Written by: Alex McKinnon– Staff Writing Intern(@)
An exerpt from Patriots.com:
The Patriots have yet to throw an interception in 2016 through the first seven games, setting a team mark to start a season. The old mark was in 2015 when the Patriots did not throw a pick in the first four games. The overall team record for most consecutive games without an interception is eight straight games, set in the second half of the 2010 season. The NFL record to start a season without an interception is nine games set by Cleveland in 1960. The Patriots join the 2008 Washington Redskins (8) and 1960 Browns (9) as the only teams with no interceptions through first seven games to start a season.
The Patriots will enter Week 8 at 6-1 and will face the Buffalo Bills, who are off to a 4-3 start. The combination of Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett fared very well in their 4-game stint, going 3-1 and and more importantly, they did not throw an interception. As a whole, the Patriots quarterbacks (including Tom Brady), have gone 152/216 (70.3% completions) with 1900 yards, 12 touchdowns and again, zero interceptions. Garoppolo and Brissett each fumbled the ball once, but the position has done very well keeping the ball in the Patriots possession. It is a strong credit to Bill Belichick and OC/QB Coach Josh McDaniels for two first-time starters, Garoppolo and Brissett, to not throw one pick.
With this being said, the Patriots now have the opportunity to break a record which I find rather impressive over their next three games, and possibly more. The 2008 Redskins (8), the 2010 Patriots (8) and the 1960 Browns (9) are the only teams in history with a lengthier start to the season without throwing an INT. Many were impressed with Cowboys rookie QB Dak Prescott when he passed Tom Brady on the list of most pass attempts (176 for Prescott) without throwing an interception, but this record is equally impressive being held for over 56 years. The Patriots do face a gauntlet over the next three weeks on their road to this record however. The Bills have been a very strong defensive unit thus far including a week 4 shutout of the Patriots in the final game before Brady returned. The Patriots will certainly be looking for revenge of their lone loss of the season, but Tom has carved the Bills defense in the past no matter the situation.
If the Patriots are able to get by the Bills without an interception, their next opponents would be the Seahawks and the 49ers on the road to this record. The Patriots/Seahawks recent rivalry has been well documented including a famous interception in Superbowl 49:
The Seahawks, although slightly depleted over the past two season, remain one of the strongest secondaries in the league with the likes of Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman. If Tom is able to escape both the Bills and the Seahawks without an INT, I find it hard to imagine they will not be able to break the record in Week 10 vs. the 49ers. The remaining opponents after San Francisco would be the Jets, Rams, Ravens, Broncos, Jets and Dolphins who all have a formidable secondary, so we will see just how far this record can go. With Tom Brady being the master of control in the pocket, this is absolutely a record he can command simultaneous with another dominant Patriots season.
Something that Belichick, McDaniels and running back coach Ivan Fears should ‘Fear’ is the number of fumbles allowed by the Patriots offense. They are second in the league (in a bad way) in fumbles with 14, trailing only the Chargers who sit at an outrageous 17 fumbles heading into week 8. With a gross combination of rushing, receiving and special teams fumbles, the Patriots have looked uncharacteristically sloppy so far despite their league leading 6-1 record. If you recall, Steven Ridley was the king of fumbles during his time with the Patriots and was benched and inevitably cut from the roster despite his high upside, so the current Patriots roster should take a trick out of the Mike Zimmer playbook…Mike Zimmer playbook.. and learn to not be complacent with their success.