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14 Jun 2018

2017 Defeats

by Vincent Verhei

Our look back at 2017 data continues. Today we are going to focus on defeats, and what they can tell us about some of the best defenders in the league. We have lots of statistics to measure quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, even kickers, but our numbers for individual defensive players are a lot more limited. Defeats are one way to account for defenders who make frequent appearances on highlight reels.

As a reminder, a defender is credited with a defeat any time he makes one of the following plays:

  • A tackle that results in a loss of yardage, including sacks.
  • Any play that results in a turnover, including tipped passes which are then intercepted.
  • Any tackle or tipped pass that leads to a stop on third or fourth down.

Your leader in defeats for 2017 is a pass-rusher who finally lived up to his status as a first-round draft pick. Unfortunately for the team that drafted him, it happened two years after they traded him away.

Most Defeats, All Positions, 2017
Team Player Pos Pass
Team Player Pos Pass
ARI 55-C.Jones ER 19 14 33 CLE 53-J.Schobert LB 8 14 22
JAX 93-C.Campbell ER 22 10 32 MIN 55-A.Barr LB 13 9 22
CLE 58-C.Kirksey LB 18 13 31 HOU 41-Z.Cunningham LB 13 9 22
HOU 90-J.Clowney ER 14 17 31 PIT 31-M.Hilton CB 12 10 22
CAR 59-L.Kuechly LB 11 19 30 BAL 99-M.Judon ER 12 10 22
ATL 45-D.Jones LB 20 8 28 LAC 99-J.Bosa ER 14 8 22
PIT 50-R.Shazier LB 16 12 28 LAC 54-M.Ingram ER 13 9 22
SEA 54-B.Wagner LB 12 15 27 DET 27-G.Quin SAF 16 5 21
JAX 50-T.Smith LB 12 15 27 NYJ 33-Ja.Adams SAF 10 11 21
WAS 53-Z.Brown LB 12 14 26 LAC 37-J.Addae SAF 12 9 21
TEN 59-W.Woodyard LB 14 12 26 CLE 52-J.Burgess LB 8 13 21
BAL 57-C.Mosley LB 12 13 25 OAK 52-K.Mack ER 13 8 21
NYJ 56-D.Davis LB 12 13 25 WAS 91-R.Kerrigan ER 16 5 21
MIN 54-E.Kendricks LB 15 10 25 SEA 72-M.Bennett ER 10 11 21
DEN 58-V.Miller ER 13 12 25 MIA 20-R.Jones SAF 9 11 20
GB 50-B.Martinez LB 12 12 24 DAL 31-B.Jones SAF 14 6 20
PHI 55-B.Graham ER 13 11 24 MIA 47-K.Alonso LB 13 7 20
JAX 20-J.Ramsey CB 21 2 23 PHI 53-N.Bradham LB 12 8 20
TB 54-L.David LB 12 11 23 PHI 21-P.Robinson CB 16 4 20
OAK 51-B.Irvin ER 14 9 23 DAL 50-S.Lee LB 7 13 20
PIT 97-C.Heyward DL 14 9 23 2TM 53-N.Bowman LB 8 12 20
NO 94-C.Jordan ER 19 4 23 NYG 90-J.Pierre-Paul ER 13 7 20
DAL 90-D.Lawrence ER 18 5 23 MIN 97-E.Griffen ER 15 5 20
CLE 26-D.Kindred SAF 7 15 22 BAL 55-T.Suggs ER 14 6 20
All players with at least 20 defeats.

Chandler Jones had 36.0 sacks in four years after the New England Patriots selected him 21st overall out of Syracuse in 2012. He was going into the last year of his contract in 2016, and New England chose to move him out of town rather than deal with the impending headache his contract would cause. They shipped him to Arizona exchange for guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft pick. Cooper was waived before ever playing for New England, but the Patriots traded the draft pick to the Saints for a third and a fourth, which turned out to be starting guard Joe Thuney and wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell. As for Jones, the Cardinals let him collect 11.0 sacks in the last year of his rookie deal, used the franchise tag to ensure he wouldn't leave town, then re-signed him to a five-year deal worth up to $82 million, with $53 million in guarantees. And he rewarded them by becoming the NFL's most disruptive defensive player. Jones' 33 defeats and 17.0 sacks were both the highest figures in the league. He also had 12 tackles for loss on run plays; a forced fumble on a running play; two tackles that stopped runners or receivers on third or fourth down; and a third-down tipped pass.


