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Analyzing the offense

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Ring 6

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Unfortunately the OP wrote a ton of useless text with very little actionable insight. You can tell when one doesn't know how to analyze when it's just regurgitation of multiple meaningless numbers.

Aside from the completely aribtrary decision to compare it to 2017, here's one easy tip off that it's all gibberish: "2017 offense had 495 first down plays and only 201 3rd downs while the 2021 offense had 479 first down plays and 209 3rd downs". So... the 2021 team had 8 more 3rd down plays (in a 17-game season. Um, ok).

The 2021 Pats beat up on some bad teams in a big way. This skews everything. First thing would be to take out the beat downs of these horrendously bad teams, and also all the points the Patriots defense generated directly or indirectly.

This team just went 1-3 going into the playoffs, so maybe also stop claiming they're good in the red zone.....

.
I’m sorry you aren’t intelligent enough to follow.
One of the main points was making first downs on 1st and 2nd down and the part you quoted, out of context and cut short, was to show the difference in that.
Numbers need context, and clearly identified 2017 was being used because it was the most recent vey good patriot offense that was on the aggressive side.

of course you don’t like analysis because it conflicts with your “anyone from John Carrol University sucks and facts are not important” mission to waste your life.
 

Ring 6

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First Half pts 7, 7, 0 11 vs Miami, buffalo, Indianapolis, and Buffalo ..they scored a bunch vs Florida State - I mean Jacksonville....that's 25 pts in their last 4 vs competitive teams. that's the trend, not the 10th in the league ranking. That's a whopping 6.25 ppg in the first half
#s don't lie, trends don't lie, the offense is not productive
Picking out parts of random games isn’t really making a point.
 

Ring 6

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The Boogeymen showed that aggregate stats can be deceiving. This defense plays well with the lead, not so well when the team needs a stop. It is also fair to say that many games where the defense failed to get a stop at the end of the game where the same games where the offense left them to hold the fort for the first 3 quarters. It is not surprising that there was no energy left to get the ball back when it was needed most. Ultimately the team needs to play aggressive, complimentary football in all three phases to win against the Bildos Saturday.
The boogeymen were the best defense in the NFL. Every defense does better against bad teams than good teams. That team wins the SB if the offense was an average patriot offense from 2010-2017.
 

DropKickFlutie

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
I’m sorry you aren’t intelligent enough to follow.
One of the main points was making first downs on 1st and 2nd down and the part you quoted, out of context and cut short, was to show the difference in that.
Numbers need context, and clearly identified 2017 was being used because it was the most recent vey good patriot offense that was on the aggressive side.

of course you don’t like analysis because it conflicts with your “anyone from John Carrol University sucks and facts are not important” mission to waste your life.

You basically made up a point that wasn't substantiated at all. The total number of 3rd downs was the same. And also no reason why you compared with 2017 other than you subjectively thought that was a more aggressive team. Somehow the 2021 team scored more than the 2017 team. Bad analysis like this is what gets teams in trouble.

.
 

Ring 6

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@Ring 6 - thanks for taking the time and interest to pull some comparisons together - it’s a really interesting baseline for discussion!

I agree a bit with others that this team is Jekyl and Hyde… when we’re good, we’re great and when we’re bad, we’re a different team. It’s tough to draw any meaningful inference from the aggregate numbers because we’re so up and down. I know it’s a ton of work, but I’d be curious to see if our tendencies are significantly different in our bad losses.

Also, as a “gameplan team” it’s tough to tell how much of our success/failure is due to the gameplan versus execution. The Buffalo game as an example. I’m sure we didn’t go into that game expecting to run 40 times, so we get a lot of run calls on 2nd/3rd down here. They were intentionally not being balanced… it’s an extreme example, but at least illustrates their willingness to deviate from their tendencies if they feel the game situation dictates it… I guess I wonder how often that happens and it’s just not obvious to us fans.

