Mark Twain made it clear there are lies, damned lies and statistics.
Bill Belichick isn’t having any of it.
That’s not to say Belichick gets wrapped up in stats over all else. Or that he cares much for the stats that point out just how terrible the Patriots’ pass defense really is.
But the coach does have some favorite numbers.
“Points, turnovers, red area,” Belichick named as notable. “I would say I’d put those in that order at the top. … Whichever side of those you’re on, they’re important.”
So how have the Patriots performed in those three areas? Call it “mixed.”
Yes, they score — but the 30-point streak is over. They haven’t tallied more than 20 in any of their last three times out, resulting in one last-minute win and two losses.
Averaging 27.4 points per game, the Pats rank fourth in the NFL.
What about red zone efficiency? That’s been pretty good, too.
The Pats have 23 touchdowns on 36 trips to the red zone, good for a 63.9 percent success rate — fourth in the league.
When it comes to keeping teams from scoring in the red zone, the Pats ‘D’ ranks 16th, giving up 18 touchdowns in 34 chances. They have, however, surrendered the most points (155).
Finally, there’s turnover differential. Last season the Patriots had a plus-28, by far the best in the league in that ratio. This season? They’re currently just even with 14 give-aways and 14 takeaways — a ranking tied for 15th.
There’s your problem.