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Pats' concerning trend of D collapse during crunch time of crucial game. Why?

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Oct 24th

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Mountain_Commando

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
We've all witnessed these moments. Credit to @Kargetina for cataloging this.

Long story short. Pats have consistently displayed a trend of crunch time defensive collapse during the final minutes of ALL our super bowl victories, as well as several AFCCG's, and also numerous meaningful regular season games.

Belichick's defenses and his coaching at the end of games:

Important games:

SuperBowl 36: TD allowed with 90 seconds left, 55 yards in 21 seconds
SuperBowl 38: TD allowed with 68 seconds left, 80 yards in 1:43 minute.
SuperBowl 39: TD allowed with 1:50 left, 80 yards in 4 minutes, a double digit lead cut to 3 points.
SuperBowl 42: TD allowed with 35 seconds left, 83 yards in 2 minutes
SuperBowl 46: TD allowed with 58 seconds left, 88 yards in 3 minutes
SuperBowl 49: First play of last drive, Lynch wide open for 30 yards. Seahawks come within 1 yard and Butler makes a historic play/Seahawks make a horrible decision to throw in traffic needing a yard.
SuperBowl 51: First play on last drive, Devonta Freeman wide open for 35 yards, no one near him. Falcons in easy field goal range, gift the ball back instead of doing anything but what they did. Three kneel downs or three runs win the game.
SuperBowl 52: TD allowed with 2:21 left, 75 yards in 7 minutes

AFCCG 2006: TD allowed with 1 minute left, 81 yard with in 2 minutes

AFCCG 2011: Last drive Ravens march without any issue to the Pats 13 yard line, then drop a game winning pass/miss a 32 yard field goal.

2015 Week 16 Pats need a win to secure homefield vs Jets: First drive in OT, TD allowed, 80 yards in 2 minutes

2017 Week 15 ''winner gets homefield in the playoffs game'': Juju Smith Schuster makes a 69 yard run and the Steelers lose because their TE decides to make a stupid play instead of securing the catch/Ben throws a stupid Int with a secured field goal.

Peculiar finishes:

2007 vs Ravens undefeated season on the line, Hail Mary caught, but stopped a yard from TD.

2018 vs Bears, Hail Mary caught but stopped a yard from TD.

And today's new addition, the longest game winning TD in modern NFL history. (Pats - Dolphins: Week 14 2018).

Without some appalling mistakes and drops from our opponents, who gave up sure fire field goals into sacks and interceptions, and Brady making a game winning or game leading drive in every single SB, our history would be very different. Our end of game defenses have been thoroughly outplayed and outcoached in the Brady/Belichick era.

It doesn't matter whether it's a HoF QB or your run of the mill Mark Sanchez, Nick Foles or Ryan Tanehill, with the game on the line, we rely on dumb luck/coaching to close out games.

Why?

How do we explain this trend? Pats could easily have been 0-8 in SB's, or even less appearances in the big game, due to what seems to be an uncannily predictable Defensive collapse during the opposing drive UNLESS rescued by a heroic play on our side/boneheaded play on the opposing side.

Is it merely selection bias? (which Pats SB ever have you felt comfortable during the last 2 mins??)

Is it BB's high stakes all-in high risk vs reward coaching style during late game defense?

Or is it simply an inevitable consequence of making it to the big game (or a crucial juncture thereof) way more than average, so that its given that at that point we'd run into an opponent formidable enough to corner us into a spot?

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a whiny, ingrate, or chicken little post. Please. I'm ever so grateful for what the Pats' have accomplished, and none of us deserve better. I am merely trying to make sense of what seems to come across as a trend. Does it merit concern, or is it simply the price of unparalleled success? Discuss.
 

n6249c

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How often does this happen in games in which the Patriots are not participants?

First please demonstrate that this happens to the Patriots more often than it happens to the league at large. Then your question is valid. Until then it is purely hypothetical, and simply selection bias.
 

RobertWeathers

Author of the Port Huron Statement
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Each situation is different

01 - gassed
03- Rodney and Poole hurt. Dexter Reid playing. D gassed
04- I don't think they caved. Philly choked themselves. Plus they had forced two TOs .

07- kind of. Absurd catch. In the grasp call blown
11- MM absurd catch. Sucky D anyways.
14- D shutdown Sea inQ4. Zero points.
16- D shutdown At in Q4. Zero points.
17- yep but the whole day we sucked
 

n6249c

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Don’t feed the trolls!

