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  1. #1
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    How do the Patriots defend the deep ball? Can Flacco have deep ball success against them?



    OK, the first thing I'm going to do is unload an enormous stat dump on you all. This is what the Patriots defenses have allowed in 2012 (including post-season against the Texans), color coded for each category where red means the offense is least likely to benefit, green meaning offense is most likely to benefit:

    1st Down
    Deep Left: 10/23, 246 Yards, 1 TD, 2 INT --> 43.5%, 10.7 Y/A, 61.1 QB Rating
    Deep Middle: 10/18, 293 Yards, 4 TD, 2 INT --> 55.6%, 16.3 Y/A, 100.5 QB Rating
    Deep Right: 13/25, 350 Yards, 5 TD, 0 INT --> 52.0%, 14.0 Y/A, 137.1 QB Rating

    2nd Down
    Deep Left: 6/12, 177 Yards, 0 TD, 1 INT --> 50.0%, 14.8 Y/A, 61.1 QB Rating
    Deep Middle: 5/10, 135 Yards, 1 TD, 2 INT --> 50.0%, 13.5 Y/A, 89.6 QB Rating
    Deep Right: 5/15, 118 Yards, 0 TD, 3 INT --> 33.3%, 7.9 Y/A, 23.1 QB Rating

    3rd Down
    Deep Left: 5/13, 131 Yards, 1 TD, 1 INT --> 38.5%, 10.1 Y/A, 69.7 QB Rating
    Deep Middle: 8/11, 215 Yards, 0 TD, 1 INT --> 72.7%, 19.5 Y/A, 76.9 QB Rating
    Deep Right: 5/14, 130 Yards, 1 TD, 1 INT --> 35.7%, 9.3 Y/A, 64.6 QB rating

    4th Down
    Deep Left: 1/1, 24 Yards, 0 TD, 0 INT --> 100.0%, 24.0 Y/A, 118.8 QB Rating
    Deep Middle: 0/1, 0 Yards, 0 TD, 0 INT --> 0.0%, 0.0 Y/A, 39.6 QB Rating
    Deep Right: 2/2, 45 Yards, 0 TD, 0 INT --> 100.0%, 22.5 Y/A, 118.8 QB Rating

    Total
    Deep Left: 22/49, 578 Yards, 2 TD, 4 INT --> 44.9%, 11.8 Y/A, 68.2 QB Rating
    Deep Middle: 23/40, 643 Yards, 5 TD, 5 INT --> 57.5%, 16.1 Y/A, 102.1 QB Rating
    Deep Right: 25/56, 643 Yards, 6 TD, 4 INT --> 44.6%, 11.5 Y/A, 93.1 QB Rating

    By Down
    1st: 33/66, 889 Yards, 10 TD, 4 INT --> 50.0%, 13.5 Y/A, 110.2 QB Rating
    2nd: 16/37, 430 Yards, 1 TD, 6 INT --> 43.2%, 11.6 Y/A, 56.0 QB Rating
    3rd: 18/38, 476 Yards, 2 TD, 3 INT --> 47.4%, 12.5 Y/A, 78.3 QB Rating
    4th: 3/4, 69 Yards, 0 TD, 0 INT --> 75.0%, 17.3 Y/A, 116.7 QB Rating

    All Deep Passes
    70/145, 1864 Yards, 13 TD, 13 INT --> 48.3%, 12.9 Y/A, 86.9 QB Rating

    Analysis
    I was surprised that their defense was actually this effective against the deep ball. They allow a very high completion percentage, but a 1-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio allowed is very good. Flacco has thrown only 2 interceptions on deep passes all season, and of course one of them came against the Patriots.

    Obviously the time to throw deep on the Patriots is first down. Caldwell ran the ball on first down almost exclusively in the second half last week. He'll have to take some shots down field on first down this week, because that's the Patriots biggest weakness. Second down is absolutely the wrong time to take a shot down field against the Patriots. There is potential for some success on third down, but it's clear that the Patriots can be caught off guard on first down, but are usually prepared to stop the deep ball on second and third down. Fourth down is too small a sample size to really learn anything from, but the few times offenses have tried throwing deep on them this year, it's worked out OK for them.