I guess I’m trying to rationalize what others have said- the team feels conservative… I think it comes through most in high leverage situations where they seemingly stick to their game plan when I think fans would like to see them take more shots. It’s weird- the third and long screen pass to Bolden either goes for 2 yds against good teams or 15 yds against bad ones, and I don’t know how to feel about it- is that just not having the players to execute a good call or is that a bad call that sometimes works against overmatched players.

Either way- I hope we do something different tomorrow night- I can feel BB seeing those arctic temps and saying- the ball will be cold, ball security is a big deal, so we need to focus on conservative plays and how the Bills turn it over. With TB we could do that for 3 quarters, then turn on the gas if we had to dig ourselves out- I’m not sure we have the horses to do that with this team.

Lastly- I just want to give a shout to Ring for putting something together for us to discuss. It’s easy to scroll through these forums and throw spears at other people’s work. No analysis is perfect- football is a really complicated game where no two situations are the same- it’s probably why we love it. It’s disappointing to see some responses on here- Don’t be a troll about it. If you simply can’t get past some of the flaws of what you’re seeing, pick up your own calculator and do some work of your own. Don’t mock someone for trying to spark some interesting conversation because you think their analysis isn’t perfect.
Thanks, and it’s only one mental challenged individual throwing spears, as they do in every thread, because they hate the patriots.
 

Ring 6

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You basically made up a point that wasn't substantiated at all. The total number of 3rd downs was the same. And also no reason why you compared with 2017 other than you subjectively thought that was a more aggressive team. Somehow the 2021 team scored more than the 2017 team. Bad analysis like this is what gets teams in trouble.

.
Again I’m sorry you are too dumb to understand. But in the event you aren’t, and are just playing games, I will add the part you left out which explains this
Because they converted 27 more 1st downs on first and second down,
So they had more first down plays and fewer 3rd down plays because they were more effective getting big plays on first and 2nd down. I thought anyone reading had the intellect to follow that, sorry.

And yes, it order to compare you have to choose something to compare to. I picked 2017 as a model. I think any offense that compares well to the 2017 patriots would be considered good by anyone who understands football. Perhaps you can ask one of those people.
Feel free to find a different team to compare to and do your own analysis. It would represent the first thought and fact you ever applied to an opinion. Good luck.
 

Stu Pidassle

Practice Squad Player
The boogeymen were the best defense in the NFL. Every defense does better against bad teams than good teams. That team wins the SB if the offense was an average patriot offense from 2010-2017.
Understood. The point I was trying to make is that when you get to the playoffs, against good teams, you can't count on regular season stats which are a measure of consistency. In the playoffs making big plays at important moments of the game is what wins.
 

DropKickFlutie

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
andyjohnson sticks to a premise and then adds faulty dressing which doesn't prove his entrenched beliefs.

If 2 offenses are almost identical in points and yards per play and many other metrics, but one has more first downs, then which one had more chain-moving plays and fewer chunk plays??? Andyjohnson's conclusion is ...exactly wrong.
 

GreenCow

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
When you look at the season, offensively they are:
6th in scoring
17th in turnovers

Statistically that looks like an offense that would be a 12-5, 13-4 team

In that case, the Bills are statistically a 15-1 team. :)

3rd in offense
1st in defense
 

Ring 6

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andyjohnson sticks to a premise and then adds faulty dressing which doesn't prove his entrenched beliefs.

If 2 offenses are almost identical in points and yards per play and many other metrics, but one has more first downs, then which one had more chain-moving plays and fewer chunk plays??? Andyjohnson's conclusion is ...exactly wrong.
What in the world are you talking about.
2017 obvious had more chunk plays. They converted 1st downs on 1st and 2nd a lot more, which is the point.
2021 is running more a throwing short passes more on 1st and 2nd down.

There was no premise to stick to, it was research.
 

Ring 6

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In that case, the Bills are statistically a 15-1 team. :)

3rd in offense
1st in defense
Their were more factors than that. But 1.3 more pot doesn’t turn 12-5 into 15-1. Well 15-2 or 16-1 since there are 17 games.
But based upon overall cumulative stars the Bills should have the best record in the NFL, but they aren’t that good at making clutch plays to win.
 

