Doug Flutie (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Last season, the Patriots sported the best offense in the league. They are now ranked 25th overall after two games. If this trend continues throughout the season, they could equal other bad Patriot offenses for futility.
By Kevin Saleeba
Last season, the New England Patriots were the number one ranked offense overall in the NFL.
After two games into the 2013 season, the New England Patriots are ranked 25th overall in total offense out of 32 teams. They’ve managed to score 36 points against two of the more inferior teams in the league in the Bills and Jets, 10 points worse than the league average.
The Patriots could be tagged the worst offense in franchise history if this trend continues. To get that infamous honor, they’d have to beat out some terrible offenses the franchise has ever seen. These offenses could not pass, catch, run or score.
The top six bad Patriots offenses are as follows:
1970 Boston Patriots
Following the merger of the AFL and the NFL, the 1970 Boston Patriots finished with an abysmal 2-12 record. They were ranked last (26th overall) in total offense. Quarterback Joe Kapp finished with a whopping three touchdown passes. After Kapp was replaced by Mike Taliaferro for four games, the team did not fair any better. Taliaferro finished with four touchdown passes. Both quarterbacks tossed four times as many interceptions than touchdowns with 28. The Patriots were last in passing yards (1586). They were just as bad on the ground, ranked last in rushing yards with 1,040.
1972 New England Patriots
The Jim Plunkett led 1972 Patriots were ranked 24th overall in total team offense out of 26 teams. Plunkett had trouble finding the end zone tossing only eight touchdown passes with 25 interceptions. The team could only muster 192 points all season, third worst in the league. The running game was a slight improvement with 1,532 total yards, good for a 22nd league ranking. The team finished 3-11; good for last place in the AFC East.
1988 New England Patriots
Somehow the Patriots were able to finish 9-7 with the second to worst passing attack in the league in 1988. Four quarterbacks (Doug Flutie, Steve Grogan, Tony Eason, and Tom Ramsey) divided the starting duties in a season where they combined for 12 passing touchdowns and 28 interceptions. The Patriots finished 24th out of 28 teams in total offense. If it wasn’t for rookie-of-the-year rusher John Stephens, who ran for 1,168 yards, the offense would have finished last overall.
1990 New England Patriots
This Patriots offense has to be the worst on the list. The 1990 team was ranked 28th (last) overall in the league for team offense. Steve Grogan started the first four games of the year, beating the Colts in Week Two as the only highlight. The Patriots finished 1-15 with Tommy Hodson and Marc Wilson combining for no wins and 12 losses with a combined 10 touchdown passes. The running game wasn’t much better as John Stephens led the team with two, yes two rushing touchdowns. They had four total rushing touchdowns all season long and their ground game was ranked 25th overall with 1,398 totals yards.
1991 New England Patriots
This offense doesn’t seem as bad in comparison to the 1990 squad, but don’t let that fool you. The 1991 Patriots were still terrible offensively. Quarterbacks Tommy Hodson and Hugh Millen combined for 11 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. They were ranked 25th overall scoring only 211 points, an average of 13.2 points per game. They were able to finish 6-10 as a team.
1992 New England Patriots
Quantity over quality never works at the quarterback position, especially in New England. Much like in 1988, the Patriots started another four-headed monster at quarterback with Hugh Millen, Scott Zolak, Tommy Hodson, and Jeff Carlson. The quartet threw a gigantic 13 touchdown passes with 19 interceptions in 1992. Millen led the way with eight touchdown tosses. The team’s offense was ranked 26th overall with a second worse 205 points.
The good news in 1992, Drew Bledsoe and good offenses were on the horizon.
Kevin Saleeba is the senior editor and columnist for Patriots Insider. A former beat writer for local media, Kevin has extensive knowledge of the team and experience covering the Patriots. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinSaleeba