At 4-1, the Atlanta Falcons have only lost to the New England Patriots. The four teams that they have defeated are the Dolphins, Panthers, 49ers, and most recently the Bears. How did the Patriots do it? Are their clues in the numbers?
The following stats are the actual numbers of Atlanta’s opponents this year, including the stats of the one team that they were defeated by, the New England Patriots.
Which number is the Patriots’ average yard gained per rush?
A) 4.3 – this one
The other numbers belong to MIA, CAR, and SF.
Which number represents the Patriots’ yards passing versus Atlanta?
A) 277 – right here
The other numbers belong to CHI and CAR.
Which number represents Tom Brady’s quarterback rating versus Atlanta?
C) 87.1 – yep
But his stat is not a lot better than Delhomme or Pennington.
To me, the following numbers show more of the reason why NE defeated ATL.
Time of Possession:
A) 39:49 – NE
B) 33:54 – CHI
C) 29:07 – MIA
D) 28:28 – CAR
E) 23:31 – SF
In my opinion, NE won with slow, methodical, patient, clock-burning drives.
Just take a look at several of the Patriots’ offensive drives:
Started at their own 16
Burned 8:39 off of the clock
Kicked a 21 yard FG
Started at their own 27
Burned 3:36 off of the clock
Kicked a 33 yard FG
Started at their own 17
Burned 5:59 off of the clock
Kicked a 22 yard FG
Started at their own 15
Burned 6:59 off of the clock
Kicked a 33 yard FG
Started at their own 22
Final drive of the 4th quarter and Atlanta never got the ball back
Burned 6:52 off of the clock
Ended with a Brady “kneel down”
Another telling statistic:
Atlanta’s 3rd down conversion percentage on offense
A) 57% versus SF
B) 50% versus CAR
C) 42% versus CHI
D) 40% versus MIA
E) Only 22% versus NE
Of the 9 opportunities that ATL had 3rd down versus NE:
1. 3rd and 7 converted on a 21 yard pass
2. 3rd and 3 – inc
3. 3rd and 7 – inc
4. 3rd and 3 – inc
5. 3rd and 3 converted on an 11 yard pass
6. 3rd and 18 – only got 13 on a pass
7. 3rd and 14 – only got 7 on a pass
8. 3rd and 3 – inc
9. 3rd and 4 – inc
I know there's more than one way to "skin a cat" but the NE method was......
1) On Defense - keep ATL from converting on 3rd down
2) On Offense - be patient, eat up the clock, and keep Matt Ryan on the bench
Do the Cowboys need to replicate this approach, or create their own way to defeat Atlanta?