What's the Deal with the Patriots' Playoff Offense

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by ivanvamp, Feb 17, 2013.


What's the deal with the Patriots' playoff offense

  1. There is nothing wrong. It's just a small sample of bad luck.

    3 vote(s)
  2. The offense needs some small tweaks but overall is fine.

    32 vote(s)
  3. The offense really has major problems in the playoffs and serious changes need to be made.

    11 vote(s)
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  1. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

    Here are the points scored for the Patriots in all their playoff games during the "dynasty era" (2001-2012) - Note: I'm including all points scored, not just those by the offense, though it is important to realize that in some of these years, the offense has been greatly helped by defensive or special teams touchdowns (for example, the AFCCG vs. Pittsburgh in 2001, where the Pats' scored 14 special teams points out of their 24 total).

    2001: reg season: 23.2 - playoffs: 16, 24, 20 (avg: 20.0) - net: -3.2
    2003: reg season: 21.8 - playoffs: 17, 24, 32 (avg: 24.3) - net: +2.6
    2004: reg season: 27.3 - playoffs: 20, 41, 24 (avg: 28.3) - net: +1.0
    2005: reg season: 23.7 - playoffs: 28, 13 (avg: 20.5) - net: -3.2
    2006: reg season: 24.1 - playoffs: 37, 24, 34 (avg: 31.7) - net: +7.6
    2007: reg season: 36.8 - playoffs: 31, 21, 14 (avg: 22.0) - net: -14.8
    2009: reg season: 26.7 - playoffs: 14 (avg: 14.0) - net: -12.7
    2010: reg season: 32.4 - playoffs: 21 (avg: 21.0) - net: -11.4
    2011: reg season: 32.1 - playoffs: 45, 23, 17 (avg: 28.3) - net: -3.7
    2012: reg season: 34.8 - playoffs: 41, 13 (avg: 27.0) - net: -7.8

    So from 2001-2006, the team on the whole (except for 2001) scored more points per game in the playoffs than they did during the regular season. But since 2007, it's been just the opposite, and in a huge, huge way. Combining all the data from 2007-2012, here's what we see:

    Regular season scoring average: 32.6
    Post season scoring average: 24.0
    Net +/-: -8.6

    These are the facts. No cherry-picking. It's the data. The question is this: what's the deal with the playoff offense? So there are three poll options:

    (1) There is nothing wrong. It's just a small sample of bad luck.
    (2) The offense isn't ideally suited for the playoffs and needs to be tweaked, but on the whole it's a good set up.
    (3) The offense really has major problems and is ill-conceived for the playoffs. Serious changes need to be made.

    Where do folks here at patsfans stand on this?
  2. manxman2601

    manxman2601 Pro Bowl Player

    #24 Jersey

    As you alluded too but didn't include in your poll:

    d) Special teams and defense got much worse in the latter part of the era and Belichick became much more focused on offense as Brady matured from game manager into GOAT.
  3. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

    Help me understand what you're saying.

    From 2001-2006, the Pats' playoff offense averaged 25.3 ppg, and was a +1.3 compared to their regular season scoring average of 24.0.

    From 2007-2012, the Pats' playoff offense averaged 24.0 ppg, and was a -8.6 compared to their regular season scoring average of 32.6.

    So your point (d), that the ST and D got worse as BB became more focused on the offense, and Brady matured into the GOAT is the reason the Pats' playoff offense has gotten *worse* (not only in raw scoring compared to '01-06 but also compared to their regular season averages) during that time period?
  4. manxman2601

    manxman2601 Pro Bowl Player

    #24 Jersey

    Ok. Firstly, I've been awake for 24 hours so I'm probably not going to make much sense.

    1. As you said, the figures you provided weren't offense specific so with better defenses and special teams pre 2006, the higher playoff figure could be simply the greater contribution of special teams and defense.

    2. It's harder to score points in the playoff, you're playing better teams. So whilst a GOAT QB and a HC focused more and more on offense will ramp up the score against lesser teams, they will still be limited by better defenses. That would explain the improved regular season numbers and hence the greater drop off.

    3. I haven't looked at any numbers so I'm purely guessing. Anecdotally, my recollection is that defense/special teams contributed significantly more in the earlier part of the era but I may be completely wrong on that.
  5. chevss454

    chevss454 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Each year is different but for this year a couple of tweaks

    1. A healthy Gronk
    2. An upgrade to Lloyd outside to prevent Ds from loading the middle.

    It may be helpful to compare only points scored by the offense for those years.
  6. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    #12 Jersey

    First, why are you taking these arbitrary dates? Just because the Pats scored more in the regular season than the playoffs in 2007?