Ring 6

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andyjohnson sticks to a premise and then adds faulty dressing which doesn't prove his entrenched beliefs.

If 2 offenses are almost identical in points and yards per play and many other metrics, but one has more first downs, then which one had more chain-moving plays and fewer chunk plays??? Andyjohnson's conclusion is ...exactly wrong.
By the way, your lack of knowledge handicaps you here because I am referring to the number of first down plays ( which was blatantly clear in my post) not the number of first downs made.

But I will mark you down as saying that you think the 2021 patriot offense was as good as the 2017. Remember that eliminates your McDaniels was only good because of Brady schtick because he just did what you call the same with a rookie. Good talk.
 

Fubby

Practice Squad Player
Here’s an interesting stat…

Record against teams finishing over 500: 3-7
Record against teams finishing under 500: 7-0

That might need to factor into the analysis
 

Wozzy

In the Starting Line-Up
Over the years, I have seen game plans that I felt held the offense back and others that made it much more effective. Looking at this year I think the overall philosophy has been leaning toward holding it back, clearly out of a goal of limiting mistakes and turnovers and playing complementary football. When you look over the season this team has been competitive against anyone, blow games open when things go well, but struggle in tight games especially vs good teams. I think the 2 are related.
The game plans that hold the offense back always seem to be games where the priority seems to be staying on schedule on down and distance, getting to 3rd and makable and avoiding poor down no distance situations, while the most effective approach pushes the ball down the field and gets chunk plays.

When you look at the season, offensively they are:
6th in scoring
17th in turnovers
2nd in % of drives resulting in points
10th in 3rd down conversions
11th in red zone TD % (but #1 since the 2/8 start in weeks 1-3
Balnaced, 8th in rushing, 14th in passing (probably would be more like 10 and 10 without the 3 pass game anomaly)
6 in time of possession

Statistically that looks like an offense that would be a 12-5, 13-4 team

Defensively
2 in points allowed
3 in takeaways
4 in yards
5 in 3rd down conv
2 in red zone
2 in % of drives allowing points

That looks like a defense that would be 14-3 or 15-2

Yet we are 10-7

I want to deep dive into the offense to see where the disconnect may be.

Cumualtive stats over a full season without situational context have little value other than a general overall impression.

Situationally gives a better look at what causes winning and losing.
In this case, the overall #s indicate the Patriots are a good team that plays close games against good teams but fall short more than it would seem they should.
I think the offensive approach of playing conservatively fits into that. You have to make a lot more plays to score, and to score TDs if you aren’t getting chunk plays, and against good teams you have less room for error with a non scoring drive or a turnover,

So here is a break down that I think shows this no other interesting facts. For comparison I used the 2017 offense which I think was good example of a good patriots offense that was more on the aggressive side.

FIRST DOWN
Run/pass ratio. 55% run 45% pass
-we averaged 4.3 per rush and gained 38 first downs on 263 1st down rushes.
-we completed 68.6% of passes, and 68 of 144 completions and 210 attempts resulted in 1st downs
-so less than half of the completed passes gained a 1st down
-only allowed 6 sacks in 216 drop backs on 1st

COMPARED TO 2017
run/pass almost identical at 54/46
-rushing avg 4.6 1 fewer 1st on 4 more rushes
-68.2% but 81 1st downs on 148 completions
-11 sacks

2nd down (the key in my opinion prior to looking at numbers)
run/pass ratio 46/54
rush avg 4.6 but only 65 1st downs on 159 rushes
70.9% completion but only 53 1sts in 127 completions, 9 sacks

2017
35/65 run/pass
3.7 per rush 49 1sts in 127 att
69.2% 84 1st in 153 completes, 11 sacks

First interesting fact, 2017 made 133 1sts on 2nd down vs 118 in 2021 with an extra game.
2017 did throw more but also while completing a lower % had A much higher rate of converting a 1st; 55% of completions gained 1st downs vs 42 this year.

