Home teams throttling Pats after halftime
November, 25, 2009
By Tim Graham | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Charles KrupaTom Brady and the Patriots have struggled in the second half while playing on the road.It's hard to debate Wembley Stadium not being a road game. The New England Patriots had to fly 3,200 miles to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were considered the "home team" in London. The Patriots frolicked, 35-7.
But when the Patriots have played on another team's home field this year, they have flopped.
The Patriots are 0-3 and are getting outscored, 50-10, after halftime in true road games.
That's a disturbing trend for a team venturing into one of the NFL's most festive settings Monday night. The Patriots will play the undefeated New Orleans Saints in the Superdome. It might get loud in there.
Every time the Patriots have played in their opponents' digs, they have faced an unbeaten team, led at halftime and lost.
- Week 2 at the Meadowlands, the 1-0 New York Jets outscored them 10-0 in the second half and won by seven points.
- Week 5 at Mile High Stadium, the 4-0 Denver Broncos outscored them 10-0 in the second half and won with a field goal in sudden death.
- Week 10 in Lucas Oil Stadium, the 8-0 Indianapolis Colts outscored them 21-10 in the second half and won by a point.
"Playing 60 minutes of football," quarterback Tom Brady said at his news conference Wednesday, "I think that's what every team is looking to do in the league -- to play consistently over the course of every play, every series, every punt, every kickoff, every offensive series, four-minute, two-minute, the situations.
"You have to be sharp. You have to be on it."
So what has been the difference?
Brady's a wise place to start. As a point of reference, he ranks fifth in the league with a 100.4 passer rating.
In the first half of his three true road games, he completed 61.5 percent of his attempts for 539 yards, four touchdowns and one interception for a 102.0 passer rating.
In the second half of those games he completed 54.3 percent of his passes for 261 yards, one touchdown and one interception for a 65.0 passer rating.
"The momentum changes can happen very quickly," Brady said. "Once you lose the momentum, it's like playing a different team the next time you go back out the next series. It's important when you have a team that's reeling. You have to keep piling it on so that they don't have an opportunity to come back, like we did against Tennessee. We just kept scoring and scoring.
"We've just had some games this year where we haven't done that and the other team has gotten back into the game, and we're the ones trying to claw back at the end. Believe me, it's something we're all focusing on, something that has been brought to our attention on a daily basis by our coach."