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Patriots Make Halftime, In Game Adjustments Against the Colts

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The Patriots have found away to pull away late in the game against the Colts. How has New England caught Indianapolis off guard?

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots may have been able to beat Andrew Luck's Colts with the average score of 48-22, but that doesn't mean the games have been blowouts after the opening kick off. While New England has always had the lead at half time, it's only been by 7, 9, and 4 point margins- the past two games have seen a one score margin entering the 4th quarter.

Games well within range for any team in the NFL.

Still, the Patriots always find a way to run up the score in the fourth quarter. How?

It seems as if the Patriots coaching staff does a great job of making halftime adjustments to catch Indianapolis off-guard.

1st R% 2nd R% Del
2012 29% 53% 25%
2013 68% 57% -10%
2014 46% 69% 23%

In 2012, the Patriots ran the ball 29% in the 1st half, and 53% in the second half as they pulled away; this was just the Patriots imposing their will on a poor defense.

In 2013, the Patriots came up running nearly 70% of the time, picking up 80 yards on 25 carries- a mere 3.2 yards per carry. It wasn't dominance, but it was a clear commitment to running the ball. In the second half, the team flipped the script and started to pass more, albeit rather unsuccessfully; LeGarrette Blount picked up 103 yards on just two rushes to bury the Colts.

In 2014, Tom Brady actually threw more in the first half than the Patriots ran the ball, and he did not look good while doing so. The Patriots had shown an ability to run the ball in the first half, so they pretty much used Brady to supplement the rushing game. Brady picked up 125 yards and both of his touchdowns on short passing plays, where the receivers collected a ton of yards after the catch.

New England's coaches have proven time and time again that they're not married to any specific offensive identity and that they'll elect to play in a fashion that scores the most points. The Patriots will likely use the first half to see if the Colts run defense has truly improved, or if passing up the middle of the field is still an area for easy success. Whatever hole in the Colts defense appears, look for the Patriots to dig their claws into that hole for the second half.

The Patriots have also shown the ability to tighten the screws while on defense and take advantage of Andrew Luck's proclivity for turning the ball over late in the half.

Luck Att Cmp Cmp% Yards YPA TD INT
Q1/3 52 35 67.3% 564 10.8 3 1
Q2/4 78 35 44.9% 404 5.2 3 7

For all of Luck's physical ability, the Patriots do a phenomenal job of taking advantage of his inexperience and making in-the-moment adjustments.

Not only do the New England players have the ability to expose the weaknesses in the Colts, but the coaches can also take advantage of the Colts offensive tendencies.