To go deeper, on 2nd and 7+ 2021
32/68 r/p
31 1st on 96 completes out of 134 attempts (71.6% complete but only 23% sufficient yards for a first)

2017
24/76 r/p
40 firsts on 102 completes and 148 (68.9 complete 27 1st)

2nd and <7
2021
65/35 r/p
22 first on 31 completes and 45 attempts (68.9; 49)


2017
50/50 r/p
44 1st on 51 completes and 73 attempts (69.9; 60)

This is a huge difference.
On 2nd and less than 7 in 2017 we threw 73 times and made 44 first downs and this years we only threw 44 times and made 22 first downs.
Compartively this year we are relying so much more on converting many 3rd downs,

IS FIRST DOWN TO BLAME?
No.
2021 % of 2nds with yards to go
1-3 17.9
4-6 23.6
7-9 23.6
10+ 34.8
avg yards to go 7.7

2017
1-3 17.8
4-6 24.8
7-9 22.0
10+ 35.4
avg yards to go 7.5

almost identical

while the 2017 offense produce 12 more 1st downs on first down than 2021, they were almost in identical situations on 2 nd down with very different amounts of success

3RD DOWN
This is where it gets very interesting
Because they converted 27 more 1st downs on first and second down, the 2017 offense had 495 first down plays and only 201 3rd downs while the 2021 offense had 479 first down plays and 209 3rd downs. 2021 actually has a higher 3rd down conversion rate (43.5 to 40.8). 57.9% of 2021s 3rd downs were 6 or less to go, while 53.3 % Of 2017s were (and 31% vs 29% were 3 or less) so that’s the apparent trade off but it’s negligible.

Overall the 2021 offense scored 4 more points than the 2017 offense, was 61.9% vs 60% in the red zone ( but had 7 fewer trips in one extra game) and scored on 48% of drives vs 49.4%. 2021 exactly the same number of offensive TDs as 2017.
And this is where cumulative stats are meaningless without context. The 2021 team scored 17 or less 6 times and lost 5 of them while the 2017 team scored less than 20 just once and won.
2021 won 3 their 3 highest scoring games by a total of 149-30 and 2017 by 114-70.

The other factor that can’t be overlooked is the 2017 team committed 12 turnovers and 2021 committed 23, and 16 were in losses. But those turnovers only led to the defense allowing 7 more points in one more game.

What I think this illustrates is that overall the 2021 was every bit as good as the 2017 offense, but it was not nearly as consistent or as good against better teams. Underlying that is the conservative play calling. While the offense was unbelievably good overall, and the conservative approach is surely justified, what’s going on inside the numbers is that while we throw as much, and have an almost identical run/pass ratio, and similar completion percentages, we are relying more on short passes on first and second down (and throwing less on 2nd) so a much more methodical drive is necessary. It seems to work even better when we are in control of the game, but it caused the offense to struggle in close games against better teams.
The real question is whether Jones is being coached to do this or choosing to do it himself. The ultimate issue becomes (since the patriots are a high to low progression offense) the definition of open. Mac has to read his first progression and decide whether it’s open and throw or move on. That also includes the factor of how long you wait to decide as the route is coming open. It’s clear that his definition of open is conservative and he passes on the progressions more readily. To compete in the playoffs that is what has to change, and especially on 2nd down he needs to throw the ball up the field, to elevate this offense to be more successful against good teams, like it is against not as good teams.

Im sure there are other opinions to be formed from these numbers, and what we have seen, so hopefully this can create some discussion.
All these stats can be boiled down to one core problem... mistakes/execution. Turnovers is the glaring offensive stat above, it looks a lot better now than it did to start the season where it was worse than 17th.

The offense's problem all season has been mistakes... missed blocking assignments, fumbles, dropped passes, false start penalties putting them in long downs. If the offense were firing on all cylinders the defensive numbers would look even better.

The offense can't sustain drives and score consistently. They need to stop making mistakes and be more efficient, especially now with the Pat's corners beat up.
 