Each situation is different

01 - gassed
03- Rodney and Poole hurt. Dexter Reid playing. D gassed
04- I don't think they caved. Philly choked themselves. Plus they had forced two TOs .

07- kind of. Absurd catch. In the grasp call blown
11- MM absurd catch. Sucky D anyways.
14- D shutdown Sea inQ4. Zero points.
16- D shutdown At in Q4. Zero points.
17- yep but the whole day we sucked
 

Mountain_Commando

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Don’t feed the trolls!

Your first response was substantial. Despite my disclaimer, pointing out an uncomfortable trend makes doesn't automatically make me a troll, it makes your second response akin to a child blocking his ears and singing nanana. I've been on this forum longer than you, and you're welcome to scrutinize my post history to evaluate if I'm actually a troll or not.

Either way, thank you for your contribution.
 

Ring 6

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Your first response was substantial. Despite my disclaimer, pointing out an uncomfortable trend makes doesn't automatically make me a troll, it makes your second response akin to a child blocking his ears and singing nanana. I've been on this forum longer than you, and you're welcome to scrutinize my post history to evaluate if I'm actually a troll or not.

Either way, thank you for your contribution.
It’s not a trend. A trend isn’t something where you cherry pick examples and ignore all of the other instances that don’t apply.
 

farn

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In this era : I don’t see the D as the problem. In 07, the epic O should have sealed the deal waaaay before that awful play. If WW catches the ball, or the O scores another time earlier in the game, they win in 11.

The one game I can really get on the D : last year’s SB. Even 06, the whole locker was sick and I can’t blame the D.
 

Mountain_Commando

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
It’s not a trend. A trend isn’t something where you cherry pick examples and ignore all of the other instances that don’t apply.

What about the fact that each example quoted is the Pats D's last drive, if not the game's last drive?
 

Ring 6

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What about the fact that each example quoted is the Pats D's last drive, if not the game's last drive?
6 of the 14 examples are stops.
There are many other games not included.
There are 8 afccg wins that are not included and many other playoff wins.
This team has played a boatload of games. A high percentage of nfl games have late scores. It’s not surprising that the patriots have allowed some late scores in big games.
A trend is something that happens over and over not just a normal proportion of times.
 

Mountain_Commando

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Each situation is different

01 - gassed
03- Rodney and Poole hurt. Dexter Reid playing. D gassed
04- I don't think they caved. Philly choked themselves. Plus they had forced two TOs .

07- kind of. Absurd catch. In the grasp call blown
11- MM absurd catch. Sucky D anyways.
14- D shutdown Sea inQ4. Zero points.
16- D shutdown At in Q4. Zero points.
17- yep but the whole day we sucked

You've listed a fair explanation for each game's situation, fair enough. What explains the D's collapse during the final drive of each of 8 sb's, not to mention the afccgs?
 

RobertWeathers

Author of the Port Huron Statement
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You've listed a fair explanation for each game's situation, fair enough. What explains the D's collapse during the final drive of each of 8 sb's, not to mention the afccgs?
I think your definition of collapse and mine are different.

And I do think I listed for each game the factors and circumstances for/against you contentions which shows no common theme
 

Mountain_Commando

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
6 of the 14 examples are stops.
There are many other games not included.
There are 8 afccg wins that are not included and many other playoff wins.
This team has played a boatload of games. A high percentage of nfl games have late scores. It’s not surprising that the patriots have allowed some late scores in big games.
A trend is something that happens over and over not just a normal proportion of times.

The 8 AFCCG's you're referring to (actually 7, not counting Sterling Moore's heroic play in 2011) don't discount the defensive collapse in each of the 8 SB's. Not one, not two...EIGHT. That's what makes it a trend, not just in the final game of the season, but in the damn super bowl for crying out loud.

To make it simple, perhaps a fairer comparison would be to look at all the SB's played so far, and see how many of those came down to a collapse on the final defensive drive?
 

maineman209

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Hmmm .... IDK.

I guess I could go with the fact that, when the Pats have played in the AFCCG or the SB, they always seem to end up facing one of the top 2-3 teams in the league for that season, a team that's always also fighting for its life.

Maybe if we could fix THAT somehow ...

Aside from that, I'm totally stumped.
 

primetime

Pro Bowl Player
Seems like cherry-picking data points to create the appearance of a trend when none exists. And in the playoffs and Super Bowl, keep in mind that the other team who makes it is very good as well, so stopping them is necessarily going to be harder.

