The struggle of the New England Patriots offense has not gone unnoticed, and when it has failed to put up points, there have been multiple occasions where the defense has stepped up.
In total, the Patriots have 36 touchdowns. Twenty-eight of those are offensive, and the other eight are non-offensive.
The Patriots have 16 passing touchdowns, with starting quarterback Mac Jones leading with 11 and back-up Bailey Zappe, who started multiple games, behind with five. They also have 12 rushing touchdowns. Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers leads the team with five receiving touchdowns, and running back Rhamondre Stevenson leads with five rushing touchdowns.
This season the Patriots average 2.3 touchdowns per game, tied for 17th overall, while also averaging 21.3 points per game, also 17th overall.
The New England Patriots defense dominates.
The dominance of the Patriots defense has been a bright spot in a dull season.
In the Week 17 game against the Miami Dolphins, the Patriots scored on defense for the seventh time and set a new team record. The previous record for defense touchdowns was six, which New England achieved in 2003 (5 interceptions and one fumble return) and 2007 ( 3 interceptions and three fumble returns). It is also the most defensive touchdowns in a season since the Jacksonville Jaguars had seven in 2017.
Against Miami, safety Kyle Dugger returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown giving the Patriots their fourth straight week of defensive scoring. It was Dugger’s third defensive score of the season, and he is the only player in the NFL with three defensive touchdowns. The touchdown was also the first time in team history that the Patriots had scored on defense in four straight weeks, and the last team to do so was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002.
Patriots defensive touchdowns in 2022:
- October 2nd – Defensive back Jack Jones returned an interception for a touchdown vs. Green Bay Packers.
- October 9th – Safety Kyle Dugger returned a fumble 59 yards for a touchdown vs. Detriot Lions.
- November 6th – Cornerback Jonathan Jones returned an interception 17 yards for a touchdown vs. Indianapolis Colts.
- December 12th – Lineback Raekwon McMillian returned a fumble 23 yards for a touchdown vs. Arizona Cardinals.
- December 18th – Safety Kyle Dugger returned an interception 13 yards for a touchdown vs. Las Vegas Raiders.
- December 24th – Defensive back Marcus Jones returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown vs. Cincinnati Bengals.
- January 1st – Safety Kyle Dugger returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown vs. Miami Dolphins.
The five returned interceptions for touchdowns tied a team record. The Patriots also returned five interceptions for touchdowns in 2001 and 2003.
The Patriots are averaging 3.1 defensive points per game this season, the highest in the league. They have averaged 7.0 defensive points per game in their last three games, also the league’s highest.
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The Patriots’ eight non-offensive touchdowns are an NFL high. The team record for most non-offensive touchdowns in a season is nine, which they achieved in 2010.
While the Patriots have seven non-offensive touchdowns from the defense, their other non-offensive touchdown came from special teams. Rookie standout cornerback Marcus Jones returned a game-winning punt return touchdown 84 yards in Week 11 against the New York Jets, and it was the first punt return touchdown on the season for New England.
Jones has also recorded an interception return touchdown and a 48-yard catch and run reception for his first offensive touchdown, making him the first player in 45 years to score a touchdown on offense, defense, and special teams in the same season.
The New England Patriots defense has dominated all season and has certainly stepped up in scoring when the offense has failed to.
If not for the defense, the Patriots might not be in the position they are currently in as they are looking to clinch a playoff spot in Week 18; they very well could have already been eliminated from playoff contention.