Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Diet of Mush Breeds Poor Teeth

Cherry-picking statistics from either victories or defeats is not precisely the scientific method of football analysis. Then again, when the same thing happens to the same NFL team five times in six otherwise splendid seasons, calling it a pattern is hardly an exaggeration.

In the 2007 and 2009-2012 seasons, the New England Patriots never averaged less than 26.7 points a game in the regular season (that was 2009) and averaged over 30 a game in the other four. In the five playoff losses (two of 'em Super Bowls) that ended those seasons, the Patriots never scored more than 21 points and always scored more than 10 points fewer than their season's average. Against the Ravens last week, the Pats were three touchdowns lower than that average.

I do not believe one can draw any other conclusion than to assign a majority share of responsibility for those defeats to the Pats' offense. IT underperformed dramatically in each case, and in each case, IT had been correctly regarded as the team's primary strength.

The one constant in the Pats' offense the past six years, as for the six years before that, is of course Tom Brady. It would be insane to hold the quarterback solely responsible for the offense's postseason failures. But it would be equally insane to excuse him from any responsibility. Failure's a team effort just like success.

But culprit-seeking isn't my point. For whatever reason, the New England Patriots have spent most of the last six seasons operating an historically productive offense from September to December. Then in January and February, production drops from historic to sporadic.

One tends to believe that the other teams are the reason why. When we look at those regular seasons, what are the constants in New England's schedule. That'd be six games against the AFC East.


At 12:00 AM, Anonymous Dave said...

Bobby Bowden always said "offenses are like cats, sometimes they like you and sometimes they don't. But defenses are like dogs, they always are the same"


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