Imagine Bill Belichick breaking down the Patriots as an opponent proper now.
How does that sound?
Flowery, to make certain. Historically, there’s been a powerful correlation between how lengthy Belichick glowingly rambles in regards to the Pats’ subsequent opponent in his weekly press conferences and the way crummy that opponent is. Before the Patriots’ rematch with Miami a pair weeks in the past, he captured the Dolphins utilizing simply 4 phrases: “A pretty explosive team.”
Last week, nevertheless, Washington acquired a minutes-long breakdown that touched on the teaching employees, their goal-line protection and even the returners.
So what in regards to the Patriots? They would possibly earn a rattling dissertation.
As it stands, the Pats are trending towards turning into the worst crew within the league. Offensively, solely the Jets and Giants are worse by Expected Points Added (EPA). Defensively, the Pats rank twenty fifth.
The Patriots might by no means attain the league’s basement, because of the injury-plagued Giants and tanking Cardinals. But they did lose Sunday to the Commanders, one other franchise that prefers its Sundays served with a facet of defeat. And they personal the second worst level differential within the league (-93), with solely the Giants (-116) getting out-scored by extra factors.
Meanwhile, Mac Jones ranks backside 10 amongst beginning quarterbacks by most superior metrics. He’s accomplished one cross that’s traveled 20 yards or longer within the final month. Granted, not all incompletions have been his fault.
One not too long ago defused bomb belonged to Jalen Reagor, the latest member of the NFL’s worst receiving corps who dropped a 50-yard throw within the third quarter. Reagor acquired cowl for his mistake from JuJu Smith-Schuster, whose butterfingers in the end value the Patriots the sport. Reagor and Smith-Schuster solely ate snaps as a result of the teaching employees starved 2022 second-round decide Tyquan Thornton on the bench after simply three drives.
Up entrance, the Patriots began a practice-squad veteran at left sort out. A profession guard stood at proper sort out. In between, former first-round decide Cole Strange allowed two hurries, and middle David Andrews surrendered two run-stuffs. Rhamondre Stevenson, the one above-average participant obtainable, is beholden to this line, a significant cause why he failed a run longer than 20 yards earlier than Sunday.
Defensively, breakdowns unfold like a fast-moving plague in opposition to Washington.
The Patriots received away with two offside penalties and caught on a 3rd. Myles Bryant burned himself on a protection gamble for a landing. Multiple defenders adopted the identical participant in movement pre-snap on one other play. Edge-rushers repeatedly zipped by Commanders quarterback Sam Howell with no regard for comprise, permitting him to scramble repeatedly.
Washington runs a easy flare movement sending the RB into the flat pre-snap. Ja’Whaun Bentley and Anfernee Jennings each observe him.
— Andrew Callahan (@_AndrewCallahan) November 6, 2023
Their corners turned to toast, and the cross rush evaporated (19.7% stress fee) in opposition to Howell, who leads your complete league with 44 sacks. The Pats’ sport plan in opposition to Washington featured a heavy dose of Cover 0 blitz stress and two-deep zone. Howell went 8-of-11 for 107 yards and a landing in opposition to the blitz, and had all day to throw versus two-deep zone
The Commanders comfortably performed matchup ball as a result of nobody on Belichick’s defensive roster scared them. Belichick’s teaching edge dried up way back, as evidenced by the Patriots’ penalties (second-most within the league), first-quarter factors scored (Tenth-fewest) and first-quarter factors allowed (fifth-most).
The gamers are at loss for solutions. What ought to change about their mid-week course of to generate a special consequence on Sundays?
“I don’t know, I don’t know,” Andrews answered post-game. “We’ll try to figure that out.”
Which means, sure, it may well worsen for one of many worst groups within the league. Here’s what else movie revealed about Sunday’s loss:
24-of-44 for 220 yards, TD, INT
Accurate throw proportion: 65.9%
Under stress: 2-of-7, 37 yards, sack
Against the blitz: 3-of-5, 11 yards
Behind the road: 6-of-6 for 29 yards
0-9 yards downfield: 15-of-20 for 153 yards
10-19 yards downfield: 2-of-9 for twenty-four yards, INT
20+ yards downfield: 1-of-6 for 14 yards, TD
Notes: Give him a C-plus.
Jones’ numbers would have spiked had been it not for Reagor’s drop and others by Stevenson, Thornton and Smith-Schuster, His audible additionally led to the Patriots’ solely passing landing, a play Jones checked to on the line of scrimmage after accurately diagnosing Washington’s man-to-man protection pre-snap. That play apart, his receivers largely failed him in opposition to man protection, catching 9 of twenty-two different passes for 71 yards and an interception.
Then once more, Jones had ample safety, seeing stress on simply 17.4% of his dropbacks, and delivered an correct ball on fewer than two-thirds of his cross makes an attempt. He threw a close to decide on consecutive performs within the third quarter, each downfield. His lack of ability to hit deeper throws is quietly crippling the offense, most notably on a back-foot heave late within the fourth quarter that underthrew a wide-open Stevenson.
Bill O’Brien handed him one other fundamental sport plan comprised of Day 1 set up ideas and quick throws the Pats ran again and again. To wit: six performs earlier than his bad-luck interception, Jones accomplished a cross to Smith-Schuster on the identical actual route idea that yielded the decide.
The Patriots are operating out of gamers and performs. Jones is as answerable for the trimmed playbook as his receivers, even when his failures aren’t as detectable.
- Turnovers: Patriots 1, Commanders 2
- Explosive play fee: Patriots 3.2%, Commanders 7.8%
- Success fee: Patriots 37%, Commanders 43%
- Red-zone effectivity: Patriots 1-1, Commanders 1-4
- Defensive stress fee: Patriots 19.2%, Commanders 17.4%
- Personnel breakdown: 83% snaps in 12 personnel, 16% of snaps in 11 personnel, 1% in 21 personnel.***
- Personnel manufacturing: 5.5 yards/play in 12 personnel, 2.5 yards/play in 11 personnel, 7.0 yards/play in 21 personnel.
- First-down down play-calls: 66% cross (5.9 yards per play), 33% run (9.8 yards per play)
- Play-action fee: 13%
- Broken tackles: RB Rhamondre Stevenson 4, WR Demario Douglas 2
- Pressure allowed: LT Conor McDermott 4 (sack, 3 hurries), LG Cole Strange 2 (2 hurries), RT Mike Onwenu (QB hit), Stevenson (hurry), Team (hurry)
- Run stuffs allowed: C David Andrews 2, Team 2, TE Hunter Henry
- Penalties: Henry (cross interference), RB/WR Ty Montgomery (holding on punt return)
- Drops: Stevenson, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR Jalen Reagor, WR Tyquan Thornton
- No stat captures the unhappy state of the Patriots’ passing sport fairly like this: when Mac Jones handed from three-receiver units Sunday, he averaged one yard per play. One.
- The Patriots activated 4 wideouts: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tyquan Thornton, Demario Douglas and Jalen Reagor. Thornton received benched after catching considered one of his 4 targets within the opening quarter. Thornton didn’t separate versus man protection and flashed some shoddy route-running.
- Once Thornton hit the bench, that left a sixth-round rookie (Douglas), a practice-squad participant on his third crew in two years (Reagor) and Smith-Schuster to take in the remainder of the receiver snaps. No shock, the Pats performed from two-tight finish personnel on 93% of their snaps within the second half.
- Not that Mike Gesicki provided any enchancment, catching zero passes in opposition to Washington’s man-heavy sport plan. He was blanketed on his solely goal, a deep throw down the center versus man-to-man within the third quarter. Sunday might have been Gesicki’s worst sport as a Patriot.
