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Patriots 2012 Regular Season By The Numbers

On the surface, it is easy for any fan to see just how good or bad of a season their team has had. Whether it be wins and losses or total points put up, some stats tell the story, god or bad, of the year of their favorite team.

What most fans fail to sometimes realize, however, is all the stats that go into making an NFL team successful. Here are a bunch you would never even think to remotely consider about the 2012 season of the New England Patriots.

You name it. If it can be statistically tracked in the NFL, it’s probably in this post.

0 – The number of wins the team had when their leading rusher was under 40 yards for the game (0-2).

0 – The Patriots had no two-point conversions on the year. Just kind of odd.

0.5 – Brandon Bolden averaged half a yard more per carry than Stevan Ridley did.

1 – The number of franchises to score 500 points four different times. New England accomplished that this year after 500-point seasons in 2007, 2010 and 2011 as well.

1 – The New England offense ranked first in the NFL in total yards, yards per game, points and points per game in 2012.

1 – Of the four members of the team who finished the year as the starting secondary, only one (Devin McCourty) was on the team last year. Alfonzo Dennard, Aqib Talib, Steve Gregory were the other three.

1 – Vince Wilfork‘s four forced fumbles were tied for first in the NFL.

1 – The number of full games that tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski were both on the field for the whole contest – the season finale against the Dolphins.

1 – The number of NFL quarterbacks to throw at least one touchdown pass in all 16 regular season games for three straight seasons – Tom Brady in 2010-12.

2 – The number of teams to ever win 10-plus games in 10 consecutive seasons – the Patriots became the second to accomplish that this year.

2 – Their two-game losing streak in Weeks 2 and 3 was tied for their longest losing streak since they lost four straight in the 2002 season.

2 – This season was the second time they have gone undefeated against the AFC East, joining the 2007 team.

2 – The number of teams to ever record 400 first downs in a season – the 2012 Pats and the 2011 Saints.

2 – The number of points that Stephen Gostkowski needed to tie the all-time single-season Patriots scoring record set by Gino Cappelletti in 1964.

3 – Pass plays in the NFL this season longer than Shane Vereen‘s 83-yard reception in Week 12.

3 – It had been three years since the Patriots lost four or more games in a season (10-6 in 2009).

3 – The Pats have scored 500-plus points in three consecutive seasons.

The Patriots' offense has been unstoppable in the three years since drafting this duo.

The Patriots’ offense has been nearly unstoppable in the three years since drafting this duo.

4 – New England had four different players lead the team in receiving in their 16 games – Brandon Lloyd (3), Wes Welker (9), Gronkowski (3) and Vereen (1).

4 – It was Brady’s fourth career season of throwing 30 or more touchdown passes, good for a tie for the fourth-most all-time.

4 – Welker finished four receptions behind league-leader Calvin Johnson, who had 122 on the year.

4 – The Patriots have made the playoffs in each of the last four seasons.

4 – The team had four different players lead them in rushing in their 16 games – Ridley (13), Bolden (1), Julian Edelman (1) and Danny Woodhead (1).

5 – There have only been five Patriots running backs to rush for 1,200 yards in the team’s history. Ridley became the fifth this year.

5 – Wilfork was elected to the fifth Pro Bowl of his career and will start on the defensive line for the AFC.

5 – The team has held its opponents to 20 points or less in five of six games since Nov. 18 (5-1).

6 – In 16 games, the Patriots only lost six fumbles.

6 – The Pats finished six spots higher in total defense this year compared to last season when they finished 31st in the league.

6 – New England has been a top-10 offense in the NFL for six straight seasons.

7 – The amount of consecutive games that Brady needs to throw a touchdown pass in to break the all-time record of 54.

7 – New England’s longest winning streak of the year from Week 7 through Week 14.

7 – The number of points that Brady’s total QBR trailed Peyton Manning‘s for tops in the league.

7 – McCourty was one of seven NFL players to return a kickoff more than 100 yards on the year.

