After every New England Patriots win, head coach Bill Belichick joins radio color commentator and ex-Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak for a film breakdown of the action. This week, the duo took a look at three pivotal plays from the team’s 38-31 victory over the Chicago Bears – New England’s first road win of the season.
(11:00) S.Gostkowski kicks 66 yards from NE 35 to CHI -1. B.Cunningham to CHI 17 for 18 yards (N.Grigsby)
Belichick and Zolak start by taking a look at kickoff coverage, using a first quarter play to highlight the unit’s execution. “We get a really good kick from Stephen Gostkowski, that’s always a key thing,” the head coach says. “Good hang time, good distance, gives the guys a chance to cover.” Belichick then highlights how his team does a good job of setting the defensive right-side edge and having two players – Nicholas Grigsby and Matthew Slater – beat their blocks to close the lane for the ball carrier.
(8:40) S.Gostkowski kicks 68 yards from NE 35 to CHI -3. B.Cunningham to CHI 16 for 19 yards (B.King; N.Ebner).
The next play to be analyzed is a kickoff in the fourth quarter. After praising Gostkowski for another well-placed kick, Belichick points out how Brandon King is able to set the left-side edge while the backside players also close in quickly. “We got that hole return condensed into [a] small area,” he says. “When the play starts it looks like they have a lot of field to work with but if we can get a good kick, good coverage and get our outside guys to set the formation tightly then there isn’t really a lot of room to run.”
(11:05) C.Parkey kicks 60 yards from CHI 35 to NE 5. C.Patterson for 95 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
“This is a big play to answer the score that the Bears just had,” Belichick says about Cordarrelle Patterson’s 95-yard kickoff return touchdown in the second quarter. The coach points out that Chicago, while initially having good coverage, overplays the runback which in turn allows his team to take advantage. Belichick also points out the role that two blocks by Brandon King and rookie J.C. Jackson played: “The key to this return is getting the backside cut off [to] create a little bit of an alley so C.P. can hit it.”
4-8-CHI 45 (6:05) P.O’Donnell punt is BLOCKED by D.Hightower, Center-P.Scales, RECOVERED by NE-K.Van Noy at CHI 29. K.Van Noy for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
Belichick starts his breakdown of the Patriots’ blocked punt in the fourth quarter by highlighting the personnel and how the bigger defender are on the field to prevent Chicago from trying a potential fake. With Chicago initially blocking well, one of the rushers had to make a play – and Dont’a Hightower did. “Hightower is able to get in there with a good two-arm extension [...] good blocking technique, puts his hands right on the ball,” Belichick points out. “Great individual play here by High.”
To watch video of the breakdown, please visit patriots.com.