- The Patriots’ numbers versus man protection bear repeating: 10-of-23 for 85 yards, a landing and one interception. The Commanders dared receivers to beat them 1-on-1 on half of the Patriots’ passing performs, and so they couldn’t do it.
- Demario Douglas had the best success fee in opposition to man, one other feather in his cap because the Pats’ greatest receiver. He received on two slants, a shallow cross and curl route round on display screen catch. He completed with 55 yards and 83% of offensive snaps performed.
- Jones scored his 14-yard landing after audibling to a “Smash” route mixture in opposition to man-to-man. His pre-snap name instructed the skin receivers to run quick curl routes whereas the within slot receivers ran fades. This ensured 1-on-1 protection for tight finish Hunter Henry, who angled towards the sideline as he ran upfield from the best slot and steered away from the single-high security.
- Aside from discovering Henry and Rhamondre Stevenson (13 mixed targets) in opposition to man protection, the Pats picked on Washington rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes, who had been benched in earlier video games. But Forbes held his floor, permitting two catches on seven targets and breaking apart two different passes.
- Smith-Schuster caught 5 of his six passes within the second half, together with a 20-yard shallow cross in opposition to zone protection that Jones unloaded within the face of stress within the third quarter. Jones had only one different completion in opposition to stress.
- Enough with the Smith-Schuster screens. He has no burst left and is averaging fewer than two yards per play on display screen catches. Enough.
- Time for excellent news: Stevenson, for a second straight week, regarded like his outdated self. He broke tackles in tight house and open house, then pulled away for the Patriots’ longest play of the season on his 64-yard landing.
- Stevenson primarily alternated drives with Ezekiel Elliott. While Elliott is a succesful again on all three downs, Stevenson affords an considerable improve. Their taking part in time cut up ought to be nearer to 2:1.
- Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien tried to leverage the defensive consideration Douglas has acquired by motioning him on the snap on Stevenson’s first few carries. It had little influence, as Stevenson went for eight yards on three carries.
- Rookie proper guard Sidy Sow was the one O-lineman to flee with a clear sheet. Sow has now strung collectively consecutive robust performances, making one marvel how far alongside he may be if the crew hadn’t labored him at proper sort out nearly all summer season.
- Left sort out Conor McDermott’s 4 allowed pressures had been on par with prior performances from the person he changed, Vederian Lowe. If Trent Brown can not recuperate in time to play Sunday in opposition to the Colts, the Patriots will face a significant mismatch in opposition to All-Pro defensive lineman DeForest Buckner.
- Personnel breakdown: 40% three-corner nickel package deal, 30% three-safety nickel, 29% dime, 1% greenback.****
Coverage snaps breakdown: 55% man, 45% zone
- Blitz fee: 21.2%
- Blitz efficacy: 9.7 yards allowed per dropback, 63% success fee allowed, TD
- Interceptions: S Kyle Dugger
- Pass deflections: S Jabrill Peppers 2, DL Christian Bamore 2, CB Jonathan Jones
- Pressure: LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (2 sacks), DL Deatrich Wise 2 (sack, hurry), Barmore (QB hit, hurry), LB Mack Wilson (2 QB hits), OLB Josh Uche (QB hit), S Jalen Mills (QB hit)
- Run stuffs: OLB Anfernee Jennings, Team
- Missed tackles: S Adrian Phillips 2, LB Jahlani Tavai, Mills, Dugger, Jennings
- Penalties: DB Brenden Schooler (facemask, holding), Jennings (offside), Wilson (offside)
- Were it not for a second-quarter fumble and mind-numbing red-zone interception earlier than halftime, the Commanders would have pulled away a lot earlier.
- They completed with 431 yards, the next success fee and higher explosive play fee than the Patriots, who scored thanks solely to mentioned fumble and a breakdown in run protection.