While the Patriots might regret letting Jones go to the Cardinals, the Cardinals also likely regret letting Calais Campbell sign with the Jaguars in free agency. After nine years with Arizona, Campbell set career highs in Jacksonville with 14.5 sacks and 32 defeats, becoming the top playmaker on the league's best defense.

As for the rest of the top five, if you weren't paying attention to the 0-16 Cleveland Browns, you're probably surprised to see Christian Kirksey so high, but the Browns actually had one of the league's top-rated run defenses last year. They were especially good at hitting runners behind the line. They hit runners for no gain or a loss 119 times, most by any defense since the 1998 Ravens. That's partly situational -- 58 of those runs came with Cleveland losing in the fourth quarter, when opponents were happy to run into the line, kill clock, and punt -- but it's also a sign of how much chaos the Browns defense could cause. In Kirksey's case, he had eight run tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks, but most of his defeats -- 17 in all -- were third-down tackles or tipped passes.

In Houston, Jadeveon Clowney was also something of a stat-sheet stuffer. Clowney and Jones were the only players in the league with 14 defeats against both the run and the pass. Clowney led the league in run tackles for a loss, and added a career-high 9.5 sacks.

Carolina's Luke Kuechly, meanwhile, led the league with 19 defeats on run plays. He was also a demon in pass coverage, one of six linebackers with three interceptions in 2017.

As you can see, the defeats leaderboard is dominated by off-ball linebackers, so let's take a quick look at the leaders at other positions.

Interior Linemen

Most Defeats, Interior Linemen, 2017
Team Player Pass

Team Player Pass
PIT 97-C.Heyward 14 9 23 OAK 96-D.Autry 11 6 17
TB 93-G.McCoy 8 11 19 JAX 97-M.Jackson 9 8 17
CHI 96-A.Hicks 9 10 19 KC 95-C.Jones 10 6 16
CAR 99-K.Short 9 10 19 SF 99-D.Buckner 8 8 16
LAR 99-A.Donald 11 8 19 TEN 99-J.Casey 7 9 16
MIA 93-N.Suh 4 14 18 ARI 72-O.Pierre 7 9 16
ATL 97-G.Jarrett 6 12 18 CIN 97-G.Atkins 10 5 15
NYG 98-D.Harrison 4 13 17 DAL 95-D.Irving 11 4 15
All players with at least 15 defeats.

This includes all defensive linemen in 3-4 schemes as well as 4-3 defensive tackles.

While Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown get all the press in Pittsburgh, the Steelers have a star on the defensive side of the ball too. In his seventh season, Cameron Heyward set a career high and led the Steelers with 12.0 sacks. There was a big gap between Heyward's 23 defeats and anyone else on the interior, and then a very tight cluster of guys with 15 to 19 defeats. It's worth pointing out that two of the top seven players here, Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh, will be teammates in 2018. Will they feed off each other and still rack up defeats as teammates? Or will their individual numbers go down since there's only one ballcarrier to devour at a time? This will be a fun question to answer unless your name is Russell Wilson, Jimmy Garoppolo, or Sam Bradford.

Edge Rushers

Most Defeats, Edge Rushers, 2017
Team Player Pass

Team Player Pass
ARI 55-C.Jones 19 14 33 LAC 99-J.Bosa 14 8 22
JAX 93-C.Campbell 22 10 32 LAC 54-M.Ingram 13 9 22
HOU 90-J.Clowney 14 17 31 WAS 91-R.Kerrigan 16 5 21
DEN 58-V.Miller 13 12 25 OAK 52-K.Mack 13 8 21
PHI 55-B.Graham 13 11 24 SEA 72-M.Bennett 10 11 21
NO 94-C.Jordan 19 4 23 NYG 90-J.Pierre-Paul 13 7 20
OAK 51-B.Irvin 14 9 23 MIN 97-E.Griffen 15 5 20
DAL 90-D.Lawrence 18 5 23 BAL 55-T.Suggs 14 6 20
BAL 99-M.Judon 12 10 22
All players with at least 15 defeats.

