Why The Jaguars Lost To The Patriots
Two weeks ago, the Jaguars entered the locker room with a 14-10 lead over the New England Patriots. They had shocked many with their defensive play, despite the close score. It seemed as if it the Jaguars game to lose. That is exactly what happened. This game was a true tale of two halves, as a different defense took the field in the second half for the Jaguars. After breaking down the numbers it was very apparent why the Jaguars lost to the Patriots and the key was, pressure Tom Brady.
Pressure Without Blitzing Is The Key To Beating The Patriots
Brady 67.6% ATS when he gets sacked 1 or 0 times
53.5% ATS if sacked 2 or more times#Jaguars 2 sacks and counting
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) January 21, 2018
It has been widely known that if you hit Tom Brady, he can become a little more erratic. While this is the case for the most quarterbacks, the Jaguars put this to the test in the AFC Championship.
In the first quarter, Brady was under pressure 22.2% of plays. While this may be a little lower than some teams, this pressure came with 0% of those plays being designed blitzes.
Brady ended the quarter with a 107.1 passer rating, yet it was clear that he was rattled. Throws were coming out early and he seemed to be on the ground after every play. This continued through the second quarter.
Again, the Jaguars defensive line led the way creating pressure on 38.9% of plays this quarter. And again, 0% of these plays were designed blitzing. Brady’s passer rating dropped dramatically to 67.1 facing consecutive quarters under fire from the Jaguars defensive line.
To break that down a little more, the Jaguars faced 17 pass attempts from Patriots in the first half of this game. Not a single time did they blitz Brady on these attempts. However, they were able to get pressure on over 30% of their plays. With the defensive line controlling the game, Brady struggled with full secondary coverage. His passer rating dropped, going 0-for-5 on 3rd down in the first half, and his team trailed at the half.
Pressure Is A Double-Edged Sword When Facing The Patriots If You Can’t Get Home!
Average NFL passer rating this year: 87.0
Tom Brady's passer rating UNDER PRESSURE this year: 96.6
Brady's passer rating under pressure is 10 points higher than the average NFL QB is on any given down.
And that's actually how you beat him.
Lol. Good luck
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) January 29, 2018
While pressure is the sure fire way to beat Tom Brady, he is also extremely good when pressured. You have to finish. You have to get hits on Brady and you have to disrupt the play. The Jaguars team in the second half found this out first hand. Whether they were tired or just switched up their gameplan, the defense in the second failed to pressure Brady.
This is not a joke. The Jacksonville Jaguars did not record a single pressure on the 3rd quarter of this game. ZERO. And a mere 17.6% of snaps were under pressure in the 4th. That is 21 pass attempts for the arguably the best Passing quarterback in NFL history who saw a clean pocket for 91.2% of the second half of the AFC Championship.
To add insult to injury, the Jaguars started blitzing to try to help their defensive line’s shortcomings. With next to no pressure from the line and now having to pull players from their linebackers corps and secondary directly influenced the outcome of this game.
Why Getting Pressure Should Not Be An Issue For The Philadelphia Eagles In Super Bowl LII
Look out Tom Brady! No team in the NFL put quarterbacks under pressure on more passing plays than the Eagles did in the 2017 regular season! pic.twitter.com/TFIdnwXsXw
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 29, 2018
The Eagles have been on what is being called a “Miracle Run” ever since Carson Wentz went down with a torn ACL and LCL. The Eagles high flying defense hasn’t allowed more than ten points in a game since December 17th match-up against the Giants. The game following Wentz’ injury.
In 2018, the Eagles defense has been nothing more than elite. Heading into Sunday’s matchup only allowing 8.5 points per game, an 18.5 point differential/game, and a tremendous red zone defense (16.67 %).
The Eagles defense will without a doubt be their ticket to Super Bowl triumph. Through the playoffs, collectively, the Eagles have created pressure on 44.3% of plays. That is means throughout the playoffs 37 of 84 pass attempts are under fire from this defensive unit. What is even more impressive is 53.9% of these pressures occurred in the second half of games.
If the Eagles are able to play with the lead, you can expect this trend to continue.
Eagles win this game. 27-17 on the backs of their defensive unit and a decent game from Nick Foles.
Fly. Eagles. Fly. On the road to victory.
Stats quoted in this article were provided by Pro Football Focus Elite.
Photo by apc99
Philadelphia 4-for-4 guy with an obsession with sports in general. Former writer for Philadelphia Eagles Nation, past CEO of Tha Sports Junkies 101, and founder of the fast growing Pro Sports Notes.