It’s time to take a deeper look at some of the numbers following the New England Patriots tough-to-swallow 41-34 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Not all the stats are pretty, but I always try to mix the good with the bad.
1. Brandon Deaderick hasn’t received much spotlight lately, but he did receive some bad publicity (and deservedly so) by the Pro Football Focus following a lackluster performance against the San Francisco 49ers. PFF put two Patriots on their “Had a Bad Day” team of the week, as both Stevan Ridley and Deaderick earned a spot on the list on the strength of a -3.2 graded day each.
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2. Meanwhile, Dont’a Hightower earned a spot on their Team of the Week after not allowing a single catch to be completed and earning a terrific +4.7 grade. PFF notes that the Pats rookie recorded four defensive stops, and he also chipped in with a couple tackles for loss. Hightower is only getting better as the season goes on, and he is going to be a very good linebacker in this league for a long time. He’s already been a huge impact rookie in New England, and he was just lights out against the run and in coverage on Sunday. To me, the latter is especially crucial going forward.
3. Tom Brady was a precise 8-11 on short and intermediate throws towards the middle of the field, with Aaron Hernandez snapping up three catches for 30 yards on four targets. Wes Welker was also key in that region with three receptions on four targets for 34 yards.
4. Welker, however, missed both deep throws to the right side of the field. Tom Brady was incredible on those types of throws, as Michael Hoomanawanui caught a 41-yard pass, Brandon Lloyd had two catches for 82 yards, and Aaron Hernandez hauled in a twenty yarder.
5. Ryan Wendell continues to receive press for what has been an incredible first year as a starter in this league. The New England Patriots center has turned into a mauling run blocker, and he received a +2.9 grade from PFF against stiff competition.
6. Chandler Jones had a rough game (-2.1 grade from PFF), as the Patriots struggled to just a sole QB hit from Rob Ninkovich in the game. Worse yet, the 49ers had 74 rushing yards on 16 carries when running it towards the left side (Jones’s zone). Let’s hope he can shake off the rookie wall, but I think Jones is still dealing with some ankle issues. One thing to note is that he didn’t struggle against the run the previous week, so he probably just had a rough game.
7. Colin Kaepernick only attempted five passes in the middle of the field.
8. Brandon Lloyd was the best wide receiver this week with ten receptions for 190 yards (19 yards per catch), 10.6 yards per target, and a 0.32 WPA and 14.9 EPA.
9. Stevan Ridley had a -15.3 EPA.
10. Rob Ninkovich and Jerod Mayo set game highs with seven successful plays each.
11. Give credit to the guys on the inside (especially Wendell and Logan Mankins) for paving the way for 80 rushing yards up the middle.
12. Jerod Mayo stifled the middle of the field and the 49ers left side with ten tackles in those zones in another assured performance at the linebacker position. There is no doubt that he is deserving of a Pro Bowl bid.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.