Monday, August 13, 2012

APR's top 25 regular season upsets: #1

# 1: 1972 Week 3: Redskins 23, Patriots 24 (ρ=1.4479)
Redskins' season: finished 11-3, won the NFC East, lost Super Bowl VII (thus becoming the final notch in the Dolphins perfect 17-0 season).
Patriots' season: Finished 3-11. Head coach John Mazur resigned 9 games into the season.
What happened: the good news for the 1972 Patriots was, any time they held their opponent under 24 points, they won. The bad news was, they only did that 3 times. The '72 Patriots were bad on both sides of the ball, including a last-place defense (points allowed), and an offense that mostly couldn't even score 21 points.
The same rule held for the '72 Redskins: they won almost every time they held their opponent under 24 points. The difference, of course, is that the Redskins had the #4 defense (points allowed), and only 3 teams managed to get to that 24-point threshold.
Somehow, the Patriots offense managed to shred the Redskins defense, passing for 253 yards (more than any other Redskins' opponent), and scoring 24 points (a season high for the Patriots).
Also of note: the Patriots' starting quarterback in 1972 was Jim Plunkett, much better known for his late-career success with the Oakland Raiders, which included two Super Bowl victories.

That's it. Thanks for hanging around this off-season to read the series. (And if you didn't, you can certainly go back and read them now.) Coming up next: new football!