The New England Patriots made it through Tom Brady’s Deflategate suspension without their backup quarterbacks throwing a single interception. That’s the good news.
The not-so-good news is the Patriots are fumbling the ball at their highest rate in years.
Including special teams, New England has put the ball on the ground an NFL-most 12 times through four games, including three fumbles by quarterback Jacoby Brissett and two each by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, running back LeGarrette Blount and wide receiver Danny Amendola.
For context, the Patriots have fumbled more than 17 times in an entire season just once since 2006. They did so 27 times in 2013, with 10 of those being charged to quarterback Tom Brady.
No team has fumbled more than 40 times in a season since 2007. The Patriots are on pace for 48.
Luckily for New England, the majority of these fumbles have found their ways back into the arms of Patriots players. The Pats have lost just four fumbles this season, and while that’s tied for the fourth-most in the NFL, only five teams have a higher fumbles-recovered-to-fumbles lost ratio.
“We’ve just got to keep working on it,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Tuesday in a conference call. “(We) have got to do a better job of taking care of the ball. We’re fortunate we haven’t lost more than we have. The ball has been out much more than we want it to be.”
The Patriots enter Week 5 at 3-1 after falling to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Their opponent this weekend is a team with a similar ball-control track record: the Cleveland Browns, who’ve fumbled 11 times this season (second-most behind the Patriots) but lost just three.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images