Third down is the most critical down in football and usually the Patriots are one of the best offenses in the league. In the last four seasons they ranked 6th (2014) and 4th (2016) when they won the Super Bowl and when they didn’t they ranked 16th (2013) and 11th (2015).
This season the loss of Julian Edelman loomed large for then third down offense. Edelman was then most targeted and reliable receiver with the game on the line. However early in then season the Pats didn’t fare too badly,
Through the first eight games, the Pats ranked 3rd on third down, converting 45.9 percent of their chances.
But since then they’ve fallen off dramatically, to the point where over the last four games they’ve converted just 30.2 percent of their third downs, second-worst in the league. All of Tom Brady‘s five interceptions in the last four games have come on third down.
These struggles are coming at the wrong time of year. Is this a critical flaw? Is there any hope in sight? Let’s take a deeper look.