So, I, along with many others, have been KILLING Brandon Lloyd this year. Some people are delusional when it comes to his play. And don't get me wrong, Ian (iedlund) is not the only one. Lloyd has made a few spectacular plays (including his one TD pass in a game that was already over) and it somehow makes people ignore how bad he has been. It's like as long as they see something shiny they get lured in and bite it hook, line, and sinker. They are just completely blind to the full extent of his game, and how he's killed the Patriots in key situations. Overall, this year, he has 65 targets and ONLY 35 catches. Almost half of the time we throw to him, it is ending in a dead play. So, what I wanted to do before ripping him, was dive a little more into his stats this year, so I went back and looked at the play by play for every game thus far. What I was looking for was 1st down incompletions, drive ending incompletions, and 3rd down conversions. My thought process for these statistics was as follows:
1) 1st down incompletions. In the passing game, the biggest thing with first down passing is gaining yards. Doesn't matter if it is only a few yards, but you do not want to start the series of downs off with an incompletion that forces a 2nd a 10. Then on 2nd down, you are going to try a run or a short pass the majority of the time in order to make 3rd down manageable. So, not only are you killing first down, but you make yourself more predictable on 2nd down, and thus make yourself less effective as an offense.
2) Drive ending incompletions. This one is pretty obvious. I wanted to see how many of those 30 balls targeted to him that had been incomplete were on 3rd down, and thus killed the drive. I felt like there had been a lot of these by Lloyd this year, so I wanted to check this out.
3) 3rd down conversions. The hallmark of receiving. You want someone that has that David Patten-like ability to find those sticks on third down and keep the drives churning. Like I said before, I thought this had been a weak area of Lloyd's game, and wanted to keep this tally to give the other side of the drive ending incompletions stat.
So below, you can find all that info on a per game basis as well as the totals. My conclusions are below the table.
|One of the many Lloyd drops against the Jets|
|Oponnent||Targets||Catches||1st Down Incompletions||Drive Ending (3rd Down Incompletion)||3rd Down Conversions|
1.5 drive ending plays per game. This is TERRIBLE. The Patriots have the most offensive drives in the league (71, 10.1 per game), but if you take out the 22 touchdowns scored, the three interceptions and five fumbles, that is only 41 drives that end without a TD. He is responsible for nine of those, or about 22% That is just miserable. He kills the momentum of this team at critical spots. He has been one of the worst culprits of the Patriots 4th quarter offensive ineffectiveness with his inability to bail this team out on 3rd down and keep the drives going. The biggest problem a lot of people have had with the Patriots this season is that they have had the lead, and have not been able to finish people off at the end of the game. If Lloyd makes one or two of those third down conversions, maybe we have another couple wins because we don't let people come back.
Only 4 3rd down conversions all season. Wes Welker on the other hand, has 17. Yes, that is right, more than 4 times as many as Lloyd. This is not good. 4/13 when going his way on 3rd down is not going to cut it if this team wants to win a Super Bowl. You need players to come out on third down, and place fear into the defense that they are going to find a way to get open and extend the drive. Lloyd isn't able to do this. Teams can continue to just clog up the middle on third down and make things harder for Welker, Hernandez, and Gronk and just leave him out there on his island. Lloyd is just not clutch. His only TD has come in the Buffalo game when it was already out of hand. He can't make plays on third down. He will make spectacular plays, but is not a solid, reliable guy, and that is what we need.
16/65 targets have gone for a 1st down incompletion. So, literally a quarter of all the times you throw the ball to him, not just a quarter of 1st down throws, of ALL throws, it is going to set you back into a bad set of downs starting at 2nd and 10. When you combine the fact that he has killed 9 drives, and started 16 drives off poorly, he is a big problem on this inconsistent offense. How are you expected to be consistent when one of your players is constantly sabotaging your offense? There is just no way you can be when you are starting so many drives off at 2nd and 10, and your players are not producing on third down.
I hope this shows you how bad he truly has been. Yeah, he hasn't been as bad as Ochocinco, but honestly, it would have been damn near impossible for him to be. He is killing this offense, and if those numbers don't start to change, there is no way this offense will be good enough to carry us to another Super Bowl. As always, follow me @CultOfBelichick