    A good thing for us here is that Flacco likes to throw the ball to the right side of the field on deep attempts, and he is also very effective throwing deep middle, and those are both vulnerable areas for the Patriots' defense. We should avoid the left side of the field at all costs, as this is where the Patriots' defense is strongest and Flacco's effectiveness is lowest, making for a really bad match-up.

    The right side of the field on first down is playing right into Flacco's wheel-house, and this Patriots defense is abysmal at stopping that play. Unfortunately, they do the best job defending the right side of the field on 2nd and 3rd downs, so we need to focus on the middle of the field in those situations.




  2. #2
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    Re: How do the Patriots defend the deep ball? Can Flacco have deep ball success against them?

    OK, Here is an updated look at Flacco's deep throwing stats for this season, broken down in the same way:

    1st Down
    Deep Left: 7/18, 165 Yards, 4 TD, 0 INT --> 38.9%, 9.2 Y/A, 112.3 QB Rating
    Deep Middle: 7/17, 186 Yards, 0 TD, 1 INT --> 41.2%, 10.9 Y/A, 57.5 QB Rating
    Deep Right: 10/20, 309 Yards, 3 TD, 0 INT --> 50.0%, 15.5 Y/A, 135.4 QB Rating

    2nd Down
    Deep Left: 3/13, 89 Yards, 0 TD, 0 INT --> 23.1%, 6.8 Y/A, 55.6 QB Rating
    Deep Middle: 7/13, 220 Yards, 3 TD, 0 INT --> 53.8%, 16.9 Y/A, 138.6 QB Rating
    Deep Right: 11/19, 372 Yards, 3 TD, 1 INT --> 57.9%, 19.6 Y/A, 120.1 QB Rating

    3rd Down
    Deep Left: 3/12, 83 Yards, 0 TD, 0 INT --> 25.0%, 6.9 Y/A, 55.9 QB Rating
    Deep Middle: 2/5, 64 Yards, 0 TD, 0 INT --> 40.0%, 12.8 Y/A, 87.5 QB Rating
    Deep Right: 9/19, 311 Yards, 2 TD, 0 INT --> 47.4%, 16.4 Y/A, 128.7 QB Rating

    4th Down
    Deep Left: 0/0, 0 Yards, 0 TD, 0 INT --> N/A%, N/A Y/A, N/A QB Rating
    Deep Middle: 0/0, 0 Yards, 0 TD, 0 INT --> N/A%, N/A Y/A, N/A QB Rating
    Deep Right: 0/1, 0 Yards, 0 TD, 0 INT --> 0.0%, 0.0 Y/A, 39.6 QB Rating

    Total
    Deep Left: 13/43, 337 Yards, 4 TD, 0 INT --> 30.2%, 7.8 Y/A, 90.9 QB Rating
    Deep Middle: 16/35, 470 Yards, 3 TD, 1 INT --> 45.7%, 13.4 Y/A, 108.9 QB Rating
    Deep Right: 30/59, 992 Yards, 8 TD, 1 INT --> 50.8%, 16.8 Y/A, 129.1 QB Rating

    By Down
    1st: 24/55, 660 Yards, 7 TD, 1 INT --> 43.6%, 12.0 Y/A, 120.5 QB Rating
    2nd: 21/45, 681 Yards, 6 TD, 1 INT --> 46.7%, 15.1 Y/A, 123.4 QB Rating
    3rd: 14/36, 458 Yards, 2 TD, 0 INT --> 38.9%, 12.7 Y/A, 105.1 QB Rating
    4th: 0/1, 0 Yards, 0 TD, 0 INT --> 0.0%, 0.0 Y/A, 39.6 QB Rating

    All Deep Passes
    59/137, 1799 Yards, 15 TD, 2 INT --> 43.1%, 13.1 Y/A, 120.5 QB Rating

    Analysis
    Flacco is obviously good at throwing deep. This breakdown shows that he can have success on every down and in any direction. That said, he has a couple of weak spots. Most notably, we want to avoid him throwing deep left on 2nd and 3rd down, and deep middle on 1st down. In general, we want him throwing deep right most often.

