Leafing Through Pages: Analysis of Sports and Other Topics

01/20/2011

New England Patriots: Team Stat Comparison From 2001-2010

Here’s a comparison of the New England Patriots from 2001 through their 2010 regular season.

2001: Won Super Bowl
QBs: Threw 482 times for 21 TD vs. 15 INT and 46 Sacks.
RBs/FBs: Antowain Smith carried 287 times for a 4.0 YPC and 12 TD.
WRs: Troy Brown had 101 catches, David Patten had 51 catches, Terry Glenn and Charles Johnson had 14 catches.
TEs: Jermaine Wiggins had 14 catches and Rod Rutledge had 5 catches.

Defensively the team had 39 Sacks (6-7 from Bobby Hamilton, Anthony Pleasant, and Willie McGinest) along with 22 INT.

2002: Missed Playoffs
QBs: Threw 605 times for 28 TD vs. 14 INT and 31 Sacks.
RBs/FBs: Antowain Smith carried 252 times for a 3.9 YPC and 6 TD.
WRs: Troy Brown had 97 catches, David Patten had 61, and Deion Branch had 43 catches.
TEs: Christian Fauria had 27 catches and Daniel Graham had 15 catches.

Defensively the team had 33 Sacks (4 players had 4.5 to 5.5) along with 18 INT.

2003: Won Super Bowl
QBs: Threw 537 times for 23 TD vs. 13 INT and 32 Sacks.
RBs/FBs: Antowain Smith had 182 carries with a 3.5 YPC and 3 TD. Kevin Faulk had 178 carries for a 3.6 YPC and 0 TD.
WRs: Deion Branch had 57 catches, Troy Brown had 40 catches, and David Givens had 34 catches.
TEs: Daniel Graham had 38 catches and Christian Fauria had 28 catches.

Defensively the team had 41 Sacks (Mike Vrabel and Richard Seymour at 9.5 and 8) along with 29 INT (Ty Law and Tyrone Poole had 6 each).

2004: Won Super Bowl
QBs: Threw 485 times for 29 TD vs. 14 INT and 26 Sacks.
RBs/FBs: Corey Dillon had 345 carries for a 4.7 YPC and 12 TD.
WRs: David Givens had 56 catches, David Patten had 44 catches, and Deion Branch had 35 catches.
TEs: Daniel Graham had 30 catches and Christian Fauria had 16 catches.

Defensively the team had 45 Sacks (Willie McGinest at 9.5, 3 others at 5.0-5.5) and 20 INT.

2005: Lost Divisional Round
QBs: Threw 564 times for 28 TD vs. 15 INT and 28 Sacks.
RBs/FBs: Corey Dillon had 209 carries for a 3.5 YPC and 12 TD
WRs: Deion Branch had 78 catches, David Givens had 59 catches, and Troy Brown had 39 catches.
TEs: Ben Watson had 29 catches and Daniel Graham had 16 catches.

Defensively the team had 33 Sacks (Willie McGinest and Roosevelt Colvin had 6 and 7 Sacks) along with 10 INT.

2006: Lost AFC Title Game
QBs: Threw 527 times for 25 TD vs. 12 INT and 29 Sacks.
RBs/FBs: Corey Dillon had 199 carries for a 4.1 YPC and 13 TD. Laurence Maroney had 175 carries for a 4.3 YPC and 6 TD.
WRs: Reche Caldwell had 61 catches, Troy Brown had 43 catches, and Doug Gabriel had 25 catches.
TEs: Ben Watson had 49 catches and Daniel Graham had 21 catches.

Defensively the team had 44 Sacks (Jarvis Green and Ty Warren had 7.5 and Roosevelt Colvin had 8.5) along with 22 INT.

2007: Lost Super Bowl
QBs: Threw 586 times for 50 TD vs. 9 INT with 21 Sacks.
RBs/FBs: Laurence Maroney had 185 carries for a 4.5 YPC and 6 TD.
WRs: Wes Welker had 112 catches, Randy Moss had 98 catches, and Donte Stallworth had 46 catches.
TEs: Ben Watson had 36 catches and Kyle Brady had 9 catches.

Defensively the team had 46 Sacks (Mike Vrabel had 12.5. Adalius Thomas and Jarvis Green had 6.5 each) along with 19 INT.

2008: Missed Playoffs
QBs: Threw 534 times for 21 TD vs. 11 INT with 48 Sacks.
RBs/FBs: Sammy Morris had 156 carries for a 4.7 YPC and 7 TD.
WRs: Wes Welker had 111 catches, Randy Moss had 69 catches, and Jabar Gaffney had 38 catches.
TEs: Ben Watson had 22 catches and David Thomas had 9 catches.

