The Patriots have now played six playoff games since 2007 against teams they had faced in the regular season, and the results haven't been pretty. We'll start all the way back in 2007, the Welker era, with teams the Pats played in the regular season and then the playoffs. I'll also include Brady's average YPA and YPC, along with sacks allowed. 2007 vs. San Diego Regular: 38 points; Brady: 9.0 ypa; 11.2 ypc; 2 sacks Playoffs: 21 points; Brady: 6.3 ypa; 9.5 ypc; 2 sacks vs. NYG (sorry to bring this on here) Regular: 38 points; Brady: 8.5 ypa; 11.1 ypc; 1 sack Playoffs: 14 points; Brady: 5.5 ypa; 9.2 ypc; 5 sacks ***One thing people don't realize is that the Pats downgrade in playing San Diego a second time was similar to their debacle against the Giants. Clearly the passing game was already struggling mightily even before the SB. 2009 vs. Baltimore *Welker out, along with some major injuries Regular: 27 points; Brady 8.1 ypa; 12.3 ypc; 3 sacks Playoffs: 14 points; Brady 3.7 ypa; 6.7 ypc; 3 sacks 2010 vs. NYJ (for regular season, average of both games) Regular: 34.5 points; Brady 8.7 ypa; 13.8 ypc; 2 sacks Playoffs: 21.0 points; Brady 6.6 ypa; 10.3 ypc; 5 sacks 2011 vs. Denver Regular: 41 points; Brady 9.4 ypa; 13.9 ypc; 2 sacks Playoffs: 45 points; Brady 10.7 ypa; 14.0 ypc; 0 sacks vs. NYG (this one, too) Regular: 20 points; Brady 7.0 ypa; 12.2 ypc, 2 sacks Playoffs: 17 points; Brady 6.7 ypa; 10.2 ypc; 2 sacks TOTALS (AVERAGE OF ALL SIX GAMES): REGULAR: 33.3 POINTS; BRADY 8.6 YPA, 12.4 YPC, 2 SACKS (PER GAME PLAYOFFS: 22 POINTS; BRADY 6.6 YPA, 9.9 YPC, 2.9 SACKS (PER GAME) Conservative Gameplans One thing that I've always lamented about the Patriots is their conservative gameplans when the playoffs begin, and I fear that could be their downfall again this year. The Patriots rarely try to run vertical plays and go underneath more than usual; it is even rare for them to try passes down the seam or sideline outs to WRs. The exception was last year against Denver, and some of it is colder weather. Every playoff game, it seems like the offense goes into its shell, dinking and dunking, underutilizing their superstars while preferring low-risk, low-reward passes. Pass:Run Ratio I did not include the stats on this, as I didn't have time tonight, but many have noted that the Pats abandon the run too often, or that the running game is ineffective. That was quite apparent in the playoffs against the Jets in 2010 when the Jets activate nearly every defensive back on their roster, daring the Pats to run the ball. Obviously, a one-headed attack in the NFL can be snuffed out, even if it is Tom Brady. Pass Protection- Myth? It has been said that the offensive line chokes in big games and struggles to protect Brady, and allowing 3 sacks versus 2 sacks is a big difference but not the type of glaring difference you'd expect when analyzing this. Bottom line is, Brady was sacked quite a bit by some of these defenses during the regular season as well and still managed to average over 30 ppg. I find it more difficult to believe the offensive line is to blame more than the gameplans. Yards After Catch? Another theory that may describe the huge discrepancy is the passing game's reliance on players gaining big yardage after the catch. This could explain why the Patriots' offense tanks in the postseason more than other teams, as opposing defenses play more aggressively and at full speed... of course, it still may be a stretch that these same defenses are not playing to their full ability during the regular season. Preparation Final theory before posting this: perhaps opponents study the Patriots with the same intensity that the Patriots study them when the postseason begins. This may explain why studious QBs such as Brady and Manning seem to cruise the regular season before hitting some major speed bumps in the playoffs. Perhaps during the regular season, they exploit weaknesses on gamefilm; during the playoffs, they become the exploited ones.