    Second, one of the biggest reasons why a team would score less in the playoffs in 2007 on is fairly obvious - the rules. Around 2005-2006, the rules emphasis was towards the offense causing a regular season offensive explosion around the league , but refs still call games tighter in the playoffs.

    Third, you can look at individual games and see why some of them would be why the Pats didn't score points. In 2009, the Pats gave up a big huge rushing TD and got down early and got one dimensional after digging a big hole. In 2010, the offense was off because of Welker and the Jets came in to the game with a zone offense when they were primarily man to man which the Pats were slow to adjust to. Gronk was a huge loss in the red zone against the Ravens this year.

    Fourth, in three of the four years from 2007-2012 that the Pats made the playoffs, they were scoring over 30 PPG which they didn't do once in years prior. It is obvious that if you are scoring 36.8 PPG in the regular season you are more likely to have a drop than if you are scoring 21.8 PPG. A team that scores 30 PPG or more is offensive driven. A team that scores 21.8 PPG is not, at least if they are good enough to make the playoffs. Teams driven by offense tend to have less points in the post season. You see that with teams like Green Bay, N'Orleans, etc.

    Fifth, I still think people focus too much on offense with the post season which I don't get. In many of these years, the defense is just as more culpable than the offense. It is no coincidence that the Pats won three Super Bowls with a dominant defense and a decent offense (except for 2004 where they had both). The league is different and you need offense more, but it wasn't the offense that let Ray Rice run all over them in 2009 or Joe Flacco pass all over them in the second half of the AFCCG this year or fail to stop Eli Manning on two game winning drives in two Super Bowls when the Pats had the lead with under 2 minutes in the game.
  7. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    Sorry, Ivan, but the fact that you dignify TonyTo3690's dumb thread with a dumb poll doesn't speak highly of you.

    The fact is that the stats you posted aren't even close to all the data that is needed. You totally ignore the defenses that were faced. You ignore any injuries that the Pats might have had that would have reduced the effectiveness of the offense as a whole. You ignore the differences in the coaching staffs and the base formations that the Pats were running. All of that information has a huge bearing on how the offenses do.
  8. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

    First, I have no idea what you're talking about with respect to TonyTo3690. This thread has nothing to do with him. Any appearances to the contrary are purely coincidental.

    Second, given all that you've said, how did you vote in the poll?
  9. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

    I picked 2007 because that's when the era of unbelievable Patriots offense began.

    No they don't. Ask San Francisco. The games seem to me (I haven't actually looked at the data) to be called more loosely in the playoffs. No holding on the Tyree play? No holding on the key play in is year's Super Bowl?

    So how did you vote, if you don't ind me asking?
  10. RayClay

    RayClay Hall of Fame Poster

    #75 Jersey

    I didn't vote, the choices were bad.

    Even before they moved up to draft Graham, they have been trying to build a two tight end offense. They traded a 3rd and 7th, just to move from 32nd to 21st for Graham. They spent a first on Watson too. They have successfully employed a two tight end offense recently in the regular season with two complimentary players.

    Have they had a top, two tight end offense the last two postseasons? They signed them both long term early so I'm pretty sure they intentionally built an offense around two talented tight ends.
  11. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    #12 Jersey

    I miswrote. I meant the refs called the games looser in the playoffs. That is why the rules that help the offense in the regular season mean less in the playoffs.

    As for my vote, I think they can improve everywhere. But I think this offense is fine to win the Super Bowl with a healthy Gronk and improvements on the defense.
  12. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

    No Jersey Selected

    I think it's a combination of two of the choices. Bad luck (Gronk and other injuries), and some minor tweaks needing to be made (improvements at WR3, less dependence on two TE sets, upgrades at interior OL). Still, without the injury to Gronk, this team is hoisting the Lombardi after the 2011 season as Eli mopes off the field. So that I would put at número uno. Tweaks would come in at a very close second.
  13. Triumph

    Triumph Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #75 Jersey

    Brady needs more play makers.

    The lunch pail crew keeps striking out in the big games. There was nobody to come up big once Gronk was out. This offense is so reliant on Gronk that it is toothless without him. 17 TDs in 2011 and 10 TDs (on pace for 16 TDs) in 2012 before the 1st injury. He is 50% of the passing offense.

    Lets put it this way? The Pats arent the # 1 scoring playoff offense.
  14. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    Absolutely. The defense was the side of the ball carrying us in the dynasty years, no dount about that. Even after that during the wasted opportunity of the 2006 loss in the AFCCG to IND, the defense gave up a measly 14.8 points per game that year too.