RobertWeathers

Author of the Port Huron Statement
Over the years, I have seen game plans that I felt held the offense back and others that made it much more effective. Looking at this year I think the overall philosophy has been leaning toward holding it back, clearly out of a goal of limiting mistakes and turnovers and playing complementary football. When you look over the season this team has been competitive against anyone, blow games open when things go well, but struggle in tight games especially vs good teams. I think the 2 are related.
The game plans that hold the offense back always seem to be games where the priority seems to be staying on schedule on down and distance, getting to 3rd and makable and avoiding poor down no distance situations, while the most effective approach pushes the ball down the field and gets chunk plays.

When you look at the season, offensively they are:
6th in scoring
17th in turnovers
2nd in % of drives resulting in points
10th in 3rd down conversions
11th in red zone TD % (but #1 since the 2/8 start in weeks 1-3
Balnaced, 8th in rushing, 14th in passing (probably would be more like 10 and 10 without the 3 pass game anomaly)
6 in time of possession

Statistically that looks like an offense that would be a 12-5, 13-4 team

Defensively
2 in points allowed
3 in takeaways
4 in yards
5 in 3rd down conv
2 in red zone
2 in % of drives allowing points

That looks like a defense that would be 14-3 or 15-2

Yet we are 10-7

I want to deep dive into the offense to see where the disconnect may be.

Cumualtive stats over a full season without situational context have little value other than a general overall impression.

Situationally gives a better look at what causes winning and losing.
In this case, the overall #s indicate the Patriots are a good team that plays close games against good teams but fall short more than it would seem they should.
I think the offensive approach of playing conservatively fits into that. You have to make a lot more plays to score, and to score TDs if you aren’t getting chunk plays, and against good teams you have less room for error with a non scoring drive or a turnover,

So here is a break down that I think shows this no other interesting facts. For comparison I used the 2017 offense which I think was good example of a good patriots offense that was more on the aggressive side.

FIRST DOWN
Run/pass ratio. 55% run 45% pass
-we averaged 4.3 per rush and gained 38 first downs on 263 1st down rushes.
-we completed 68.6% of passes, and 68 of 144 completions and 210 attempts resulted in 1st downs
-so less than half of the completed passes gained a 1st down
-only allowed 6 sacks in 216 drop backs on 1st

COMPARED TO 2017
run/pass almost identical at 54/46
-rushing avg 4.6 1 fewer 1st on 4 more rushes
-68.2% but 81 1st downs on 148 completions
-11 sacks

2nd down (the key in my opinion prior to looking at numbers)
run/pass ratio 46/54
rush avg 4.6 but only 65 1st downs on 159 rushes
70.9% completion but only 53 1sts in 127 completions, 9 sacks

2017
35/65 run/pass
3.7 per rush 49 1sts in 127 att
69.2% 84 1st in 153 completes, 11 sacks

First interesting fact, 2017 made 133 1sts on 2nd down vs 118 in 2021 with an extra game.
2017 did throw more but also while completing a lower % had A much higher rate of converting a 1st; 55% of completions gained 1st downs vs 42 this year.

To go deeper, on 2nd and 7+ 2021
32/68 r/p
31 1st on 96 completes out of 134 attempts (71.6% complete but only 23% sufficient yards for a first)

2017
24/76 r/p
40 firsts on 102 completes and 148 (68.9 complete 27 1st)

2nd and <7
2021
65/35 r/p
22 first on 31 completes and 45 attempts (68.9; 49)


2017
50/50 r/p
44 1st on 51 completes and 73 attempts (69.9; 60)

This is a huge difference.
On 2nd and less than 7 in 2017 we threw 73 times and made 44 first downs and this years we only threw 44 times and made 22 first downs.
Compartively this year we are relying so much more on converting many 3rd downs,

IS FIRST DOWN TO BLAME?
No.
2021 % of 2nds with yards to go
1-3 17.9
4-6 23.6
7-9 23.6
10+ 34.8
avg yards to go 7.7

2017
1-3 17.8
4-6 24.8
7-9 22.0
10+ 35.4
avg yards to go 7.5

almost identical

while the 2017 offense produce 12 more 1st downs on first down than 2021, they were almost in identical situations on 2 nd down with very different amounts of success

3RD DOWN
This is where it gets very interesting
Because they converted 27 more 1st downs on first and second down, the 2017 offense had 495 first down plays and only 201 3rd downs while the 2021 offense had 479 first down plays and 209 3rd downs. 2021 actually has a higher 3rd down conversion rate (43.5 to 40.8). 57.9% of 2021s 3rd downs were 6 or less to go, while 53.3 % Of 2017s were (and 31% vs 29% were 3 or less) so that’s the apparent trade off but it’s negligible.

