- Muffed punt by Gunner Olszewski results in the ball on the Steelers 10 yard line. Patriots score a touchdown.
10/9/22- Patriots 29 Lions 0
- Kyle Dugger recovered a fumble for a touchdown.
10/16/22- Patriots 38 Browns 15
- A muffed punt on the 19 led to an eventual touchdown.
- A fumble returned to the Cleveland 8 turned into a touchdown
10/30/22- Patriots 22 Jets 17
- An interception shortly before halftime gave the Patriots the ball on the Jets 40. The Patriots kicked a field goal.
- Another interception brought to the Jets 37 led to another Patriots field goal.
11/6/22- Patriots 26 Colts 3
- Blocked punt returned to Indianapolis 2 yard line by Schooler. Patriots score a touchdown.
- Interception by Jonathan Jones returned for a touchdown.
In my opinion, the Patriots have had game changing plays in all of their victories this season. While the interceptions leading to field goals against the Jets don't appear to be as impressive as the plays leading to touchdowns, the timing was important. The first pick occurred on 3rd and 2 with 48 seconds until the half with the Jets leading 10-3. Instead of going into the half trailing by 7 or more, the Patriots were behind by 4.
- Interception on Jets 35 led to a field goal
- Interception on Jets 35 led to a touchdown.
10/10/21- Patriots 25 Texans 22
- A punt of zero yards at the 36 yard line resulted in a field goal. The Patriots were losing 9-22 at the time of the turnover.
10/24/21- Patriots 54 Jets 13
- Interception on the Jets 43. Five plays later the Patriots scored a touchdown..
10/31/21- Patriots 27 Chargers 24
- Interception on the Chargers 40 right before half. The Patriots scored a field goal.
- Adrian Phillips returned an interception for a touchdown.
11/7/21- Patriots 24 Panthers 6
- J.C. Jackson had an 88 yard interception return for a touchdown.
- On the next possession the Patriots had an interception at the Panthers 43. That turned into a field goal
11/14/21- Patriots 45 Browns 7
- Kyle Dugger returned an interception to the 5 yard line. The Patriots scored a touchdown on the next play. This happened in the 1st quarter with the score tied at 7.
11/18/21- Patriots 25 Falcons
- Kyle Van Noy had a pick 6. On the two previous possessions Matt Ryan had interceptions which turned into field goals.
11/28/21- Patriots 36 Titans 13
- A punt was returned to the 37 yard line leading to a touchdown.
- Trailing 13-29 on their 21, the Titans went for it on 4th down. This great field position led to a touchdown.
12/6/21- Patriots 14 Bills 10
- A N'Keal Harry muffed punt on the 14 led to a one play score for the Bills
1/2/22- Patriots 50 Jaguars 10
- Interception on the Jacksonville 33 led to a touchdown
- Interception on the Jacksonville 43 led to a touchdown
- Interception brought back to the 1 yard line led to a touchdown
Of last season's 10 wins, 9 of them had obvious game changing plays via the defense or special teams. The only one that didn't was the game in Buffalo. Although it didn't have an obvious game changing play like the others, Matt Judon had a 9 yard sack on 2nd and goal from the 6 yard line. After having an incompletion on 3rd down, Tyler Bass was wide right with his 33 yard attempt. Since he's never missed a field goal under 30 yards, that sack was likely huge.
Verdict- If we don't consider Judon's sack in the Buffalo game, then the Patriots have won 14 of 15 games with game changing defensive or special teams plays. If we count the sack, then it's a perfect 15 for 15. So, the answer is no, the Patriots do not win games without a big assist from defense or special teams.