7 – The team sent seven members to the Pro Bowl in 2012.

New England's seven Pro Bowlers in 2012 are the third-most in the league.

New England’s seven Pro Bowlers in 2012 are the third-most in the league.

7 – Last year’s NFL leader in interceptions, Kyle Arrington, had seven fewer interceptions in 2012 than a year ago. He had seven in 2011.

8 – The number of years it had been since the team had a 1,200-yard rusher before this year. Corey Dillon rushed for 1,635 yards in 2004.

8 – Rob Ninkovich led the team with eight sacks on the year.

8 – The Pats had eight return TD’s on the season.

9 – The number of games in which the starting offensive line of Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly and Logan Mankins were all on the field together.

9 – Brady now ranks ninth on the NFL’s all-time passing list with 44,806 yards. He needs 1,427 yards to pass Vinny Testaverde.

9 – Ridley finished the season as one of just nine non-kickers in the top-40 in the league in scoring.

9 – The team has a nine-game division win streak heading into next season.

10 – The number of consecutive 10-win seasons for the Patriots – the second longest such streak ever (16).

10 – The team scored 30-plus points 10 times in their 16 games in 2012 (8-2).

10 – The number of players who had a rushing attempt for the Pats in 2012 led by Ridley’s 290 carries.

10 – New England had 10 more sacks than it allowed in 2012.

11 – They also had 11 more interceptions than their opponents did.

11 – The combined number of points New England fell by in its four losses against the Cardinals (2), Ravens (1), Seahawks (1) and 49ers (7).

11 – The number of current and former Pro Bowl running backs that Ridley out-rushed in 2012.

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Patriots Running Back Bolden Suspended Four Games

Bold move: The NFL suspended Patriots running back, Brandon Bolden, on Friday after he tested positive for a performance-enhancing supplement.

Injured Patriots running back, Brandon Bolden, made news on Friday for something other than his injured knee or potential return to the playing field.

The NFL suspended the rookie from Ole Miss for four games without pay for violating the league’s substance policy with the use of an illegal performance-enhancing drug, according to the league. They declined to indicate what drug it was.

The hit leaves New England with just three running backs on the active roster. Bolden joins the newest Patriot, Aqib Talib, on the suspension list. Talib was acquired by the Patriots from Tampa last week and has one game remaining on a four-game suspension of his own.

Initial reports indicated that the drug may have been pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant commonly found in popular cold medications like Sudafed & Dimetapp, but the league declined to comment further than the announcement of the suspension.

Bolden burst on to the scene in the team’s Week 4 win against the Bills in which he exploded for 137 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, but has not played since leaving New England’s Week 6 game in Seattle with that injured knee.

He will be eligible to return to practice following the team’s Week 13 game against the Dolphins and can return to game action the following week against the AFC South leading Texans. He will miss games against the Bills (Sunday), Colts, Jets and Dolphins.

In six games this year, Bolden has run the ball well. He has carried 43 times for a total of 231 yards – most of which came in his breakout game against Buffalo – and two touchdowns.

The undrafted running back will forfeit $97,500 of his rookie salary, according to boston.com.

New England should be fine without their rookie in the backfield, however, as they will continue to ride second-year man, Stevan Ridley and mix in Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen against the terrible rush defense in Buffalo, which ranks 31st in the league through nine weeks of play, giving up an average of 169.5 rushing yards per game. Should they need him, they can always sign James Develin off the practice squad to fill the void.

The Patriots host the Bills (3-5) tomorrow at 1:00 in their first game since their demolishing of the Rams in London two weeks ago.

 

Follow me on Twitter @RealAndyLarmand.

Busy Bye Week Leaves Patriots Roster Shaken Up

The Patriots sure weren’t quiet during their bye week, bringing in new faces who included, most notably, cornerback, Aqib Talib.

Well, we’re in the midst of the annual worst week of the fall. No, I’m not talking about daylight saving time or the cancellation of the New York Marathon because of Hurricane Sandy smashing the East Coast or even the presidential election on Tuesday.