This includes outside linebackers in 3-4 schemes as well as 4-3 defensive ends.

Aside from off-ball linebackers, this is where you'll find most of the players from the overall defeats leaderboards. It's also where you can find pairs of bookend defenders, the tandems that pinch an offense from either direction and leave them with nowhere to go. The Raiders (Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack), Ravens (Matt Judon and Terrell Suggs), and Chargers (Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa) each had some of the best bookends in 2017. The Eagles could join them this fall if Brandon Graham and Michael Bennett can repeat what they did last year.


Most Defeats, Safeties, 2017
Team Player Pass
Team Player Pass
CLE 26-D.Kindred 7 15 22 NYG 21-L.Collins 10 8 18
DET 27-G.Quin 16 5 21 ATL 22-K.Neal 11 7 18
NYJ 33-Ja.Adams 10 11 21 DEN 31-J.Simmons 8 9 17
LAC 37-J.Addae 12 9 21 PHI 27-M.Jenkins 14 3 17
MIA 20-R.Jones 9 11 20 KC 49-D.Sorensen 11 6 17
DAL 31-B.Jones 14 6 20 WAS 36-D.Swearinger 10 6 16
BUF 23-M.Hyde 15 4 19 SEA 30-B.McDougald 9 7 16
BUF 21-J.Poyer 13 6 19 LAC 33-T.Boston 13 2 15
MIN 22-H.Smith 13 6 19 CHI 38-A.Amos 9 6 15
ARI 32-T.Mathieu 15 4 19 DET 32-T.Wilson 11 4 15
PIT 28-S.Davis 12 6 18 NO 48-V.Bell 10 5 15
NO 32-K.Vaccaro 13 5 18
All players with at least 15 defeats.

Surprise! It's another Browns defender among the best at his position, though again the circumstances Cleveland faced are likely having a large influence on the numbers here. Derrick Kindred had four more run defeats than any other safety. He had twice as many run defeats as pass defeats, and actually had the most defeats at the position even though 40 other safeties had more defeats against the pass. Thirteen of Kindred's 15 defeats against the run came on tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage, so he was certainly spending a lot of time last season as an extra defender in the box.

Detroit's Glover Quin led all safeties with 16 defeats against the pass. That includes one tipped pass on third down; another tipped pass that turned into an interception for Tahir Whitehead; one forced fumble; two tackles on completions behind the line of scrimmage; three interceptions; and eight other tackles on receivers short of the sticks on third or fourth down.

Quin and his backfield teammate, Tavon Wilson, each had 15-plus defeats. Other top safety tandems in this category included the Chargers' Jahleel Addae and Tre Boston; Buffalo's Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer; and New Orleans' Kenny Vaccaro and Vonn Bell. Boston is currently unsigned, but the Chargers added Derwin James in the draft, so they still have plenty of playmakers in the back end of their defense.


Most Defeats, Cornerbacks, 2017
Team Player Pass
Team Player Pass
JAX 20-J.Ramsey 21 2 23 KC 22-M.Peters 14 2 16
PIT 31-M.Hilton 12 10 22 SEA 26-S.Griffin 14 2 16
PHI 21-P.Robinson 16 4 20 BUF 27-T.White 12 3 15
DET 28-Q.Diggs 16 3 19 CAR 24-J.Bradberry 14 1 15
WAS 29-K.Fuller 18 1 19 CHI 23-K.Fuller 13 2 15
LAC 20-D.King 12 6 18 CLE 30-J.McCourty 12 3 15
LAR 22-T.Johnson 17 1 18 HOU 25-K.Jackson 11 4 15
OAK 38-T.Carrie 13 5 18 LAC 26-C.Hayward 13 2 15
DET 23-D.Slay 17 1 18 LAR 23-N.Robey 14 1 15
CIN 27-D.Kirkpatrick 15 2 17 MIN 26-T.Waynes 11 4 15
NO 23-M.Lattimore 17 0 17 NYG 37-R.Cockrell 11 4 15
DEN 29-B.Roby 16 1 17
All players with at least 15 defeats.

