Tuesday, July 17, 2012

APR's top 25 regular season upsets: #5

# 5: 2004 Week 15 Patriots 28, Dolphins 29 (ρ=1.3472)
Patriots' season: finished 14-2, clinched the #2 seed in the AFC, and won Super Bowl XXXIX.
Dolphins' season: finished 4-12. Head coach Dave Wannstedt resigned after 9 games. Defensive coordinator Jim Bates finished out the season as interim head coach, and Nick Saban was brought in the following year.
What happened: in 2004, the Dolphins had a weak defense and an awful offense. But what really set them apart from other teams was turnovers. The offense turned the ball over 42 times that season, more than any other team. Given they managed to recover 26 fumbles, it could've been even worse.
The Patriots had a much happier season in 2004. They had the #4 offense (points scored) and #2 defense (points allowed), which carried them to 14 regular season wins and a Super Bowl victory. But with 27 turnovers themselves, the Patriots offense had a bit of a weak point as well. They had 7 games with two or more turnovers, including a couple 4-turnover games (this one, and their loss to the Steelers).
Also of note: the The Patriots are 0-8 in games where Tom Brady threw 3 or more interceptions.

Next week: Turns out I was wrong when I said game #7 (Vikings @ Jets from 1970 week 11) was the oldest game on the list. This next one has that beat by 3 weeks, and features a game-winning play with an NFL record that still stands.