It’s the Patriots bye week. Unbearable – I know.

Usually, it’s just a week of hardly any exciting Pats coverage until they get back into practice after an empty Sunday of wishing they were on TV.

But, who says bye weeks can’t be interesting? This one certainly has been.

Once arriving back in the States, the team wasted hardly any time on reshaping its roster for the second half of the season, focusing on its depleted secondary as well as other areas of the defense.

On Tuesday, the team announced it had released linebacker, Bobby Carpernter. Carpernter, who was mostly used in a special teams roll, had been re-signed by the Pats on Oct. 3 and seen limited game action.

The next day, New England made four additional moves. They released tight end slash defensive end, Alex Silvestro, who they had re-signed on Oct. 3 as well and more notably, they waived cornerback and AFC Championship Game hero, Sterling Moore in an attempt to improve their secondary. Moore has since been signed to the team’s practice squad, according to a league source.

This leaves just Kyle Arrington, Devin McCourty (who have both struggled mightily), Marquice Cole and rookies Tavon Wilson and Alfonzo Dennard as reliable enough to play corner for the time being.

To fill the holes left by Silvestro and Moore, the Pats re-signed linebacker, Mike Rivera and safety, Derrick Martin. Rivera had been let go by the team on Sept. 19 and Martin on Aug. 31, with the group that included James Ihedigbo, Brian Hoyer, Dan Koppen and Deion Branch.

Then came the boldest and perhaps the most desperate move of the week. On Thursday, just before the NFL trade deadline, the Patriots traded for Buccaneers cornerback and former top-1o draft pick out of Kansas, Aqib Talib. The troubled Tampa star has had problems with both the league and the law as he has been arrested in the past as well as suspended.

In fact, the Patriots’ secondary won’t even get his help until Nov. 18 against the Colts because he is currently serving a 4-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Talib reportedly tested positive for Adderall, which he was illegally taking without a prescription.

To get him, the Patriots sent Tampa a 2013 4th round draft pick. They also received a 2013 7th round pick in the deal.

Less notably, New England also signed wide receiver, Jarred Fayson, to the practice squad on Thursday.

It was a busy week for the Pats and their front office after returning from London just before Hurricane Sandy barreled down on the state. Hopefully these transactions will be useful in the second half of the season as the Patriots sit at just 5-3 after the first eight weeks.

 

Follow me on Twitter @RealAndyLarmand

 

 

 

NFL Week Eight: Patriots vs. Rams in London

It’s time for the Patriots to push forth and head into the bye week with a AFC East leading 5-3 record.

Although CB/KR Devin McCourty was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week, the 25 year-old team captain had some interesting words to share upon on his crucial fumble late in the fourth quarter. After the 29-26 victory against the Jets, McCourty stated “My teammates saved my life today… Today was a total team win. We just kept fighting.  Things didn’t go our way the whole game. We made enough plays I think different than some games. Today, we made enough that we needed to get the win.”

If you take a look back at last week’s preview, the first key to victory was “Execute”. Did the Patriots turn the ball over and give the Jets a chance to run the clock down and kick a FG? Yes. Did the Jets drop a wide-open first down catch? Yes. Did Tom Brady and crew execute a two-minute drill to bring the game into overtime? Yes. Did we cause a turnover and win the game? Yes. Are Patriot fans spoiled? Yes.

The trials and tribulations of the 2012 New England Patriots are common for most teams around the league and fans need to realize this. Once again, the game came down to the last possession and this week it benefitted the Patriots.

Playing on a neutral field in London, the stingy St. Louis Rams have the next chance at upsetting New England down. But really, is any loss an upset this year? The Patriots played in London three years ago and won easily over the Buccaneers. Check out the following keys to victory for the Patriots’ matchup in the United Kingdom.

