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Monday, December 6, 2010
Patriots' third-down D historically bad

By Tim Graham

There are all sorts of numbers to illustrate how suspect the New England Patriots' defense is.

They enter Monday night's home game against the New York Jets ranked 31st in yards per game, 16th in run defense and dead last in pass defense.

The Patriots' most dubious stat, however, is third-down efficiency. The Patriots not only are the NFL's worst this year, but also among the worst since the NFL-AFL merger.

The Patriots' defense has allowed opponents to convert nearly 51 percent of their third downs, a figure that would rank fifth-worst in the past 40 years.
No other defense is close to the Patriots in third-down forgiveness. The Buffalo Bills are next at 44.2 percent. To surpass the Bills, the Patriots would have to deny 22 straight third downs. That's just to creep up to 31st.

The Jets' offense is 15th in third-down offense at 39.6 percent and ninth in third-down defense at 35.9 percent.