Well, Jalen Ramsey sure was a beast last season, wasn't he? In his second season, the Jacksonville star had four interceptions himself, plus a tipped pass that turned into a pick-six for Barry Church. He also had nine tackles on completions for third-/fourth-down stops; seven passes defensed on third down; and two tackles for loss on running plays.


After Ramsey, however, it seems that defeats aren't much use in evaluating cornerbacks, at least when compared to what we see at other positions. (For example, you don't get a defeat for covering a guy so well that he can't be the pass target on third down.) Mike Hilton went undrafted out of Mississippi in 2016 and didn't play in a regular-season game until 2017. He played in 16 games last season for the Steelers, starting four times, but in the end he was on the field for less than half of Pittsburgh's defensive snaps and was only targeted 39 times, far short of the 50 required to qualify for our cornerback coverage tables. Still, though, he finished second among cornerbacks in total defeats. His ten run defeats are particularly remarkable -- that's four more than any other corner in the last three years.

Desmond King of the Chargers finished second among corners in run defeats, but like Hilton he finished without enough targets to qualify for our coverage tables. Hilton and King were also tied for the lead among cornerbacks with four sacks apiece. Clearly, these two filled a role that went well beyond the traditional cornerback responsibility of covering opposing wide receivers in coverage.

There were three teams with two corners who had at least 15 defeats each. That includes the Lions (Quandre Diggs and Darius Slay) and Chargers (Desmond King and Casey Hayward), two clubs with playmakers all over the secondary. The Rams also make that list with Trumaine Johnson and Nickell Robey-Coleman. They lost Johnson to the Jets in free agency, but added another playmaker in Marcus Peters, formerly of the Chiefs.

Three-Year Leaderboards

Here's a data dump: a list of all players with at least 50 defeats over the past three seasons. A familiar name to long-time FO readers tops the list.

Most Defeats, All Positions, 2015 to 2017
Team Player Pos Pass

Team Player Pos Pass
TB Lavonte David LB 52 35 87 BUF Preston Brown LB 22 38 60
JAX Telvin Smith LB 38 46 84 ARI Tyrann Mathieu SAF 48 11 59
OAK Khalil Mack ER 50 32 82 CIN Carlos Dunlap ER 43 15 58
CAR Luke Kuechly LB 36 41 77 PIT/MIA Lawrence Timmons LB 40 18 58
NE/ARI Chandler Jones ER 51 25 76 TEN Brian Orakpo ER 39 19 58
STL/LAR Aaron Donald DL 37 37 74 NYG Landon Collins SAF 34 24 58
ARI/JAX Calais Campbell DL/ER 42 30 72 WAS Ryan Kerrigan ER 40 18 58
DAL Sean Lee LB 31 40 71 CIN Geno Atkins DL 33 24 57
CLE Christian Kirksey LB 41 29 70 MIA/NYG Olivier Vernon ER 32 24 56
TEN/BUF/WAS Zach Brown LB 34 35 69 CLE/CIN/ARI Karlos Dansby LB 27 29 56
DEN Von Miller ER 44 25 69 BUF/PHI Nigel Bradham LB 32 24 56
HOU Jadeveon Clowney ER 27 42 69 MIN Everson Griffen ER 42 14 56
TB Kwon Alexander LB 40 29 69 KC Marcus Peters CB 48 6 54
PIT Ryan Shazier LB 38 31 69 TEN Wesley Woodyard LB 24 30 54
Team Player Pos Pass
Team Player Pos Pass
STL/LAR Mark Barron LB 29 40 69 KC Derrick Johnson LB 28 26 54
SD/LAC Melvin Ingram ER 42 27 69 NYJ/CLE/NYJ Demario Davis LB 23 31 54
SEA Bobby Wagner LB 33 36 69 SEA/OAK Bruce Irvin LB/ER 31 23 54
BAL C.J. Mosley LB 34 32 66 MIN Anthony Barr LB 34 20 54
SEA Michael Bennett ER 28 37 65 NE/CLE Jamie Collins LB 28 25 53
MIA Ndamukong Suh DL 25 40 65 TB Gerald McCoy DL 31 21 52
SEA K.J. Wright LB 36 29 65 DAL Demarcus Lawrence ER 28 23 51
PHI Malcolm Jenkins SAF 48 17 65 STL/NYG Janoris Jenkins CB 43 8 51
NO Cameron Jordan ER 40 25 65 CAR Thomas Davis LB 33 17 50
MIN Eric Kendricks LB 40 24 64 MIA Reshad Jones SAF 25 25 50
PHI Brandon Graham ER 30 33 63 PIT Cameron Heyward DL 30 20 50
CAR Kawann Short DL 30 32 62 ATL Deion Jones LB 34 16 50
JAX Paul Posluszny LB 33 29 62
All players with at least 50 defeats.

