Ryan letting turnover ratio get in way of common sense

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Ryan letting turnover ratio get in way of common sense

Winning the turnover battle is nice, and does translate to wins, but it hasn't translated to wins nearly enough for the Patriots this season.

New England leads the AFC with a plus-10 take-awaygive-away ratio. Baltimore (plus-7) and Houston (plus-5) come in second and third, respectively.

In their three wins, they've won the turnover battle.

In two of New England's losses, however, they still won the turnover battle (Arizona, Baltimore). In the loss to Seattle, each team turned it over twice.

That's going to happen when your defense gives up big-yardage passing plays on a consistent basis, especially in crunch-time situations. It's also going to happen when your offense can't stay on the field late in games.

But even so, when Jets coach Rex Ryan was asked how he could possibly draw up a game plan that doesn't involve his quarterback throwing for the majority of the time on a weak Patriots secondary, he stirred the conversation in a direction that defended that decision (if he makes it) by complementing the Pats offense and using turnover ratio figures . . . hmmmm.

"Well, with us personally I think you have to be balanced," Ryan said. "The one thing about New England, every year they get criticized for their pass defense, what they rank, and all that. But it's not about that. The Patriots play complementary football where obviously they have the number one offense in football: Scoring offense, total offense, everything else offense. So what you do is you try to win the turnover battles and when they do, this team, their record when they win the turnover battle is, you know, phenomenal. So that's something that they do that kind of gets overlooked."

Ryan said that the Patriots are 39-4 when winning the turnover battle and 8-10 when they lose it since 2008. Fine. But as noted above, the Pats are winning the turnover battle this season, but wins aren't coming at the same rate. Perhaps it's when those turnovers occur that are the difference. The Patriots have been known as an "opportunistic" defense over the years, but it hasn't been on display a whole lot this season.

The plus-10 ratio shouldn't be the reason New York doesn't throw on Sunday.

The Pats have 16 takeaways, tops in the AFC, but 10 are from fumbles. Four fumbles have come from the quarterback, four from running backs, and two from receivers.

That leaves six takeaways via interception, still good, but four came in one game against the Bills.

That could indicate that it's the Patriots front line and rush defense (ranked 8th in the NFL at 82.7 yards per game and tied for first in NFL in rushing fumbles lost) causing the majority of issues for offenses.

And since Ryan brought up "pass defense and what they rank", it might be a good idea to remind him that the Patriots rank 28th in the NFL giving up an average of 288.8 yards per game. They give up 23.5 completions per game (22nd most in NFL) and give up an average of 12.3 yards per completion (29th most in NFL).

Not taking advantage of that would be the biggest give-away of all.

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while digging the Spider-Man trailer that dropped last night. 

*John Scott has finally called it a day and announced his retirement, and apparently there’s a book of his memoirs also coming out too. I’m predicting it’s not headed for the New York Times best seller list. 

*Winter Olympics participation and the CBA negotiations for the NHL are starting to merge into giant issue.  

*Connor McDavid calls the Flyers' Brandon Manning classless for telling him on the ice that he purposefully tried to hurt him last season. Some players might also take issue with McDavid making public what another player said to him on the ice. That’s kind of a no-no for most hockey players and breaks an unwritten rule that McDavid might think he’s above given his star status. This whole thing isn’t a good look for anybody. 

*Kevin Stevens pleads guilty to federal drug charges in what’s become a pretty sad situation for the former NHL star. 

*New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is beginning to raise questions with his play, and his massive price tag. 

*Youngsters Zach Weresnki and Dylan Larkin took similar paths to the NHL, and are both considered part of the talented young generation full of hockey stars. 

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Carey Price taking a nutty on Kyle Palmieri after the player crashed into his crease last night. Price is being celebrated for sticking up for himself, but if another goalie did that to a Habs player at the Bell Centre, there would already be a warrant out for his arrest. Play it both ways, Montreal!  

*For something completely different: here’s the aforementioned new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer that looks pretty darn good. 

 

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster.