With the Patriots’ 2018 regular season concluded, let’s take a deeper look at how players performed as New England finished the year 11-5.
We’ll go through some of our favorite advanced stats and metrics from Pro Football Focus and highlight players who stood out positively and negatively.
All stats via Pro Football Focus.
— Tight end Jacob Hollister (20 percent), running back Sony Michel (12.5 percent), wide receiver Josh Gordon (11.1 percent) and wide receiver Julian Edelman (9.76 percent) led the Patriots in drop rate. Edelman had the most drops with eight.
— Running back Rex Burkhead, fullback James Develin and tight end Dwayne Allen didn’t have any drops. Tight end Rob Gronkowski had just a 4.08 percent drop rate, while Cordarrelle Patterson’s was just 4.55 percent.
— Patterson led Patriots receivers in wide receiver rating. Quarterback Tom Brady had a 141.8 passer rating while targeting Patterson, which ranked eighth among all NFL wide receivers. Phillip Dorsett’s WR rating was just 86.4 since Brady threw three interceptions while targeting him.
— Brady had a 104.1 passer rating on deep passes, completing 23-of-65 attempts for 714 yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions. Gronkowski led the Patriots in deep receiving yards. Chris Hogan led wide receivers in that metric.
— Wide receiver Josh Gordon ranked 14th among qualified wide receivers in yards per route run.
— Brady actually led the Patriots in sacks allowed with four. That usually means coverage sacks. Both left tackle Trent Brown and top reserve tackle LaAdrian Waddle gave up three sacks this season. Left guard Joe Thuney didn’t let up a single sack.
— Brown gave up 35 total pressures, which was most on the team. Among starting offensive linemen, Shaq Mason gave up the fewest pressures with 16, though center David Andrews let up the lowest pressure allowed rate at 2.55 percent. Backup interior offensive lineman Ted Karras gave up the second lowest pressure allowed rate at 2.91 percent. Waddle led offensive linemen with an 8.67 percent pressure allowed rate. Brown was tops among starters with a 5.76 pressure allowed rate. He also led offensive linemen with a 1.53-percent sack allowed rate. Brown was tops among starters with a .49-percent sack allowed rate.
— Brady was pressured on just 25.8 dropbacks, which was third lowest among 38 qualified quarterbacks. That means the Patriots’ pass protection was mostly superb this season, though Brady also had the fourth-fastest trigger finger in the NFL, releasing the ball, on average, in 2.51 seconds.
— With 4.07 average yards after contact and 11 avoided tackles on 63 touches, Patterson was the Patriots’ most elusive ball-carrier. Good things happened when Patterson got the ball in his hands.
— Rookie running back Sony Michel led Patriots ball-carriers with 25 avoided tackles.
— With 2 average yards after contact and just 12 avoided tackles on 181 touches, running back James White was the least elusive qualified ball-carrier.
— Edelman led Patriots ball-carriers in breakaway percentage. 65.4 percent of his rushing yards came on designed runs of 15 yards or more.
— Defensive end Trey Flowers was the Patriots’ most productive pass rusher with 7.5 sacks (six full sacks and three half sacks) and 65 total pressures. He was seventh among qualified pass rushers in PFF’s pass-rush productivity metric, which weights sacks.
— Among Patriots defenders with at least 100 pass-rush snaps, however, Flowers ranked third in pressure rate behind linebacker Dont’a Hightower and defensive end Adrian Clayborn.
— Flowers ranked first in sack rate above Deatrich Wise Jr. and John Simon.
— Rookie cornerback JC Jackson led Patriots defensive backs and all qualified cornerbacks with a 42 passer rating allowed. He was followed up by safety Duron Harmon (63.5), cornerback Stephon Gilmore (71.8), cornerback Jonathan Jones (87.8) and cornerback Jason McCourty (95.3) on the Patriots. Cornerback Eric Rowe let up the highest passer rating at 126.9.
— Harmon led the team with four interceptions. Gilmore and safety Devin McCourty each let up five touchdowns, while Jackson didn’t allow any.
— Gilmore let up the lowest completion percentage at 46.7 percent. Jackson allowed receptions on 52.4 percent of targets while Jason McCourty’s catch rate allowed was 58.9 percent.
— Gilmore was top 10 among qualified cornerbacks in most cover snaps per reception and fewest yards per cover snap.
— Jackson and Simon weren’t charged with a missed tackle all season.
— Defensive end Adrian Clayborn led the Patriots with .429 missed tackles per tackle.
— Linebacker Kyle Van Noy and rookie linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley led Patriots defenders (at least 100 snaps) with a 1.4 percent missed tackle rate (missed tackles per snap). Van Noy had the most missed tackles with 13. Among Patriots defenders with at least 500 snaps, Lawrence Guy was best with a .2 percent missed tackle rate. Hightower ranked 11th among qualified defenders in tackling efficiency with just two missed tackles all season.
— Flowers led Patriots defenders with 37 stops, which constitutes a “loss” for the offense. Van Noy was second on the team with 33 stops. All of Flowers’, Simon’s and Clayborn’s tackles were stops.
— Linebacker Elandon Roberts led Patriots defenders (over 100 snaps) with a 7 percent stop rate (stops per snap). Guy had a 5.8 percent stop rate. Flowers’ was 5.1 percent.
— Guy ranked fourth among qualified defenders in PFF’s run stop percentage metric.
For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, go to ProFootballFocus.com.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images