After yesterday’s 34-31 loss to the Buffalo Bills where QB Tom Brady threw 4 interceptions and the defense couldn’t come up with critical stops at critical times, one has to wonder what this team can do without Brady playing with perfection. If yesterday was an indication, it’s not much. Part of that could lay in the play calling. The Pats ran the ball only 26 times (one being a Brady scramble, so really 25) and threw the ball 45 times, despite the fact that they took a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
But the numbers go beyond yesterday’s loss.
Over the first three games, using the official game book stats, the Pats have passed the ball 133 times and have run the ball only 73 times. Of course, you can’t simply back off and run, run, run because you have a lead, but the run could certainly be featured more in the play calling. I, along with many, thought that the run would be featured more this year. The Pats brought back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, and Kevin Faulk (currently on PUP), and drafted Shane Vereen (2nd round) and Stevan Ridley (3rd round). The horses are there the carry the rock, but they’re not being called on much.
Stevan Ridley made the most of his 7 carries yesterday, gaining 44 yards (6.3 ypc). Aside from mixing up the play calling and taking some heat off of Brady, the running game would give the struggling defense more of a breather in between series and eat up clock. It would also make Brady’s play-action pass much more deadly, because I don’t think defenses are going to fall for it much if the Pats don’t actually run. Of course, I could be crazy.
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