1) Feed the Gronk Monster: With Aaron Hernandez suffering a setback in practice this week, he did not travel to London with the squad. Hernandez’ absence is just one of seven players who have been ruled out on Sunday. Ras-I Dowling was placed on the season-ending IR this afternoon as he has struggled to stay on the field his whole career. Take a look below at the other Patriot inactives:

TE Aaron Hernandez

S Patrick Chung

RB Brandon Bolden

CB Ras-I Dowling

S Steve Gregory

LB Tracy White

DE Trevor Scott

Last week Gronk lead the way with 6 receptions (9 targets) for 78 yards and two TD. His timely receptions during the two-minute drill cemented a chance for Stephen Gostowski to bring the game into overtime. There aren’t many players that can stop him, they can only hope to contain. That is the number-one challenge that LB James Laurinaitis (69 tackles) and crew face on Sunday.

Hernandez gained 54 yards on 6 receptions (7 targets). With A-Hern out, expect Gronkowski to increase his production – as well as WRs Deion Branch and Julian Edelman. While showing flashes of greatness thus far, Brandon Lloyd has not kept up his pro-bowl reputation he earned in Denver. Last week he was targeted 8 times and hauled in one pass for six yards with multiple drops. There will be an unexpected x-factor in the offensive game plan this week. Thus stated, if Gronk can haul in another two touchdowns the Patriots will be rocking and rolling.

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Is The Patriots Offense Trying To Be Too Fancy?

Josh McDaniels

Josh McDaniels play calling has been criticized by some Patriots fans this season.

This season marked the return of Josh McDaniels as the Patriots offensive coordinator.  McDaniels was a part of some great Patriot teams before he left to become head coach of the Denver Broncos.  Now that he is back to play calling the offense, some Patriots fans can’t help but shake their heads on at least one play a game.  McDaniels always seems to call a trick play that does not work out.

Danny Woodhead is not a feature NFL running back but he is good in flashes and a nice third down back.  McDaniels seems to try and use Woodhead more than he should and it does not go well.  The Patriots are not the team to execute trick plays often and they are rare in the playbook.  The only Patriots defense lately is their offense continuing to pile on points to their opponents.  Trick plays that fail could kill a drive that could potentially take the pressure off the defense.  The defense may be able to stop the run, but the secondary is the worst in the league and after Mark Sanchez sprayed passes all over the defense Sam Bradford will hope for the same on Sunday in London.

Play calling has been questioned besides the trick plays as the Patriots cannot seem to decide when to successfully run the ball.  The offense will always be a pass first offense as long as Tom Brady is the quarterback.  Stevan Ridley has had a nice season so far and showed he can handle the load of being the main running back.  Ridley’s carries are rare in the fourth quarter as I feel they think he will fumble.  They need to place trust in their offense if they can’t place trust in the defense.

I repeat, Danny Woodhead cannot be a feature back in the NFL.  With Brandon Bolden injured, Woodhead and even Shane Vereen have been getting carries out of the backfield.  Bolden was a nice change of pace back who took what the defense gave him.  The offense has been good running the ball when the defense expects the pass, but has widely been questioned on how they will run the ball when the defense knows it is coming.

With Tom Brady ducking for cover where he may not have needed to the offensive line has become very important.  A huge concern coming into the season the offensive line has dropped on the list of concerns, as they have performed well nearly every week.  The Patriots fan should expect the same this week in London against the Rams.

Anarchy in the UK: Patriots Bash Bucs, 35-7

Safety Brandon Meriweather opened the scoring with an interception return versus the Bucs.

Safety Brandon Meriweather opened the scoring with an interception return versus the Bucs.

As exciting as the snowy blowout versus the Titans was, the blowout versus the Bucs was equally as boring.

If Commissioner Goodell wanted to showcase the sport to the United Kingdom, he should have pitted Manchester United versus the Patriots. They probably would have put up a better fight than the lowly Tampa Bay Bucs.

The Bucs are a far cry from the team that won the Super Bowl back in 2002. These are not your father’s Buccaneers that is for sure.

However, the 84,000 fans at Wembley stadium didn’t seem to care.

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