The Offense or the Defense

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by ivanvamp, Jan 29, 2013.

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  1. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

    Starting with the 2007 season, the Pats have had 5 playoff losses:

    2007 - in the SB to NYG, 17-14
    2009 - in the WC round to Bal, 33-14
    2010 - in the Divisional round to NYJ, 28-21
    2011 - in the SB to NYG, 21-17
    2012 - in the AFCCG to Bal, 28-13

    It is a team sport, and we must recognize that every player and coach and unit shares the blame for a loss, just as they share the credit for a win. That being understood, which unit more underperformed in these losses, the offense or the defense?

    Offense (reg. season): 36.8 ppg, 411.3 ypg, 0.9 to
    Offense (playoff loss): 14 pts, 274 yds, 1 to
    Performance: -22.8 pts, -137.3 yds, -0.1 to

    Defense (reg. season): 17.1 ppg, 288.3 ypg, 1.9 to
    Defense (playoff loss): 17 pts, 338 yds, 1 to
    Performance: +0.1 pts, -49.7 yds, -0.9 to

    Offense (reg. season): 26.7 ppg, 397.3 ypg, 1.4 to
    Offense (playoff loss): 13 pts, 196 yds, 4 to
    Performance: -13.7 pts, -201.3 yds, -2.6 to

    Defense (reg. season): 17.8 ppg, 320.2 ypg, 1.8 to
    Defense (playoff loss): 33 pts, 268 yds, 2 to
    Performance: -15.2 pts, +52.2 yds, +0.2 to

    Offense (reg. season): 32.4 ppg, 363.8 ypg, 0.6 to
    Offense (playoff loss): 21 pts, 372 yds, 1 to
    Performance: -11.4 pts, +8.2 yds, -0.4 to

    Defense (reg. season): 19.6 ppg, 366.5 ypg, 2.4 to
    Defense (playoff loss): 28 pts, 314 yds, 0 to
    Performance: -8.4 pts, +52.5 yds, -2.4 to

    Offense (reg. season): 32.1 ppg, 428.0 ypg, 1.1 to
    Offense (playoff loss): 17 pts, 349 yds, 1 to
    Performance: -15.1 pts, -79.0 yds, +0.1 to

    Defense (reg. season): 21.4 ppg, 411.1 ypg. 2.1 to
    Defense (playoff loss): 21 pts, 396 yds, 0 to
    Performance: +0.4 pts, +15.1 yds, -2.1 to

    Offense (reg. season): 34.8 ppg, 427.9 ypg, 1.0 to
    Offense (playoff loss): 13 pts, 428 yds, 3 to
    Performance: -21.8 pts, +0.1 yds, -2.0 to

    Defense (reg. season): 20.7 ppg, 373.3 ypg, 2.6 to
    Defense (playoff loss): 28 pts, 356 yds, 0 to
    Performance: -7.3 pts, +17.3 yds, -2.6 to

    5-game averages
    Offense (reg. season): 32.6 ppg, 405.7 ypg, 1.0 to
    Offense (playoff loss): 15.0 ppg, 323.8 yds, 2.0 to
    Performance: -17.6 pts, -81.9 yds, -1.0 to

    Defense (reg. season): 19.3 ppg, 351.9 ypg, 2.2 to
    Defense (playoff loss): 25.4 ppg, 334.4 ypg, 0.6 to
    Performance: -6.1 pts, +17.5 yds, -1.6 to

    Here are some observations:

    (1) Both units underperform. That should come as no surprise. AndyJohnson or Deus (can't remember which guy it was) was correct in another thread when he said that it's not surprising that in their playoff losses their stats are worse.

    (2) The defense performed a LOT closer to its season norms than the offense did. I mean, look at that. Sure, the D gave up just over 6 points a game more during these playoff losses than it averaged during the regular season. But the offense has scored nearly *18* points less per game. That's an unbelievably huge dropoff. And in yards allowed, the D actually has performed better in these losses than it did during those regular seasons, but the offense...not so much. Underperforming by a tick under 82 yards a game.

    (3) Turnovers are, not surprisingly, a humongous factor. Not only is the offense turning the ball over in these losses a LOT more than during the regular season (at twice the rate, in fact), but the defense suddenly cannot get a turnover to save its life.

