Breaking down the defensive statistics


Last week I had a blog post giving a quick look at Patriots’ team and individual stats through the first 15 games of the season.

Reader Michael W. emailed to ask if I could break down the stats of the Patriots defense; he argued that there’s been a lot of talk about the growth of this young defense and wondered if the stats back up the belief — or the visual evidence — that it has gotten better.

So here are some defensive stats for each quarter of the season; unfortunately I can’t compare how New England did for each quarter relative to the other 31 teams during that segment, but you can take a look at how their numbers have changed and improved:


Games 1-4 (Cincinnati, at Jets, Buffalo, at Miami)
Total yards per game: 384.5
Rushing ypg: 113.0
Passing ypg: 271.5
3rd-down efficiency: 29 of 53, 54.7 percent
Points per game: 24.0
Takeaway/giveaway: plus-4 (8 takeaways, 4 giveaways)

Games 5-8 (Baltimore, at San Diego, Minnesota, at Cleveland)

Total yards per game: 388.5
Rushing ypg: 123.0
Passing ypg: 265.5
3rd-down efficiency: 23 of 55, 41.8 percent
Points per game: 23.0
Takeaway/giveaway: plus-1 (6 takeaways, 5 giveaways)

Games 9-12 (at Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, at Detroit, Jets)

Total yards per game: 400.0
Rushing ypg: 107.0
Passing ypg: 293.0
3rd-down efficiency: 26 of 52, 50 percent
Points per game: 20.3
Takeaway/giveaway: plus-9 (9 takeaways, 0 giveaways)

Games 13-16 (at Chicago, Green Bay, at Buffalo, Miami)
Total yards per game: 293.3
Rushing ypg: 89.8
Passing ypg: 203.5
3rd-down efficiency: 21 for 50, 42 percent
Points per game: 11.0
Takeaway/giveaway: plus-14 (15 takeaways, 1 giveaway)

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