And consider the other side of the fence, those teams wondering why their defenses collapse late. With the exception of Philly, I suppose, though that was all because of one play.
 

Ring 6

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You've listed a fair explanation for each game's situation, fair enough. What explains the D's collapse during the final drive of each of 8 sb's, not to mention the afccgs?
How did the d collapse against the Seahawks, eagles in 04 or falcons? The d had STOPS in those games.
What AFCCGs are you talking about?
We have been to 7 in a row and I don’t see a defensive collapse in any of them.
 

Doctor DDS

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
There have actually been very few instances in AFC playoffs game where the Pats lost the lead late. In last years AFCCG the Pats stopped the Jags on their final drive with a chance to take the lead. The 2007 Super Bowl was the biggest issue as the Pats were a play away (or a holding call) from ending the game. 2011 defense was weak and the Giants only needed a FG making it a big challenge. Super Bowls are played in ideal conditions and with 4 downs instead of 3 it is very difficult to stop a team from moving down the field.
 

TB_Helmet

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I'll play along.

1. I think the designation of 'collapse during crunch time of big games' only counts if the D had been performing well up to that point in the rest of the game. If the D was bad all game (i.e. SB52) then it's not specific to crunch time if they're also bad at the end.

2. Since the players differ across the years, the only explanation for a possible trend would be coaching (specifically Belichick's since he's the only constant). i.e. BB calls for some dumb prevent D that falls apart.

So how many of these drives can we say that the D wasn't playing badly all game and other factors besides coaching don't apply?

I'll just do Super Bowls:

36: D did well all game until the end. OP may have a point
38: D was horrible the second half, giving up what was at that point a historic number of points
39: D was good but the Eagles needed two scores and the D gave them 1 and ran tons of time off the clock. In this case I'd say it was great coaching
42: D was pretty good until the end. But helmet catch is called by some the craziest play / best catch in Super Bowl history. And should have been a holding call. Tough to blame coaching
46: D was OK and gave up a drive at the end, Manningham catch notwithstanding. OP may have a point.
49: D was OK but that last drive was largely from the crazy Kearse catch which would have passed the helmet catch as the craziest catch ever if the Seahawks had won. Also BB Jedi mind tricked Carroll into calling a pass by not calling a timeout, and the staff had taught Butler and Browner to watch for the pick play in practice. Coaching won that game.
51: D wasn't great, Atlanta had a fantastic offense, that game was epic, and there wasn't really any D breakdown. D did a great job stopping the Falcons regardless of the Atlanta coaching staff play calling.
52: D was bad all game. No crunch time breakdown specifically.

So in conclusion, there might be 2 Super Bowls out of 8 (36 and 46) to validate the OPs point. Maybe 42 as well but I doubt it. 2 out of 8 is not a trend.

I think it was an interesting hypothesis and remember when that list was originally posted a few weeks ago taking a second to look at it and scratch my head. But it doesn't bear fruit with a closer look. I think the real thing is that first Rams Super Bowl has the breakdown despite a fantastic Patriots D all game, which we don't really remember because we won, and we see that and go looking for similar examples in other games, but largely end up trying to force it.
 

IcyPatriot

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To evaluate this fairly one would need to know all the opponents play calls before the collapse vs the play calls after ... if the opponent changed their game plan and called plays rarely called all year then that could explain some of it. If they ran different plays from the same previous formations ... which could be part of the above then that would explain some of it also.

The only constant in all of the collapses is that we never really had a potent pass rush and that could well be exploited in those games and any game we played all those years really. In any case ... the issue needs to be evaluated on both sides of the ball and this thread is making a case for only 1 side with cherry picked plays.

Also we won the first Super Bowl with a Rams collapse ... or not ... same criteria applies.
 

TennisBallHead

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Say the Pats didn't piss away home field in 2015 and played against Carolina in the SB. Now, the Broncos with noodle arm still won by 14. Would there have been any doubt that the Pats would be down 10 in the fourth quarter, needing their usual two touchdowns to take the lead?

I don't get why every game is won/lost by the skin of their teeth, while other good teams can separate themselves. I don't need a 30 point win, but 10 would be nice.

Pats SB point differentials: 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 6, 8
Others since 2001: 27, 11, 12, 4, 14, 6, 3, 35, 14
 
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