    Fumbles in these five playoff losses:
    NE fumbles (lost):
    - 2007 - 1 (1)
    - 2009 - 1 (1)
    - 2010 - 3 (0)
    - 2011 - 0 (0)
    - 2012 - 1 (1)

    Opp fumbles (lost):
    - 2007 - 2 (0)
    - 2009 - 1 (1)
    - 2010 - 1 (0)
    - 2011 - 2 (0)
    - 2012 - 1 (0)

    So the Patriots' offense fumbled the ball 6 times in these 5 losses, and lost 3 of them. Brady also threw 7 interceptions.

    But the Patriots' defense forced 7 fumbles in these 5 losses, but could only manage to recover 1 of them. They also only came up with 3 interceptions.

    So just on the fumble front, it isn't like the defense wasn't knocking the ball loose. They just couldn't get hold of them.

    I'd say that this was the single biggest difference in terms of the performance of the defense. Instead of getting the big turnover, they'd allow the other team to score. Instead of getting the ball back for the offense in good field position, they'd allow the other team to either score or punt, which routinely gave the offense worse field position to work with. So the failure to generate turnovers was the biggest failing of the defense.

    But the offense failed across the board. Twice the turnover rate. Far worse at gaining yards. And scored at an incredibly poor rate compared to the regular season.

    So while playoff losses are always a shared effort, I'd argue that the numbers tell us that the bigger failure is on the offense. We can point to one thing here or there as a reason why maybe this isn't the case, but the 5-game pattern is pretty clear.
  2. makoute

    makoute In the Starting Line-Up

    2007 - in the SB to NYG, 17-14
    This game should be banned from ever being mention in Patriots land, I really place the blame at the feet of McDaniels, he took too long to change course, kept trying to chuck the ball down field, when it was clear that the Giants D line was not going to let up. Although, in reality I would say this game was just not meant to be.

    2009 - in the WC round to Bal, 33-14
    That game was a group effort, they sucked all around.

    2010 - in the Divisional round to NYJ, 28-21
    This game I thought fell more at the feet of the offense, they just sucked, and refused to take what the defense was giving them (run the freaking ball). Banging their head against the wall, and the wall won.

    2011 - in the SB to NYG, 21-17
    The defense wasn't great, but they played above expectation, and no one should have expected greatness from them, not after what they did during the regular season. The offense vastly underperfomed, there is no way around it.
    2012 - in the AFCCG to Bal, 28-13
    This one was a group effort, coaching, defense, offense, they crapped in their pants.
  3. SeymourTrophies

    SeymourTrophies Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    #93 Jersey

    One thing that can't be quantified is momentum. All too often teams get crushed by the giant rolling boulder known as momentum. That boulder was Ridley's fumble. At that point, everyone knew the game was over. This team is built on the foundation of consistency and shuns the impact, momentum-swinging players because they're masters of one trade, not the jack of all.

    Regarding the 07 Super Bowl, this has been discussed ad nauseum, but there is nothing you can gameplan to do when everyone on the offensive line has the worst game of their career. Stephen Neal was the only one who you could argue didn't suck, and that's because he was injured in the 2nd quarter.

    Every loss is a group effort. My argument in all of these threads where the subject comes up is that the offense can pick the team up when the defense isn't doing well (they often do), but the defense can't do the same. It's not a philosophical thing, it's a personnel thing, and BB isn't choosing to not pick the best players.

    The pendulum swings back and forth. We had a run where things went our way more often than not. The bounces are going the other way these days. Look at last year's super bowl. Nink doesn't jump offside on 3rd and long or one of those two fumbles doesn't bounce into the wanting arms of a Giants player, we're singing a different song.
  4. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

    All true. All 5 SBs the Pats have been in in the BB/TB era were VERY close games. Margins: +3, +3, +3, -3, -4. Any of the five could have gone either way, no question about it.

    But the numbers do show that the underperformance is not equally distributed. The D has had its problems, but the O *really* has struggled in these 5 most recent playoff losses. As in, to a ridiculous degree that I don't think can be chalked up to just bad luck or anything like that. Something is going on.

    At least, I hope BB doesn't evaluate his team and just go, well, everything is perfectly fine, we just got unlucky. I hope he's examining every possible reason for why the offense underperforms so much more than we would ever expect in these situations.
  5. voluntarysaftey

    voluntarysaftey Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    I don't know if its a cause or effect, but the 01-07 teams had a confidence and swagger. The 09-12 teams don't.
    I think there's something to be said about very good to great players who have an ability to bring their teammate's level of play up -- and I think this team lacks those players.
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