Thursday, December 9, 2010
Throwing around some numbers
By ESPN Stats & Information
A few facts and figures on the Patriots heading into Sunday’s game against the Bears in Chicago:
* NEXT-LEVEL: Since the departure of Randy Moss, the Patriots’ passing game has been retooled, but not necessarily reinvented. Tom Brady and company still lead the league in passer rating and touchdowns on throws within 14 yards of the line of scrimmage and have yet to throw an interception on such a pass this season. The unit will be tested on Sunday as the Bears rank second in the NFL in passer rating allowed on throws 14 yards or fewer downfield through Week 13 (74.0).
* NEXT LEVEL: Brady has thrown 19 TD passes this season on throws of 10 yards or shorter, 4 more than the next highest total (Peyton Manning, 15). Brady is going up against a Bears defense that has allowed just 4 TD passes on throws of 10 yards or shorter, fewest in the league.
* NEXT-LEVEL: In 2009, 18 of Jay Cutler’s league-high 26 interceptions and 45.4 percent of his dropbacks came out of shotgun formations. This season, Jay Cutler has taken more snaps from under center and his rate of interception has been drastically reduced. Entering Week 14, Cutler leads the NFL in touchdowns (16) and first downs (112) from under center. Expect the Bears to continue the trend on Sunday as the Patriots allow 69.3 percent of passes to be completed when the opposing quarterback starts under center (third-highest in NFL).
* NEXT-LEVEL: After the Patriots traded Randy Moss, Tom Brady had some new weapons to get used to. Brady completed 55 percent of his passes to Deion Branch and Danny Woodhead in the first four games without Moss. Since then, Brady has completed 81.8 percent of his passes to those two with nearly half of those completions coming in the middle of the field. The trend will be tested on Sunday as the Bears lead the league in passer rating against throws down the middle this season (71.2) including seven interceptions in their last six games.
* Since Tom Brady's first season as a starter, the Patriots are 34-5 in December, best in the NFL. That includes a 19-1 record at home. That lone loss? Dec. 22, 2002 when the Jets scored 13 unanswered to win 30-17 as Brady managed only 133 passing yards. Since then, the Patriots have won 16 straight December home games.
* The Patriots have scored at least 30 points without committing a turnover in each of their last four games, making them the first NFL team ever to fashion a streak of that type. (Elias Sports Bureau)
* Brady has thrown at least two touchdown passes without throwing an interception in each of his last five games, tying the second-longest streak of that kind in NFL history. Don Meredith had a six-game streak of that kind spanning the 1965 and 1966 seasons and Joe Theismann had a five-game streak in 1983. (Elias Sports Bureau)