Some quick observations:

  • Lavonte David has the most defeats since 2015 even though he was 18th in that category in 2017. That's by far his worst mark -- he was fifth as a rookie in 2012, then ranked first, second, second, and fourth over the next four seasons.
  • Again we see that off-ball linebackers and edge rushers dominate this stat. Of the 53 players in this table, 25 are linebackers, 14 are edge rushers, six are interior linemen, four are safeties, and just two are cornerbacks. (That doesn't count Bruce Irvin or Calais Campbell, who don't fit easily into buckets and were labeled with different positions in different seasons.)
  • David, Chandler Jones, and Khalil Mack are the only players with at least 50 pass defeats over the past three years. A trio of defensive backs -- Marcus Peters, Malcolm Jenkins, and Tyrann Mathieu -- are tied with 48, just missing that threshold.
  • Jacksonville's Telvin Smith is your three-year leader with 46 rush defeats. He's followed by Jadeveon Clowney, Luke Kuechly, Sean Lee, Mark Barron, and Ndamukong Suh.
  • Speaking of Suh, he and his new teammate Aaron Donald are either first and second among interior linemen over the past three years, or first and third, depending on how you want to define Campbell. We mentioned how much trouble the quarterbacks of the NFC West are in, right?
  • Atlanta's Deion Jones makes the list even though he didn't play in 2015 -- he was a second-round draft pick out of LSU in 2016.

Click here for a look at the defeat leaders of 2016.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 14 Jun 2018

27 comments, Last at 20 Jun 2018, 9:08pm by TomC


by GwillyGecko :: Thu, 06/14/2018 - 2:49pm

I find it ludicrous to say that Chandler Jones only "finally lived up to his status as a first-round draft pick" in 2017 when in his four years in New England he started 52 games and got 36 sacks.

by Guest789 :: Fri, 06/15/2018 - 10:05am

Yeah, that confused me a bit too. I think if you told a team that an edge rusher they drafted in the late first round would play every game and get 9 sacks a year, they'd be satisfied with that.

by Dan :: Thu, 06/14/2018 - 3:53pm

Man, Watt has missed a lot of time lately. He dominated this stat for awhile but now he isn't even on the 3-year leaderboard.

by Mr Shush :: Sat, 06/16/2018 - 6:54pm

Well, he's barely played the last two years, and wasn't healthy for the few games he did. He's only really got one season contributing.

by Jason_PackerBacker :: Thu, 06/14/2018 - 11:17pm

Question -- What the level of correlation between defeats among individual players, and overall DVOA for a team? I imagine more defeats has a solid positive correlation, but since the number of defeats might cluster all on first down, while an offense does most of its yardage/scoring damage on 2nd and 3rd down, I could also see that correlation being weak (or even negative. This could help answer an interesting question about star power on defense -- how many (if any at all) does one need to have a highly ranked defense?

Who knew that so much would ride on one collarbone (2017 edit: "on the other collarbone?")

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 06/15/2018 - 10:47am

Given a bunch of defeats occur late in games with large deficits, where the offense is running the ball into the line three times and punting, there might be a negative correlation.

by Vincent Verhei :: Fri, 06/15/2018 - 4:54pm

Correlation between team defeats and team defense DVOA, 2017:

Total: -0.577
Run: -0.372
Pass: -0.812

So teams that get a lot of defeats have lower (read: better) defensive DVOAs. This is especially true of passing plays.

Now, what happens if we take defeats (a mostly individual stat) and divide it by yards allowed (a team stat)?

Total: -0.778
Run: -0.715
pass: -0.864

Those are some awfully strong trends right there.

So with that in mind, here's the top 20 in individual defeats per team yard allowed (ignoring guys who played for multiple teams):

JAX 93-C.Campbell ER
JAX 20-J.Ramsey CB
ATL 45-D.Jones LB
ARI 55-C.Jones ER
NO 94-C.Jordan ER
WAS 29-K.Fuller CB
DAL 90-D.Lawrence ER
JAX 91-Y.Ngakoue ER
JAX 21-A.Bouye CB
DEN 29-B.Roby CB
PIT 50-R.Shazier LB
LAR 22-T.Johnson CB
CLE 58-C.Kirksey LB
MIN 54-E.Kendricks LB
MIN 97-E.Griffen ER
NO 23-M.Lattimore CB
WAS 91-R.Kerrigan ER
CIN 27-D.Kirkpatrick CB
LAC 99-J.Bosa ER
JAX 50-T.Smith LB

CAR 59-L.Kuechly LB
ARI 55-C.Jones ER
HOU 90-J.Clowney ER
CLE 26-D.Kindred SAF
CLE 53-J.Schobert LB
PHI 55-B.Graham ER
PHI 75-V.Curry ER
TEN 59-W.Woodyard LB
DEN 58-V.Miller ER
CLE 58-C.Kirksey LB
CLE 52-J.Burgess LB
SEA 54-B.Wagner LB
JAX 50-T.Smith LB
MIA 93-N.Suh DL
PHI 93-T.Jernigan DL
DAL 50-S.Lee LB
MIN 54-E.Kendricks LB
BAL 57-C.Mosley LB
DAL 59-A.Hitchens LB
ATL 97-G.Jarrett DL

JAX 93-C.Campbell ER
ARI 55-C.Jones ER
CAR 59-L.Kuechly LB
CLE 58-C.Kirksey LB
JAX 50-T.Smith LB
PIT 50-R.Shazier LB
MIN 54-E.Kendricks LB
HOU 90-J.Clowney ER
ATL 45-D.Jones LB
DEN 58-V.Miller ER
SEA 54-B.Wagner LB
JAX 20-J.Ramsey CB
MIN 55-A.Barr LB
TEN 59-W.Woodyard LB
PHI 55-B.Graham ER
BAL 57-C.Mosley LB
PIT 97-C.Heyward DL
WAS 53-Z.Brown LB
MIN 97-E.Griffen ER
DAL 90-D.Lawrence ER

Cleveland still dominates the rushing tables, Jacksonville completely owns the passing tables, and safeties almost totally disappear.

by Willsy :: Fri, 06/15/2018 - 1:44am

Interesting to see the production in Min from Kendricks versus Barr. Might explain why the Vikes signed Kendricks to a long term deal before Barr. The simple eyeball test suggests that Kendrick is a busy player but I was surprised to see his impact from a defeats perspective.
The other player who stands out is Lee at Dallas. He has lost time due to injury and yet is top 10. Sometimes he looks like the only defender on the field for the Boys.

by jtr :: Fri, 06/15/2018 - 9:57am

Cleveland's got 4 players in the top 48 here! You would think a team with that many disruptive defenders would be a bit better than 16th in DVOA and maybe win at least one game at some point.

Shazier was having one hell of a season when he went down. His 28 defeats in 12 games would be on pace for 37 defeats in 16 games--enough to lead the league by 4. It really is a shame that we've probably seen him play his last snap, as he was really starting to play to his full potential in 2017. I think he would have had a DPOY in his future were it not for the spinal injury.

