The New England Patriots may have won 37-31 against the Buffalo Bills, but all was not pretty in this game due to some terrible play from the usually strong front seven. It was an anomaly of a game for those guys, and Tom Brady gets my Week 10 game ball on the New England Patriots for doing an outstanding job in keeping the Pats ahead of the Bills to win it.
The basic statistics don’t fly off the charts at you, but the advanced statistics paint a more accurate and favorable picture of Brady’s game on Sunday. He completed 60.5% of his passes for 237 yards and just 6.2 yards per attempt, and he nearly threw two picks at the beginning of the game.
However, he bounced back perfectly from those near-interceptions and did not have the ball tipped by an LB or DB for the rest of the game. Tom Brady finished with two receiving touchdowns, and he should have had more if not for two dreadful drops from Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker. The latter receiver’s drop was the worst, because Brady called an audible specifically for Welker that worked perfectly- except Welk couldn’t hang on to the easy 34-yard pass in the end zone.
Welker had a disappointing game overall, because he could only catch six of the 11 passes thrown at him. He did not take advantage of a favorable match up, and the dropsies are back as Welker dropped two passes against the Bills. Lloyd made some clutch plays and Rob Gronkowski had a nice 24-yard reception and a touchdown catch, but the receiving was poor by the Patriots standards.
Deion Branch, in particular, was quite poor as he was- for some odd reason- targeted eight times. That led to an average of just 3.75 yards per attempt on throws directed towards Branch.
I love looking at ESPN’s statistic TQBR, because it cuts out all the noise and takes a closer look at how well the QB played. Brady’s TQBR was 87.5 (to go with a good 96.1 QB Rating), which is a great mark on a scale of 1 to 100 with 50 being average. He was clearly the most valuable player in this game, with a WPA of .48 and an EPA of 16.7. This means that he added nearly 17 points to the Patriots and gave them almost a 50% better chance of winning.
Tom Brady was fifth in WPA, third in EPA, and first in success rate % (shows his consistency).
Devin McCourty was a close runner-up, as he had a crucial interception, forced a fumble, and he only allowed one reception. Not only did he make more plays than anyone else on defense, but he was also nearly flawless in coverage. In a game where the front seven was terrible and the cornerbacks on the outside struggled, McCourty’s big game was all the more important. It’s almost a coin flip here.
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