Overall the 2021 offense scored 4 more points than the 2017 offense, was 61.9% vs 60% in the red zone ( but had 7 fewer trips in one extra game) and scored on 48% of drives vs 49.4%. 2021 exactly the same number of offensive TDs as 2017.
And this is where cumulative stats are meaningless without context. The 2021 team scored 17 or less 6 times and lost 5 of them while the 2017 team scored less than 20 just once and won.
2021 won 3 their 3 highest scoring games by a total of 149-30 and 2017 by 114-70.

The other factor that can’t be overlooked is the 2017 team committed 12 turnovers and 2021 committed 23, and 16 were in losses. But those turnovers only led to the defense allowing 7 more points in one more game.

What I think this illustrates is that overall the 2021 was every bit as good as the 2017 offense, but it was not nearly as consistent or as good against better teams. Underlying that is the conservative play calling. While the offense was unbelievably good overall, and the conservative approach is surely justified, what’s going on inside the numbers is that while we throw as much, and have an almost identical run/pass ratio, and similar completion percentages, we are relying more on short passes on first and second down (and throwing less on 2nd) so a much more methodical drive is necessary. It seems to work even better when we are in control of the game, but it caused the offense to struggle in close games against better teams.
The real question is whether Jones is being coached to do this or choosing to do it himself. The ultimate issue becomes (since the patriots are a high to low progression offense) the definition of open. Mac has to read his first progression and decide whether it’s open and throw or move on. That also includes the factor of how long you wait to decide as the route is coming open. It’s clear that his definition of open is conservative and he passes on the progressions more readily. To compete in the playoffs that is what has to change, and especially on 2nd down he needs to throw the ball up the field, to elevate this offense to be more successful against good teams, like it is against not as good teams.

Im sure there are other opinions to be formed from these numbers, and what we have seen, so hopefully this can create some discussion.
Good research.

As always, the NEP call plays based on the talent available to them.

If you look at the roster of the 2017 team.....
584 total passing plays and 38% of them went to Cooks and Gronk who collectively represented 47% of the total yards and averaged 16ypc

For the 2021 team...
524 pass plays and 38% went to Meyers and Henry who collectively represented 36% of the yards and ave 11yac.

We can say it's Josh calling more conservatively, or Mac just isn't looking downfield as much or not being more patient with his reads but it's clear as day there is a gap in game-breaking talent on the offensive side of the ball.

Gotta wonder what Mac would do in Year 2 throwing to a still in their prime Cooks and Gronk.
 

Ring 6

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2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
All these stats can be boiled down to one core problem... mistakes/execution. Turnovers is the glaring offensive stat above, it looks a lot better now than it did to start the season where it was worse than 17th.

The offense's problem all season has been mistakes... missed blocking assignments, fumbles, dropped passes, false start penalties putting them in long downs. If the offense were firing on all cylinders the defensive numbers would look even better.

The offense can't sustain drives and score consistently. They need to stop making mistakes and be more efficient, especially now with the Pat's corners beat up.
Sure mistakes are a factor but you can’t wave a wand and change that. You can say we need to push the ball down the field a little more to turn 2nd and 7 passes into 1st and 10 instead of 3rd and 3, and/or throw more in those situations. All season we have run much more heavily in those situations than in last years.
Mistakes happen you can’t just lose because of them, you have to overcome them. One clear way to do that is not be reliant on converting a ton of 3rd downs making yourself susceptible to drive killing mistakes.
 

jimnance

In the Starting Line-Up
Over the years, I have seen game plans that I felt held the offense back and others that made it much more effective. Looking at this year I think the overall philosophy has been leaning toward holding it back, clearly out of a goal of limiting mistakes and turnovers and playing complementary football. When you look over the season this team has been competitive against anyone, blow games open when things go well, but struggle in tight games especially vs good teams. I think the 2 are related.
The game plans that hold the offense back always seem to be games where the priority seems to be staying on schedule on down and distance, getting to 3rd and makable and avoiding poor down no distance situations, while the most effective approach pushes the ball down the field and gets chunk plays.

