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Patriots Analysis

Best and Worst: Patriots Offensive PFF Grades vs. Chargers

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New England Patriots guard Cole Strange is the highest ranked Patriots offensive player by Pro Football Forcus in Week 13

The New England Patriots offense left a lot to be desired in their 6-0 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday. Getting shutout didn’t tell the entire story. New England amassed 109 yards passing, and allowed five sacks. They made only on first down in the first down, and nine in the game. As they do every week, Pro Football Focus graded all the individual players in the game. Not surprise, the Patriots PFF grades for Week 13 will not earn them a place on the honor roll.

PFF Grading System

Before getting into the best and worst Patriots performances from Sunday, a quick review of what the numbers represent. Their are five possible tiers a grade places a player in:

  • 100-90 = Elite
  • 89-85 = Pro Bowler
  • 84-70 = Starter
  • 69-60 = Backup
  • 59-0 = Replaceable

New England had one player score over a 70 against Los Angeles. So when “best” is broken down below, important to note that even the best among this group graded out at the level of an NFL backup. Of the 18 players graded, half scored below a 60. Eight players scored in the “backup” range. Not everyone agrees with the scoring system of Pro Football Focus, but difficult to argue with a plethora of poor scores after Sunday’s offense performance.

Best of Week 13

LG – Cole Strange (73.6). Graded as the best pass blocker against the Chargers, and the best run blocker among offensive lineman. Strange easily wins the offensive MVP based on Pro Football Focus’ formula. It was his best pass blocking grade of the season, and second best game overall. He allowed no sacks, hurries, pressures, or QB hits.

C – David Andrews (67.3). The captain was consistently okay across the board. With a team gets shutout, ‘okay’ is enough to be among the honored. Andrews received his lowest grade since Week 8, but was still better than the majority of his peers. He allowed one pressure and one hurry.

TE – Hunter Henry (65.3). Henry raised his grade by being the best run blocker for New England. However, Henry was also the second lowest pass blocker on the offense. It was both his best run blocking, and worst pass blocking game of 2023. The tight end finished with two receptions on four targets for 14 yards.

No other New England Patriots players scored a 65 or better, so this week the “best” list is getting cutoff at three.

Worst of Week 13

WR – JuJu Smith-Schuster (48.5). A Smith-Schuster had one catch on four targets, for 11 receiving yards. Bailey Zappe recorded a 45.1 QB Rating when Smith-Schuster was targeted. The wide receiver struggled blocking as well. He received the worst run blocking grade on the Patriots.

TE – Pharaoh Brown (49.8). Brown is the biggest hit-or-miss player for the Patriots offense. He has four games with a Pro Football Focus score over 89. Now he has four games with a score of 51 or lower. The tight end was used almost exclusively as a run blocker, and struggled to be effective.

WR – Tyquan Thornton (51.8). He dropped the pass that would have been the Patriots biggest offensive play of the game. Thornton received one target, and he dropped it. Failure to get open or catch the ball is not a good combination. His nice run was not enough to offset the rest of his play.

RT – Mike Onwenu (53.1). After a string of solid performances since moving to right tackle, Onwenu had his worst game of 2023. He was the lowest graded lineman in both run and pass blocking. He allowed one sack, four hurries, and five pressures. It was such an uncharacteristically poor performance, one has to wonder if Onwenu was dealing with health issues.

RB – Ezekiel Elliott (54.1). The running back finished with 39 yards on nine carries. Elliott caught four passes for 40 yards. He received his biggest workload of the season with Rhamondre Stevenson getting injured early. His grade was significantly affected by his pass blocking. He allowed one sack, two hurries, and three pressures. Those negative stats were amassed on only eight pass blocking plays.

Tight end Mike Gesicki would have also fallen into the under-55 group (53.8) too, but he played only five offensive snaps.