The historical context of the Patriots’ recent ‘one-sided’ performances
The New England Patriots’ last three games have all looked somewhat similar. They lost 10-6 to the Indianapolis Colts heading into their bye week, followed by a 10-7 loss to the New York Giants last week. This week, it was a 6-0 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
So no, these games haven’t been ‘one-sided’ in the sense that they’ve been blowouts. They’re ‘one-sided’ because only one side of the ball is making plays.
Just how ‘one-sided’ have these efforts been? Following Sunday’s loss, a few eye-popping stats came to the forefront.
To start, the Patriots are the first NFL team to lose three games in a row despite allowing 10 or fewer points in each since the 1938 Chicago Cardinals. They Cardinals ended up losing a record four such games in a row that year, and finished the season 2-9, good for fifth place in the NFL’s Western Division.
Catching up to more modern times – the Patriots have allowed a total of 26 points over the last three games. They are the first team to have such a stretch this year, which the defense deserves credit for. Sure, they played lesser offenses in two of those three games and the Chargers’ eighth-ranked offense had to visit Gillette Stadium in a rain storm, but it’s not like the Patriots are the only team to have bad offenses on their schedule. Statistically, this has been one of the best stretches of defensive football in 2023.
How do these stretches usually go? In the last 10 years, there have been 34 instances (including this Patriots stretch) of a team allowing 26 or fewer points in a three game span. Of the previous 33, 30 went 3-0. The remaining three had one slip-up, and went 2-1.
The Patriots, allowing the same number of points in the same span, just went 0-3. Not only that, their 13 collective points scored on offense during that time is a new low number among all 34 of those teams. The previous low was 56 by the 2018 Ravens, who went 2-1 in an early October run that included an overtime loss.
This is the 13th-such stretch the Patriots have had in the Bill Belichick era. They won all three games during the previous 12, including a three-game winning streak last year against the Jets, Colts, and then the Jets again. Offensively, they scored 58 points in those three games.
Will the Patriots kick this slide next week? They’ll only have a short time to get ready, with a Thursday Night Football matchup on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers next up on their schedule.