New England's offense is struggling in nearly every category this season, but third quarter scoring fell under particularly harsh light after Sunday's loss to the Jets.
The Patriots have scored just nine third-quarter points in seven games this season.
"I don’t think there’s been one consistent theme," offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said of the stat. "I think that there’s no magic formula for any team to come out and do well, whether that’s the beginning of the game or the third quarter. I’d love to say that there’s a personnel grouping or a style of play or certain types of play calls that could insure us a certain level of success, but I don’t really believe that that’s the case."
McDaniels took responsibility. Though there's never a guarantee for success on game day, he admitted there should be certain plays ready to go, adjustments to try, and a better effort to continue taking advantage of first-half successes.
"That’s really where my focus is going to be," he explained. "I know ultimately whatever we choose to do, we’ve got to put our guys in a position where they can execute and succeed, so I think we’ve just got to keep grinding away at it. It’s not for lack of effort on anybody’s part, and I think that we’ll definitely take a look at everything we’ve done and try to improve in every area, including the beginning of the second half."
That is where the Patriots fell apart last Sunday.
Out of the break, New England gained -5 yards on the first four drives against the Jets. New York took advantage of its opponents' impotency and flipped a 21-10 deficit to a 27-21 lead before the fourth quarter. Tom Brady completed just 22-of-46 passes on the day after going 11-for-18 through the first 30 minutes. Considering his first series of the second half ended with a pick-six, the offense actually contributed to the Jets' cause quite a bit.
McDaniels said the halftime process rarely changes. They look at what they've done, how the defense has played them, and what calls and personnel situations they're facing. New England then game plans for the second half with that intel.
"Some teams make a lot of adjustments, some teams don’t, and I don’t believe Sunday was a situation where there were a lot of dramatic changes in the third quarter," the coordinator said. "We’ve just got to find a way to play better."