Not surprised to see Mike Hilton second on the CB defeats chart. Hilton plays far more physically than you'd imagine from his 5'9" frame. Pittsburgh used him almost like a mini-linebacker, playing lots of run support and blitzing just as much as he played coverage. I bet Pittsburgh is going to be top in the league in DB blitzes in the 2017 almanac, since their favorite third-down defense was to blitz Hilton from the slot or the strong safety off the opposite edge.

by mehllageman56 :: Fri, 06/15/2018 - 10:19pm

Surprised/happy that Jamal Adams is that high up on this list, even without any interceptions. Given that he's doing better on the week to week coverage grading on the Gang Green Nation than I thought he would, perhaps he'll work out.

by SandyRiver :: Mon, 06/18/2018 - 12:18pm

Have defeats by team been posted anywhere. I'm asking because the Chargers had the most players on the leaderboards with 6 (2 more than anyone else), but I don't recall their overall defense being all that fearsome.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Mon, 06/18/2018 - 1:28pm

Just a quick look at the standings ... 3rd best in scoring defense with 272 pts.

by nat :: Mon, 06/18/2018 - 3:48pm

You'd get a clearer picture with DVOA, VOA, and the major defensive drive stats (yards/drive, TOs/drive, and DSR).

They were pretty good, but not so dominant as points allowed would make you think.

Trust me on this one: As a Patriots fan, I know all about how points allowed can be misleading when evaluating a defense.

by SandyRiver :: Tue, 06/19/2018 - 10:17am

And of course the Pats had nobody on those lists. I'd guess that's partly due to their defensive philosophy but more due to their time (plays, more than minutes) on offense.
Edit: Two other clubs were also shut out, GB (12th in total defeats) and IND (23rd.)

by nat :: Tue, 06/19/2018 - 11:11am

The Patriots faced 7% fewer defensive drives than league average, while having 19% fewer defeats than the median. Their total defensive play count was pretty much at the median: they made up for the lower drive count by allowing more plays per drive than almost everyone.

Having fewer opportunities may have been a small factor, but by no means an important one.

Personally, I think it's simpler than defensive philosophy, too: they were just bad.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 06/19/2018 - 2:36pm

I'd agreed. To the eye, the Pats defense was the worst I've seen it in the five years or so of watching their games regularly. Mainly because they seemed to give up big plays more often than I've seen before.

Is there any stat on big plays given up?

by nat :: Tue, 06/19/2018 - 4:01pm

Looking at PFR, they gave up the 9th most plays of 15 or more yards.

But what's really telling is the 4 or less yard ranges. They were the third worst at getting those good results. Naturally, they gave up the third most plays of 5 yards or more.

Most of that was excess plays of 5-14 yards, where they were the 6th worst. (By "worst" I am assuming you think of these as bad results.)

So, they were generally bad more than being bad at giving up long plays in particular. Their worst ten yard range ranking was for 35-44 yards. But that amounts to 12 plays (4th worst), so it's a drop in the hole-filled bucket.

Bad. Bad. Bad.

by mehllageman56 :: Mon, 06/18/2018 - 3:14pm

Nathan Peterson felt they were fearsome, with those 5 picks in a half.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 06/18/2018 - 4:27pm

Somewhere, Nathan Peterson just threw another INT.

by Eddo :: Tue, 06/19/2018 - 2:16pm

We should really get him and Nathan Peterman together.

by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 06/20/2018 - 7:59pm

"I played the first half of the most memorable game of the season and fans can't even get my name right?"

-Jason Peterman

by Vincent Verhei :: Mon, 06/18/2018 - 4:35pm

Two teams tied for first -- one won the Super Bowl, the other went 0-16. The Super Bowl losers were last.


by ssereb :: Mon, 06/18/2018 - 5:10pm

One thing that strongly points to the Browns racking up defeats on clock-killing runs when the game was already out of hand is that they're the only team in the NFL with more run defeats than pass defeats. The only other team that was even close was Buffalo. Yes, Cleveland's rush defense was a lot better than its pass defense, but even the other teams with top-10 rush defenses and bottom-10 pass defenses (Colts, Packers, and Titans) didn't have this level of imbalance (though the Colts weren't that far off).

by Aaron Schatz :: Mon, 06/18/2018 - 5:32pm

Obviously another issue with defeat totals is that teams where opponents ran more plays will have more defeats because there's more opportunity for defeats.

by Theo :: Tue, 06/19/2018 - 5:32am

So could this be solved by making a team stat like "defeats per play".

by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 06/20/2018 - 7:57pm

OCD - Offense-Corrected Defeats

by TomC :: Wed, 06/20/2018 - 9:08pm