In New England’s Monday night victory over the Jets, a 33-0 rout, the Patriots achieved two things that had not been seen in the NFL for 80 years.
No, it isn’t the Patriots’ 18 interceptions through seven games, even though that’s an insane-enough stat.
But the Patriots’ start to the season has been highlighted by a pair of shutouts and a monstrous point differential that have both forced historians to dig far back into the annals of league history.
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Two Donuts on the Road
It has taken only seven weeks for the Patriots to record a pair of shutouts this season. Even more remarkable, both have come on the road.
The Patriots are the first team to do that since the 1942 Chicago Bears accomplished that same feat. That Bears team shut out the Brooklyn Dodgers, 35-0, and the Detroit Lions, 42-0 over a three-week stretch.
That season, Chicago finished 11-0 and earned a spot in the NFL Championship Game, one they eventually lost to the Eastern Division champion Washington Redskins. That Bears defense rounded out the season with four shutouts over the final six games and allowed just 14 points over that span.
While the Patriots have yet to face a top-ranked offense in their first seven games, the pair of shutouts is still impressive for a defense that has absolutely eviscerated its opponents this season.
Not sure what’s more impressive: the shutouts themselves or the fact that this feat hasn’t happened in 78 years.
That Makes Quite the Difference
Through New England’s first seven games of 2019, the Patriots have a plus-175 point differential, outscoring opponents 223-48 to start the year.
That’s the largest point-differential through a team’s first seven games since the 1920 Buffalo All-Americans put up a plus-218 point differential through its first seven games. The All-Americans had three shutouts in the opening seven games and finished the 1920 season with a 9-1-1 record.
The main difference between the Patriots and All-Americans: New England has played four of its games on the road while the All-Americans played all seven games on its home field without any travel.
Strength of schedule aside, what the Patriots have been able to do on both sides of the ball is impressive and for it to have taken 99 years to get anywhere close to the All-Americans record is a major accomplishment for the Patriots.
History in the Making
Prior to this season, the Patriots team that allowed the fewest points in a season under Bill Belichick was the 2006 team that conceded just 237 points and ultimately fell in the AFC Championship Game via a defensive collapse.
Belichick’s 1994 Cleveland Browns were likely his best defense throughout the legendary coach’s career. But the way the Patriots are trending so far, New England looks poised to pass that mark and perhaps set an NFL record in the process.