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Massarotti: 2015 Patriots By The Numbers

By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub

BOSTON (CBS) -- Seven weeks in, six games down, a half-dozen wins and zero losses. Here's looking at the Patriots, by the numbers:


Tom Brady's quarterback rating against the blitz in Sunday's game against the Jets, the most blitz-happy teams in the NFL this season. Through seven weeks, the Jets have blitzed 110 times, easily the most in the NFL and 16 times more than the Indianapolis Colts, who have blitzed the second most.

For the season, opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of just 62.4 against the blitz, the fourth-best defensive number in the league. (Entering the New England game, opposing quarterbacks had a rating of 52.1 against the Jets blitz.) Brady, however, completed 16-of-24 passes for 158 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, good for a rating of 99.0. He was sacked only once.

In the matchup of strength against strength – Brady vs. the Jets blitz – this was a victory for New England.


Brady's passer rating against the Jets during the fourth quarter, when New England overcame a 20-16 deficit en route to a 30-23 victory. Against a defense that ranked first in the NFL against the pass, Brady went 14-for-17 for 150 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, no sacks and nine – count 'em, nine – first downs.

So far this season, among NFL quarterbacks who have played a majority of their team's games, Brady's fourth-quarter passer rating of 133.3 ranks second to only Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (146.3). In the fourth quarter this season, Brady has five touchdown passes and zero interceptions.


Brady's rating over the last 11 games – regular season and postseason – on passes thrown to Danny Amendola, the best efficiency rate among his primary pass catchers. Regarded as a bust during his first season, the oft-injured Amendola has remained healthy for some time now and become a critical part of the New England offense, particularly against good competition.

Here is how Amendola has compared with the Patriots lead pass catchers, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, going back to the final games of the 2014 regular season:

Amendola: 65 targets, 48 receptions, 513 yards, 5 touchdown, 0 interceptions, 122.1 rating
Gronkowski: 95 targets, 56 receptions, 768 yards, 10 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 106.8 rating
Edelman: 103 targets, 71 receptions, 784 yards, 5 touchdowns 2, interceptions, 99.3 rating


Among the 32 NFL teams, where the Patriots rank in third-down efficiency through the first seven weeks. While many Pats fans will dismiss this – while readily accepting other more favorable statistics, of course – it bears watching. On Sunday, the Jets converted 8-of-14 third-down attempts, a 57-percent conversion rate that actually bettered the Patriots' performance in the game (8-of-16, 50 percent).

For what it's worth, New England also ranks 28th in the NFL in red-zone defense, another indicator that typically highlights the more effective defensive units in the league. Though we haven't reached the halfway point of the season yet, it is worth noting that the Patriots nave never won a Super Bowl when their defense has performed this poorly in those key areas.


The passer rating this season against Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, the successor to Darrelle Revis at the left cornerback position, according to Among the 57 corners who have played at least 60 percent of their team's snaps, Butler ranks 47th in defensive passer rating. (No other Patriots corner appears on the list because the Pats have been playing musical chairs at the troublesome right corner position.)

While Butler certainly improved in the second half against Jets receiver Eric Decker on Sunday, Decker gave Butler all he could handle (and more) in the first half. Already this season, Butler has been targeted 44 times by opposing quarterbacks, including 33 times by the trio of Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck and Ryan Fitzpatrick, the three best opponents the Patriots have played this season.

Tony Massarotti co-hosts the Felger and Massarotti Show on 98.5 The Sports Hub weekdays from 2-6 p.m. Follow him on Twitter @TonyMassarotti. You can read more from Tony by clicking here.

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