    The beauty of the match-up is that by far New England's biggest weakness is deep right on 1st down, which just so happens to be Flacco's biggest strength.

    There's another great match-up on 2nd down, as the Patriots are most vulnerable to the middle on second down, which also happens to be Flacco's best part of the field on second down.

    On 3rd down, there really isn't a great advantage for us. They are good at covering everything on third down, so Flacco should stick to the middle and right sides of the field where he is most comfortable in general.

    I expect the Ravens to throw deep right on first down a lot, and take some shots down the middle on second down. If we have to resort to long third down attempts, we may be in for a long game, so we have to make sure we're executing on those first and second down plays, both in the downfield shots and in the running attempts. We absolutely must minimize stupid penalties that set up eventual third and long situations, because the odds are stacked heavily against us if we get into those situations.
    Last edited by callahan09; 01-18-2013 at 01:00 PM.




  3. #3
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    Re: How do the Patriots defend the deep ball? Can Flacco have deep ball success against them?

    I predict a deep bomb to the right side of the field on the first play of the game. Given what I've outlined above, and if Jim Caldwell has researched this at all to the kind of extent that I have, you have to like those odds. If you can connect on it, you silence the crowd on the very first play. Punch 'em in the mouth and see if they ever get back up. Exactly like that 80 yard Rice TD did to them in 2009.




  4. #4

    Re: How do the Patriots defend the deep ball? Can Flacco have deep ball success against them?

    Pass to get ahead, run to win. Its not so much Caldwell, its Harbaugh's game......IMO.
    Way Down South in New Orleans




  5. #5
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    Re: How do the Patriots defend the deep ball? Can Flacco have deep ball success against them?

    Flacco throws around 7 or 8 deep balls per game, based on the averages (137 deep passes in 18 games so far). The offense runs about 65 plays per game. What I'm looking at here is that we are most likely to succeed at our deep ball attempts if we have most of them on first downs, with maybe a couple on second down. That should be the goal. Obviously game situations dictate these things, so if we're in a third and long situation we're going to throw deep on third down. But the plan should be to try to fit them into the early downs.

    We have about 29 first downs per game, so getting in maybe 5 or 6 deep balls on first down would only be about 17-20%. We could still mix it up with short passes and lots of running plays. We have about 22 second down situations per game, so having 2 or 3 more deep shots on those downs isn't out of the question either.

    The goal is to have a short field on third downs, so attempting deep passes on both first and second down back to back is a bad idea. We don't want to be forced into desperation heave-ho mode on third downs against this defense.

    Edit: And I think our offense understand all of this, because if you look at the numbers, Flacco attempts the most deep passes on first down, followed by second, and followed lastly by third down, with good success on first and second down, and less success on third down.




  6. #6
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    Re: How do the Patriots defend the deep ball? Can Flacco have deep ball success against them?

    If you've done all this research (good job) then wouldn't it also stand to reason that the Patriots have to? What if they're ready for the first play of first series long ball? Do we just not care and throw it anyway and trust our guys or do we fake a long one and then throw short and hope for YAC a la the Chargers 4 and 29?




  7. #7

    Re: How do the Patriots defend the deep ball? Can Flacco have deep ball success against them?

    I keep reading how since Talib has been playing their secondary is sooo much better. Yet I never see them analyze who they've played against since Talib has been starting.

    Colts - Reggie Wayne? He is good. Not what he used to be. Rookie QB playing in NE, Luck was in over his head.

    Jets - ummm...Jeremy Kerley? Ok...

    Dolphins - uhhh...Brian Hartline???

    Texans - Johnson, but we all know the Texans fell apart at the end of the season - they weren't the same team (Schaub turned to garbage).

    49ers - Crabtree has really come alive since Colin K. But I still doubt many teams fear Crabtree on his own

    Jaguars - ...Cecil Shorts?

    They have faced hardly any real WR talent. A lot of those guys are C level WRs. B level at best. Only Johnson scratches A level, and Schaub had been horrible to close out their season.

    Maybe just maybe their secondary has improved because they been playing teams that have poor WR squads? Or are run heavy (Texans/49ers).

    Hmmm...

