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Tedy Bruschi reveals most telling stat about Patriots defense and says it must improve

John Tomase
September 25, 2018 - 2:19 pm

Tedy Bruschi knows football, so when the former Patriots linebacker suggests the stat that he thinks best captures the struggles of the Patriots defense, it's worth paying notice.

In a Twitter post on Tuesday afternoon, Bruschi laid out that stat: defensive yards after contact. And surprise, surprise, the Patriots rank dead last.

From Bruschi's Twitter:

Patriots defensive problems from a statistical measurement. According to ESPN Stats and Info - Rank 32nd in DYAC (defensive yards after contact/per touch) Certain stats bore me. Not this one. Tackling has to improve.

Intuitively, the number makes sense. For two straight weeks now, opposing ball carriers and receivers have beaten the Patriots at the point of attack and then run free. In a 31-20 loss to the Jaguars, who were playing without starting running back Leonard Fournette, the Patriots allowed nearly 500 yards of total offense. (The Jags then went out and managed just 6 points in a loss to Tennessee this week). In Sunday's listless 26-10 loss to the Lions, the Pats watched Kerryon Johnson become Detroit's first 100-yard rusher in five years.

One of the hallmarks of the Super Bowl teams of the mid-2000s was their sure tackling, led by safety Rodney Harrison, corner Ty Law, and linebackers like Bruschi and Mike Vrabel. These Patriots, however, have had a hard time wrapping up, leading to massive gains.

As Bruschi noted, that's going to need to be fixed.