    I like what I'm seeing as far as what has basically amounted to a total overhaul on that side of the ball aside from Wilfork, although it should be noted that they chose him to be the undisputed leader of the defense when they re-upped him after getting rid of Seymour, so in essence even Wilfork came into play with the total overhaul of the D.

    If the defense is able to win lower scoring battles in the postseason we can certainly have another shot at the SB. That would take a lot of pressure off of the offensive side of the ball and we wouldn't have to keep having this debate (not that I necessarily mind). In the meantime, I think they are committed to making this happen, judging by the progress in the last few yrs and their draft selections. Obviously DL is a huge need and should be addressed with the first 2-3 picks without a doubt.
  15. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

    Disable Jersey


    In this year's AFCCG, if Pitta goes down the week before, and Gronk is available, the Patriots probably blow the Ravens out.

    Last year, if Gronk was healthy and Nicks was out, the Patriots probably win that game.

    In 2009, if Welker was healthy and Rice had been the one lost the week before, that's a whole different ballgame.

    In 2007, if Brady was healthy and Manning was hobbled, the Patriots probably win by 30.

    Injuries matter, a lot, when they are to key players, and there's only so much money to spend on those "playmakers" you're calling for. The fact is that, since 2007, the Patriots have lost 5 playoff games, and they've had top 3 "playmakers" injured for 4 of the 5 games.

    The only 2007+ playoff loss that doesn't have a significant tie to Patriots "playmakers" injury is 2010.
  16. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    I would think that this wraps it up very nicely, and I agree entirely.

    The good thing about the whole matter is that Belichick seems devoted to making any and all necessary changes to adapt and fix things as quickly as possible. Just this past year we saw the extension of 2 mega-deals with the young TE's for the future, a pilfering of the NYG injured TE in Ballard, who we control for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, and a rushing attack that had the 2nd most attempts in the league (even if they average an extra 10 plays a game than everyone else due to their quicker pace).

    He also went hard at improving the WR2 spot, first by offering more money at R.Wayne than his own team did, and when that was unsuccessful he went and brought in Llyod. There were also many other options that did not work out unfortunately, but at least they are addressing and attempting to fix and tweak things to make them better. I see no reason not to expect more of the same this offseason and into the future. I think they are close.
  17. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    All of these statement show that the team is just fine, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. We haven't gotten any breaks lately, but we also enjoyed some of that aspect in the beginning of the dynasty too, so a 3-2 record (although it really should be 4-1) is probably spot on and very fitting aside from the fact that they should've won one of the NYG SB's.

    Nothing really needs to be done besides the usual off-season tweaking that occurs every year via the draft and some mid/lower level FA moves.

    People keep thinking that we need some "big change" but that is far from the truth in my opinion.
  18. DocHoliday

    DocHoliday In the Starting Line-Up

    There is an element of defense in all this that always gets ignored - yards given up, which correlates decently with long drives given up and poor TOP.

    That's why defenses are rated by yards and I scoff when anyone tries to brag the patriots D is point stingy. Of your d is giving up long drives guess who gets fewer chances at scoring?
  19. Triumph

    Triumph Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #75 Jersey

    If Chad Jackson hadnt turned out to be a bust he probably would still be in NE and on your fantasy team.

    If Larry Maroney didnt dance he would probably have a Super Bowl ring and the Pats wouldnt have had to spend more picks on RBs.

    If Ocho Stinko spent less time at Starbucks and on Twitter learning his Pats playbook. He would have known where to line up and he probably would have a Super Bowl ring. He probably wouldnt be divorced too.

    If, probably, might, maybe dont cut it, but you make my point beautifully about why the Pats can expect injuries and the need to have other legitimate options besides Gronk or the next Welker when they occur.

    If youre going to live and die by offense then so be it.
  20. rabidfireweasel

    rabidfireweasel Practice Squad Player

    You are not listing true offensive numbers, you are listing points scored.
    According to my tracking (there could be errors, but none are intentional or meant to mislead)

    Score Offensive Points Forced Turnovers
    16-13 16 0
    24-17 17 (T.Brown return) 4
    20-13 13 (Ty Law Return) 3

    17-14 17 1
    24-14 22 (safety) 5
    32-29 32 1

    20-3 20 3
    41-27 34 (Harrison return) 4
    24-21 21 4

    28-3 21 (Samuel Return) 2
    13-27 13 1

    37-16 30 (Samuel return) 2
    24-21 21 4
    34-38 27 (Samuel return) 1
    21.8 per game off offense despite the fact that the defense caused 2.5 turnovers per game. Did not win a game by more than 3 points when they failed to cause 2 turnovers.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
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