Ryan letting turnover ratio get in way of common sense


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.

Talking points: Patrice Bergeron is best player on ice in Bruins' win


Talking points: Patrice Bergeron is best player on ice in Bruins' win

Here are the talking points from the Boston Bruins' 6-3 win over the Dallas Stars where Patrice Bergeron scored two goals.

Patrice Bergeron scores 2, Bruins beat Stars, 6-3, to end winning trip

Patrice Bergeron scores 2, Bruins beat Stars, 6-3, to end winning trip

Patrice Bergeron had two goals and an assist as the Boston Bruins beat the Dallas Stars 6-3 Sunday, improving to 6-1 under interim coach Bruce Cassidy.

The Bruins completed a 3-1 road trip.

Stars captain Jamie Benn and Boston forward David Backes began fighting just 2 seconds into the game and drew major penalties. They have a history between - this was the first time they've faced each other this season, and it was the third straight year they've fought.

The Stars had tied the game in the second period after trailing 2-0. But Frank Vatrano and Bergeron scored on deflections 40 seconds apart in the second, and Bergeron added his 16th goal of the season in the third period.

Brad Marchand, David Krejci scored in the first period for the Bruins. Marchand had two assists and Torey Krug had three assists.

John Klingberg and Jiri Hudler had second-period goals for Dallas, and Tyler Seguin scored in the third.

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask had 33 saves.

Kari Lehtonen made 22 saves for Dallas. Three of Boston's goals came on deflections.

Vatrano deflected Kevan Miller's drive from the right point through traffic past Lehtonen to break a 2-2 tie in the second. Bergeron and Dallas defenseman Jordie Benn became tangled in front of Lehtonen on the Bruins' fourth goal.

Marchand scored from the left faceoff circle at 5:56 of the first period after taking a pass from behind the net from Bergeron.

Dallas made it 2-all on the first power play of the game. Hudler scored on a snap shot at 11:49 of the second.

Boston regained a two-goal lead less than 4 minutes later when Vatrano and Bergeron scored at 14:41 and 15:21.

NOTES: Dallas D Johnny Oduya returned after missing 15 games because of an ankle injury. . Miller and Dallas LW Curtis McKenzie also fought in the second period. . Marchand has 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in his past 12 games. . Krejci has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past seven games. . Krug has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in seven career games against the Stars. . Hudler has 18 points (11 goals, seven assists) in 14 career games vs. Boston. . The visiting team has won the last seven games between the teams, dating back to 2013-14.


Bruins: Begin a three-game homestand on Tuesday against Arizona.

Stars: Play the fourth of five straight home games vs. Pittsburgh on Tuesday.