When you look at the season, offensively they are:
6th in scoring
17th in turnovers
2nd in % of drives resulting in points
10th in 3rd down conversions
11th in red zone TD % (but #1 since the 2/8 start in weeks 1-3
Balnaced, 8th in rushing, 14th in passing (probably would be more like 10 and 10 without the 3 pass game anomaly)
6 in time of possession

Statistically that looks like an offense that would be a 12-5, 13-4 team

Defensively
2 in points allowed
3 in takeaways
4 in yards
5 in 3rd down conv
2 in red zone
2 in % of drives allowing points

That looks like a defense that would be 14-3 or 15-2

Yet we are 10-7

I want to deep dive into the offense to see where the disconnect may be.

Cumualtive stats over a full season without situational context have little value other than a general overall impression.

Situationally gives a better look at what causes winning and losing.
In this case, the overall #s indicate the Patriots are a good team that plays close games against good teams but fall short more than it would seem they should.
I think the offensive approach of playing conservatively fits into that. You have to make a lot more plays to score, and to score TDs if you aren’t getting chunk plays, and against good teams you have less room for error with a non scoring drive or a turnover,

So here is a break down that I think shows this no other interesting facts. For comparison I used the 2017 offense which I think was good example of a good patriots offense that was more on the aggressive side.

FIRST DOWN
Run/pass ratio. 55% run 45% pass
-we averaged 4.3 per rush and gained 38 first downs on 263 1st down rushes.
-we completed 68.6% of passes, and 68 of 144 completions and 210 attempts resulted in 1st downs
-so less than half of the completed passes gained a 1st down
-only allowed 6 sacks in 216 drop backs on 1st

COMPARED TO 2017
run/pass almost identical at 54/46
-rushing avg 4.6 1 fewer 1st on 4 more rushes
-68.2% but 81 1st downs on 148 completions
-11 sacks

2nd down (the key in my opinion prior to looking at numbers)
run/pass ratio 46/54
rush avg 4.6 but only 65 1st downs on 159 rushes
70.9% completion but only 53 1sts in 127 completions, 9 sacks

2017
35/65 run/pass
3.7 per rush 49 1sts in 127 att
69.2% 84 1st in 153 completes, 11 sacks

First interesting fact, 2017 made 133 1sts on 2nd down vs 118 in 2021 with an extra game.
2017 did throw more but also while completing a lower % had A much higher rate of converting a 1st; 55% of completions gained 1st downs vs 42 this year.

To go deeper, on 2nd and 7+ 2021
32/68 r/p
31 1st on 96 completes out of 134 attempts (71.6% complete but only 23% sufficient yards for a first)

2017
24/76 r/p
40 firsts on 102 completes and 148 (68.9 complete 27 1st)

2nd and <7
2021
65/35 r/p
22 first on 31 completes and 45 attempts (68.9; 49)


2017
50/50 r/p
44 1st on 51 completes and 73 attempts (69.9; 60)

This is a huge difference.
On 2nd and less than 7 in 2017 we threw 73 times and made 44 first downs and this years we only threw 44 times and made 22 first downs.
Compartively this year we are relying so much more on converting many 3rd downs,

IS FIRST DOWN TO BLAME?
No.
2021 % of 2nds with yards to go
1-3 17.9
4-6 23.6
7-9 23.6
10+ 34.8
avg yards to go 7.7

2017
1-3 17.8
4-6 24.8
7-9 22.0
10+ 35.4
avg yards to go 7.5

almost identical

while the 2017 offense produce 12 more 1st downs on first down than 2021, they were almost in identical situations on 2 nd down with very different amounts of success

3RD DOWN
This is where it gets very interesting
Because they converted 27 more 1st downs on first and second down, the 2017 offense had 495 first down plays and only 201 3rd downs while the 2021 offense had 479 first down plays and 209 3rd downs. 2021 actually has a higher 3rd down conversion rate (43.5 to 40.8). 57.9% of 2021s 3rd downs were 6 or less to go, while 53.3 % Of 2017s were (and 31% vs 29% were 3 or less) so that’s the apparent trade off but it’s negligible.