Defensively the team had 30 Sacks (Richard Seymour had 8) along with 14 INT.

2009: Lost WildCard Game
QBs: Threw 592 times for 28 TD vs. 13 INT with 18 Sacks.
RBs/FBs: Laurence Maroney had 194 carries for a 3.9 YPC and 9 TD.
WRs: Wes Welker had 123 catches, Randy Moss had 83 catches, and Julian Edelman had 37 catches.
TEs: Ben Watson had 29 catches and Chris Baker had 14 catches.

Defensively the team had 31 Sacks (Tully Banta-Cain had 10) along with 18 INT.

2010: Lost Divisional Game
QBs: Threw 507 times for 37 TD vs. 5 INT with 25 Sacks.
RBs/FBs: BenJarvus Green-Ellis carried 229 times for a 4.4 YPC and 13 TD.
WRs: Wes Welker had 86 catches, Deion Branch had 48 catches, and Brandon Tate had 24 catches.
TEs: Aaron Hernandez had 45 catches and Rob Gronkowski had 42 catches.

Defensively the team had 36 Sacks (Tully Banta-Cain had 5 and Mike Wright had 5.5) along with 25 INT (Devin McCourty had 7).

Overall Thoughts: The concept of the Patriots returning to their roots during the 2010 season wasn’t just coach speak or fan speak. Tom Brady threw the ball less, the Patriots relied on a RB to really carry the load for them in Green-Ellis, and the Patriots spread the ball around to a variety of receivers.

It seems that the next steps in returning to their roots completely are to obtain/groom a 3rd and maybe 4th receiver who can get 20-30 catches and improve the pass rush with a goal of topping 40 Sacks.

01/18/2010

Troy Aikman Game Manager During the Cowboys’ Super Bowl Runs

Many fans love to point out that Troy Aikman was a game manager QB for the Dallas Cowboys throughout the 1990’s, especially during their Super Bowl runs from 1992 through 1995 when the team largely relied on RB Emmitt Smith and a great defense. Let’s parse through his game logs though to see if we can get a more accurate picture, including his postseason performances.

1992 NFL Season
Troy would throw for a career high 23 TD during this season on 473 pass attempts in total, along with 3445 yards.

– Troy would throw for more than 230 yards in 9 games during the season, and have 3 other games where he would throw for 216, 214, and 214 yards.
– Troy would throw for at least 2 TD in 8 games during the season, winning all of them except a 20-17 loss to Washington in Week 14
– Troy had 4 games where he threw for less than 200 yards but struggled in 3 of them, despite Dallas going 4-0 as a team. He would throw 3 TD vs. 5 INT in those 4 games, with Week 16 culminating in a 10 of 20 for 78 yards performance at home against Chicago.

Against Philadelphia in the playoffs, Troy would go 15 of 25 for 200 yards and 2 TD. He would also run for 13 yards. Against San Francisco, he would go 24 of 34 for 322 yards with 2 TD. His 2nd TD would ice the game for Dallas, giving them the 30-20 win. In the route of Buffalo in the Super Bowl, Troy would go 22 of 30 for 273 yards and 4 TD, while running for 28 more yards. He would throw 2 TD passes that would extend the Cowboys lead from 14-10 to 28-10.

1993 NFL Season
Troy would throw for only 15 TD but on 392 attempts and still throw for 3100 yards during the regular season.

– Troy would start the year off by throwing for 267, 297, 281, 317, 245, and 243 yards before recording just 2 games over 200 yards in the latter half of the season. During the early stretch, the Cowboys would start off with a 4-2 record and Troy would have 5 TD against 2 INT.
– Against San Francisco, Troy’s TD pass would push the Cowboys to a 23-17 lead before a FG would ice the game.

The playoffs would again reflect Troy’s role during the season. Against Green Bay, he would go 28 of 37 for 302 yards with 3 TD and 2 INT. His 3 TD would push the Cowboys from being down 3-0 up to a 24-3 lead in the 3rd quarter. Against San Francisco, Troy played caretaker and was 14 of 18 for 177 yards with 2 TD. His 2 TD, however, would essentially ice the game as they gave Dallas a 28-7 lead at halftime. In the Super Bowl against Buffalo, Troy would go 19 of 27 for 207 yards with 1 INT and largely let Emmitt Smith wear down the Bills.

