    Better luck next time.
  19. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    I'm happy to carry over a debate from another thread where I just said you were really sugarcoating things.

    We can't rest on regular season laurels. We killed Colts fans for doing it for years.
  20. jays52

    jays52 Rookie

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    #91 Jersey

    Great post, very detailed and a refreshing change from the reactionary stuff that's been around here lately.

    It's further proof that even as Goodell and Polian have functionally killed the soul of football defense still beats offense. One of the main reasons I first loved Belichick was his defensive excellence and ability to make chicken salad from chicken byproduct. I also think that defensive football is where the soul and spirit of the game resides. It really saddens me to see such a passive, soft, two high safety defense time and time again. It's not leveraging the strength of the personnel, it's not complimentary football, and it's sad to witness.
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