Overall the 2021 offense scored 4 more points than the 2017 offense, was 61.9% vs 60% in the red zone ( but had 7 fewer trips in one extra game) and scored on 48% of drives vs 49.4%. 2021 exactly the same number of offensive TDs as 2017.
And this is where cumulative stats are meaningless without context. The 2021 team scored 17 or less 6 times and lost 5 of them while the 2017 team scored less than 20 just once and won.
2021 won 3 their 3 highest scoring games by a total of 149-30 and 2017 by 114-70.

The other factor that can’t be overlooked is the 2017 team committed 12 turnovers and 2021 committed 23, and 16 were in losses. But those turnovers only led to the defense allowing 7 more points in one more game.

What I think this illustrates is that overall the 2021 was every bit as good as the 2017 offense, but it was not nearly as consistent or as good against better teams. Underlying that is the conservative play calling. While the offense was unbelievably good overall, and the conservative approach is surely justified, what’s going on inside the numbers is that while we throw as much, and have an almost identical run/pass ratio, and similar completion percentages, we are relying more on short passes on first and second down (and throwing less on 2nd) so a much more methodical drive is necessary. It seems to work even better when we are in control of the game, but it caused the offense to struggle in close games against better teams.
The real question is whether Jones is being coached to do this or choosing to do it himself. The ultimate issue becomes (since the patriots are a high to low progression offense) the definition of open. Mac has to read his first progression and decide whether it’s open and throw or move on. That also includes the factor of how long you wait to decide as the route is coming open. It’s clear that his definition of open is conservative and he passes on the progressions more readily. To compete in the playoffs that is what has to change, and especially on 2nd down he needs to throw the ball up the field, to elevate this offense to be more successful against good teams, like it is against not as good teams.

Im sure there are other opinions to be formed from these numbers, and what we have seen, so hopefully this can create some discussion.
Wow, man, thats a lot of work you put in there. It is greatly appreciated. I'm sure some of it was tedious but it brings great value to all of us. Tip o' the cap, bro.
A lot of it affirms much of what I thought I watched, especially with 2nd downs.
I think both of us know those stats will change next year with Mac having more experience and being not as overwhelmed.
All nfl players, especially qbs talk about how they couldnt really maximize their talent their rookie year since the speed of the nfl game, along with the complexity of both offense/ defense and the sheer talent level takes a while to adjust to.
In light of this,the jobs that BB,JMcD and Mac have done is phenomenal.
 

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Wow, man, thats a lot of work you put in there. It is greatly appreciated. I'm sure some of it was tedious but it brings great value to all of us. Tip o' the cap, bro.
A lot of it affirms much of what I thought I watched, especially with 2nd downs.
I think both of us know those stats will change next year with Mac having more experience and being not as overwhelmed.
All nfl players, especially qbs talk about how they couldnt really maximize their talent their rookie year since the speed of the nfl game, along with the complexity of both offense/ defense and the sheer talent level takes a while to adjust to.
In light of this,the jobs that BB,JMcD and Mac have done is phenomenal.
It comes from 20+ years of being most frustrated with the offense when I see an obvious priority to control
3rd down distances over making first downs.
It happened when Brady was here, and I think they recognized it around 2014 and corrected it
So I wanted to see how much if a factor it was this year and the stats seem to bear it out.

Just think of this. How many games have the offense had a bad day and you spend the whole day watching just misses on 3rd down. Drops, tips, misfires, etc. On good days it’s not happening because we stay out of 3rd down.
 

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