- Washington’s offense managed the road of scrimmage, profitable in cross safety (sub-20% stress fee allowed) and on the bottom in key conditions. They moved the chains on three of 4 third-and-short runs.
- The Commanders thwarted the Pats’ blitz-heavy sport plan with a well-disguised package deal of quick-hitters, and Sam Howell’s prolonged play brilliance. Facing 9 blitzes within the first half, he went 7-of-9 for 74 yards.
- Defensive play-caller Steve Belichick pivoted at halftime, calling simply two blitzes the remainder of the sport, however he received burned for a 33-yard landing on his last stress name. When the Pats didn’t blitz, they hardly received stress.
- Howell linked on six cross performs of 20-plus yards, two of which the Patriots allowed with an ineffective or undisciplined cross rush. The others stemmed from: Howell’s means to increase in opposition to a blitz, an ideal throw below stress to No. 1 receiver Terry McLaurin, poor protection angles and a foul protection gamble that allowed the aforementioned landing within the third quarter.
- Myles Bryant instructed the Herald he anticipated a shorter route idea on that play, so he made a late examine and flew as much as the road of scrimmage. There, he instantly misplaced to Jahan Dotson’s deeper route that resulted within the rating.
- Safety Adrian Phillips and defensive sort out Davon Godchaux additionally dropped into the identical quick zone because the Patriots did not time their 5-man rush that included a late-arriving Jabrill Peppers. Breakdowns sprung in every single place.
- Godchaux and Lawrence Guy had been repeatedly dealt with 1-on-1 inside, a significant no-no for this protection that usually asks its defensive tackles to manage two gaps.
- But no place group value the Patriots greater than the secondary. Phillips and Jalen Mills mixed for a missed sort out on Howell’s 24-yard scramble that allowed Washington to transform on third-and-24. Mills additionally took a foul angle on a 36-yard achieve for McLaurin.
- Cornerback J.C. Jackson received roasted on the line on a third-and-10 conversion to McLaurin within the second quarter (additionally on a blitz), whereas Jack Jones allowed three catches. Both gamers had been benched to start out the sport, with Jones lacking your complete first quarter. Jones didn’t end the sport.
- The secondary additionally did not squeeze routes on sure blitzes, most notably with rookie security Marte Mapu flying down within the first quarter properly after your complete proper facet of the sector was vacated on a second-and-10 zone blitz. Washington transformed with a 10-yard completion.
- Outside linebacker Josh Uche noticed simply 17 snaps and failed to manage his hole on the Commanders’ preliminary landing, a 9-yard run in his path. All of the Patriots’ current opponents have jumped on the probability to run at Uche when he enters the sport in non-passing conditions.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson
His 129 complete yards led all Patriots by a rustic mile. Stevenson additionally broke 4 tackles, considered one of his highest single-game totals this season.
WR Tyquan Thornton
Thornton received benched after three collection. He couldn’t separate from man protection and caught considered one of 4 targets. Poor route-running contributed to at least one incompletion, and his solely reception got here versus zone.
S Adrian Phillips
He performed 9 snaps and missed two tackles. Phillips’ efficiency has quickly declined this season.
Four penalties, two poor punt returns and a misplaced subject place battle. At least the rookie kicker has come round.
Statistics for passing depth, damaged tackles and missed tackles courtesy of Pro Football Focus.
*Explosive performs are outlined as runs of 12-plus yards and passes of 20-plus yards. Explosive play fee is likely one of the most strongly correlated metrics with wins and losses.
**Success fee is an effectivity metric measuring how usually an offense stays on schedule. A play is profitable when it features a minimum of 40% of yards-to-go on first down, 60% of yards-to-go on second down and 100% of yards-to-go on third or fourth down.
***11 personnel = one operating again, one tight finish; 12 personnel = one operating again, two tight ends; 21 = two halfbacks, one tight finish.
****Nickel protection = 5 defensive backs; dime protection = six defensive backs; greenback protection = seven defensive backs.