Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Patriots seek improvement in red zone offense


While the dynamic play of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and lax late-game coverage schemes were major contributors to the New England Patriots' upset loss in Seattle, just as much blame can be placed on the offense's failure to seal the game when it had the chance.

New England converted just one of its six red zone opportunities into a touchdown. Just one additional score in these situations would have likely put the game out of the reach of Wilson's heroics.

"If we get the opportunity with six chances down there to score touchdowns and only come away with one, certainly that's not good enough," Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels told reporters Monday, according to the team's website."That's obviously an area that we can do better in and we have to do better in and get better in quickly."

New England effectively moved the ball down the field most of the game but was often stymied in short-yardage situations in the scoring zone. Another chance for points came and went after a blatant intentional grounding foul by quarterback Tom Brady, which resulted in a 10-second clock runoff and ended the first half.

"We had a few third-and-shorts that we didn't necessarily convert on and we ended up with the two-minute drive that obviously we were hoping for either seven or three [points] there and didn't get it," McDaniels said.

Aside from the issues inside the 20-yard line, the Patriots' offense helped open the door to a Seattle comeback by failing to move the ball late and wind down the clock. A gameplan that had worked most of the day suddenly wilted in the face of the Seahawks defense in the fourth quarter, and New England did not gain a first down in either of it's final two possessions.

"Certainly the end of the game is the most critical part of the game and we need to do better," McDaniels said. "I need to do better. We can prepare better and we can play better in those situations to try to finish the games out."

The Patriots are converting on 55 percent of their red zone trips through six games, according to teamrankings.com.

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