    It's not like Talib was lining up against AJ Green or Megatron or Marshall. Demaryius Thomas burned them for 180 early on. He totaled 50 yards when he played us in TWO games.
    Last edited by bt12483; 01-18-2013 at 01:43 PM.




  8. #8

    Re: How do the Patriots defend the deep ball? Can Flacco have deep ball success against them?

    49ers - Crabtree has really come alive since Colin K. But I still doubt many teams fear Crabtree on his own

    Jaguars - ...Cecil Shorts?


    Crabtree ate them alive in that game with over 100 yards and two scores.

    Shorts missed the game against NE and he is legit. They did okay against Blackmon, though.

    Considering that Joe just attacked a future Hall of Famer who was having a great season before last week, I don't see any reason to fear Talib.




  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlh445 View Post
    If you've done all this research (good job) then wouldn't it also stand to reason that the Patriots have to? What if they're ready for the first play of first series long ball? Do we just not care and throw it anyway and trust our guys or do we fake a long one and then throw short and hope for YAC a la the Chargers 4 and 29?

    An interesting question. I turn your argument back on you though and say that if the Patriots studied and ascertained that we would have he highest chance of success throwing deep on the first play of the game, the they also could decide that we know that they know that and then assume we will exploit the short route while we assume they will cover the deep pass. So maybe they fake themselves into assuming we don't go for the easy ticket ? Who the heck knows haha. I think the smart thing to do on both teams is for them to try to take away the easy ticket on the first play, and for us to try o exploit and force them to prove they can stop it.




  10. #10

    Re: How do the Patriots defend the deep ball? Can Flacco have deep ball success against them?

    Quote Originally Posted by sopranocorleone View Post
    49ers - Crabtree has really come alive since Colin K. But I still doubt many teams fear Crabtree on his own

    Jaguars - ...Cecil Shorts?


    Crabtree ate them alive in that game with over 100 yards and two scores.

    Shorts missed the game against NE and he is legit. They did okay against Blackmon, though.

    Considering that Joe just attacked a future Hall of Famer who was having a great season before last week, I don't see any reason to fear Talib.
    So they didn't even play Shorts (who did have a nice year)? And played well against a rookie WR Blackmon? That further emphasizes the point that in the back end of the season they really didn't face a stout WR squad.

    And QBs such as Sanchez, Tannehill, Henne? Hell they barely played any top QBs all season. Manning...Wilson...Luck...Flacco...Colin. Turnover machine Fitzpatrick. Give me a break. Whoever the Cardinals started in their QB carousel that day (the AZ D won that game). I mean seriously...

    We played Eli/Cruz, Brady/Welker, Gronk and Llyod, Peyton/Decker and Thomas, Romo/Dez and Witten and Miles, RGIII/Garcon, Luck/Wayne, Rivers/Alexander, Vick/Maclin and Desean and Dalton/AJ Green.

    Forgive me if I am not overly impressed that their secondary slightly improved in the back end of the season against such weak QB/WR combo teams.
    Last edited by bt12483; 01-18-2013 at 01:59 PM.




  11. #11
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    Re: How do the Patriots defend the deep ball? Can Flacco have deep ball success against them?

    If you watch the 49ers game, they took plenty of deep shots against the Pats, thats one o fthe main areas they attacked. Arrington can't cover that well either, Jacksonville had some success against him, Dennard can be a liability in deep coverage too.




  12. #12
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    Re: How do the Patriots defend the deep ball? Can Flacco have deep ball success against them?

    Quote Originally Posted by callahan09 View Post
    An interesting question. I turn your argument back on you though and say that if the Patriots studied and ascertained that we would have he highest chance of success throwing deep on the first play of the game, the they also could decide that we know that they know that and then assume we will exploit the short route while we assume they will cover the deep pass. So maybe they fake themselves into assuming we don't go for the easy ticket ? Who the heck knows haha. I think the smart thing to do on both teams is for them to try to take away the easy ticket on the first play, and for us to try o exploit and force them to prove they can stop it.
    What if we know that they know that we know so they know we'll try it anyway but we know they'll do that so....hehehe. I say we just do it and see what happens lol.




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