1994 NFL Season
Troy would throw just 361 passes for 2676 yards and 13 TD against 12 INT while seeing his role fluctuate for the second straight season.

– Troy again started the season off hot, with 4 of his first 5 games throwing for over 200 yards. The Cowboys would go 4-1 over that stretch while Troy would have 6 TD vs. 3 INT. Troy would finish the season with 7 games over 200 yards.
– Troy got sparse attempts in 3 different games that largely hurt his overall season totals. He had 5 attempts against Arizona (with 1 TD), 13 attempts against Washington, and 11 attempts against the Giants at the end of the season. Take those games out and Troy would have 12 TD in only 11 full games.
– Troy again wouldn’t put up stats but his TD passes would occur at critical times. Against Philadelphia, 2 straight TD passes would push the Cowboys lead from 7-7 to 21-7 at the start of the 4th quarter.

In the playoffs, Troy would be leaned on heavily. Against Green Bay, he would go 23 of 30 for 337 yards with 2 TD against 1 INT. His 2nd TD pass would largely ice the game, pushing the Cowboys lead to 28-9 entering the 4th quarter. In a famous game against San Francisco, Troy would struggle throughout going 30 of 53 for 380 yards with 2 TD but also throw 3 INT. His final TD would pull the lead to 38-28, the final score.

1995 NFL Season
Under Barry Switzer, Troy’s reigns would be freed once again and he would respond by throwing for 3304 yards and 16 TD on 432 pass attempts.

– Troy would have 10 games over 200 yards and 5 games with more than 245 yards passing.
– Once again, Troy would have his usual hot start before settling down in the second half. In 6 games, not including his injured appearance against Washington, he would throw for over 200 yards in every game except a 196 performance at home against Denver. He would throw 7 TD against just 1 INT in that stretch. He would throw for 228, 196, 246, 251, 316, and 222 yards in that run.
– Troy would have 2 games where he amassed 9 total pass attempts. Take those out and he has a more impressive 16 TD in only 14 games, throwing for 2 TD in 5 of them.
– Troy’s TD passes would again force teams to play catch up, allowing the Cowboys to grind the game out. Against Denver, his 2nd TD pushed the lead to 21-7 in the 3rd quarter. Against Green Bay, his 2nd TD would push the lead to 24-3 in the 3rd quarter. Against Atlanta on the road, his 2 straight TD passes would bring the Cowboys back from 10-7 up to a 21-10 lead in the 3rd quarter. His 2nd TD pass against Kansas City would push the lead to 21-6 in the 3rd quarter.

Once again, in the playoffs Troy would show his efficiency and passing ability. Against Philadelphia, he was 17 of 24 for 253 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. His lone TD pass would really ice the game, giving the Cowboys a 30-3 lead in the 4th quarter. Against Green Bay, he would go 21 of 33 for 255 yards and 2 TD. Despite being down 27-24, he’d help Dallas on 2 TD drives culminating in an Emmitt Smith 5 yard TD run and a 16 yard TD run. In the Super Bowl against Pittsburgh, he again played caretaker going 15 of 23 for 209 yards and 1 TD. His lone TD pass would give the Cowboys an early 10-0 lead in the 1st quarter.

From 1992 through 1995 did Troy play game manager? Somewhat but a large percent of the games were usually blowouts by the 3rd quarter, allowing the Dallas Cowboys to grind the ball out with Emmitt Smith. Troy’s “game managing” came in the form of icing games and putting the proverbial dagger through an opponent’s heart with a key TD pass that would allow the Cowboys the space to start grinding games to a close.

Troy also displayed evidence that he was somewhat limited in the second half of seasons, particularly starting in 1992 when the Cowboys would make their first Super Bowl appearance. If he had been given the keys off his hot start during an entire season, I’m fairly certain that Troy could have thrown for 3,500+ yards and 25 TD. Troy would throw for 23 TD on 473 attempts in 1992 and 19 TD on 518 attempts in 1997. Compare those attempt totals to guys like Brett Favre – 471 and 513 with 18 TD and 35 TD in those seasons or Steve Young – 402 and 356 attempts with 25 TD and 19 TD.

Troy’s garnered the game manager label much like Tom Brady earlier in his career and Ben Roethlisberger earlier in his career. He’d put up the yardage numbers but wasn’t asked to throw a lot of his TD passes at the goal line and thus was not getting 20 or more TD passes a season. Troy’s numbers in most of his playoff outings and SB appearances prove that he could throw for yardage and TDs when he was asked to but more often than not, he wasn’t leaned on because Dallas did have Emmitt Smith on those teams.

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