FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots have a turnover issue, and it reared its ugly head Sunday night in their 31-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
To be specific, the Patriots are having a very difficult time forcing takeaways this season.
The Patriots finished the last two seasons ranked in the top five in turnover ratio. They historically haven’t allowed many turnovers while forcing their fair share of takeaways. Head coach Bill Belichick regularly says that turnovers are key to victory.
This season, they still are not turning the ball over at a high rate — they threw their first interception of the season against the Seahawks — but they only have forced nine takeaways, none of which came Sunday night. After Week 10, the Patriots will have a turnover ratio of just plus-one.
Many will believe the Patriots’ loss to the Seahawks came down to the final play, an incomplete pass to Rob Gronkowski. But it had just as much to do with an interception and lost fumble while not playing aggressively enough on defense.
“We were just too careless with the ball,” Brady said. “They weren’t. The turnovers were a big factor. We had our chances. We just didn’t make enough plays.”
The Patriots fumbled the ball twice, recovering one on a kick return by Cyrus Jones and losing another on a Julian Edelman reception. The Patriots are fumbling at double their recent rate this season despite losing just seven of them.
“Yeah, that’s definitely a problem,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “Our ball security is not what it needs to be. We’ve addressed it. We obviously have to keep addressing it more and find a way to improve it. We can’t keep turning the ball over.”
Brady’s interception also was a killer. On first down from the Patriots’ 35-yard line, Brady scrambled away from pressure and heaved the ball deep to rookie Malcolm Mitchell. The ball fell short, and a pass from a Patriots quarterback fell into enemy hands for the first time this season.
“We were behind them, I just didn’t get a great throw on it,” Brady said. “I was kind of running back to the left. We made some plays on scramble plays this year. I just didn’t get a great throw on that. I wish I would have because we would have had a chance.”
The Patriots are 7-2 and in good shape in the AFC, but improving their turnover ratio must be addressed before entering the playoffs.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images