Our friends at ProFootballFocus.com were kind enough to share their quick stats from Sunday's game. Make sure you check out their PFF Edge and PFF Elite products to give you insight, and an edge with your fantasy team. The PFF guys really know the game, so make sure you follow them at @PFF.
Week 5 Patriots offensive stats
- While QB Tom Brady was under pressure on 33.3% of his dropbacks over the first four weeks, he was under pressure on a season-high 40.0% of his dropbacks against Tampa Bay. Furthermore, whereas Brady had a passer rating of 138.5 (the highest in the NFL) under pressure coming into this game, he struggled under pressure on Thursday night. The New England quarterback completed just 5 of his 13 attempts for 60 yards under pressure, resulting in a passer rating of 53.4 in these situations.
- Brady avoiding sacks under pressure was a big theme in 2016 that seemed to have changed this season. The Patriots QB was sacked on just 10.4% of the plays when he was pressured in 2016 – the third lowest rate in the NFL – however, 21.3% of pressures turn into sacks this season, which is the 12th highest rate in the league.
- Most of the pressure came from the left side of Brady as left tackle Nate Solder and left guard Joe Thuney combined to give up 11 of the 19 pressures the Patriots surrendered on the night. In addition, Solder had the worst game of his season as he earned the lowest PFF grade on the Patriots with 32.7. Solder gave up 18 pressures on the season – the seventh-most among tackles – and ranks 40th among 65 qualifying offensive tackles in pass blocking efficiency. On the other hand, Thuney allowed 17 pressures on the season – the most among guards – and ranks 61st among 71 qualifying guards in pass blocking efficiency.
- The struggles of the offensive line and the absence of TE Rob Gronkowski forced Brady and the Patriots to slightly change how the offense works. While Brady’s average depth of target was 10.8 yards over the first four weeks of the season, it dropped to just 7.3 yards in the game against Tampa Bay.
- Dion Lewis proved to be the most elusive of the Patriots running backs yesterday as he broke three tackles on seven carries and averaged 6.57 yards after contact. Lewis now broke six tackles – just one shy of Mike Gillislee’s seven (who had 50 more carries) – and averages 3.32 yards after contact this season.
Week 5 Patriots Defensive Stats
- The Patriots ended up missing six tackles in the game against Tampa Bay, which is the third highest total for the defense this season; however, they did not miss a single tackle in the first three quarters and limited Tampa Bay to just 26 yards after the catch on 13 receptions before the fourth quarter. However, the Buccaneers gained 85 yards after the catch on their 13 receptions in the last quarter.
- Safety Devin McCourty played a lot more traditional role in Thursday’s win as he played a season-high 43 snaps at free safety and a season-low 16 plays in the box. While McCourty lined up in the box on 45.6% of his plays coming into this game, he lined up there on only 21.9% of his snaps against Tampa Bay. Furthermore, McCourty was just one of two Patriots defenders along with Patrick Chung to play every snap of the game.
- Similarly to McCourty, linebacker Dont’a Hightower played a lot more in his traditional role of inside linebacker against Tampa Bay than in the first four games. Hightower was on the field for 62 of the Patriots defense’s 72 snaps and lined up at inside linebacker on 21 of them (33.9%). As a comparison, Hightower lined up at inside linebacker on just 4.2% of his snaps in the first four weeks.
- The Patriots used an extremely conservative approach on defense as they blitzed on just 13.2% of pass plays, which is the lowest for New England since Week 12 of last season while the previous low in this season was 23.8% against Houston. As a comparison, the league average is to blitz on 29.6% of plays this season.
- The Patriots pass rush had its worst game of the season against the Buccaneers. Even though the Patriots generated pressure on 33.7% of pass plays coming into this game, they were able to record a pressure on a season-low 20.8% of plays against Tampa Bay while the previous low was 25.0% against New Orleans in Week 2. Furthermore, whereas the Patriots generated pressure on 36.5% of the plays when they used four pass rushers in the first four weeks – which was the fourth-highest rate in the NFL – they were able to record a pressure on just 21.9% of pass plays when they sent four rushers after Jameis Winston yesterday.
- Extra special team note: The Patriots average 37.6 net yards on punts, the second-lowest in the NFL, while punter Ryan Allen has forced just one fair catch in the entire season and is currently PFF’s lowest graded punter by a significant margin.