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. Normally, the duo takes a look at around four or five pivotal plays. This week, however, they went into overtime and thoroughly analyzed seven plays from the team’s 27-13 road victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.
4-18-NE 32 (9:04) R.Allen punts 51 yards to NYJ 17, Center-J.Cardona, out of bounds
The duo starts by analyzing a Ryan Allen punt in the second quarter. “Ryan had a great day and this is a big punt for us,” Belichick said about the play. “51 yards, out of bounds, great field position and, of course, negated a return with the perfect direction he had on it.” The head coach did not only praise Allen’s kick and overall performance but also pointed out how the rest of the special teams unit was quick to the potential returner.
3-12-NYJ 34 (1:18) (Shotgun) T.Brady pass deep middle to R.Gronkowski for 34 yards, TOUCHDOWN [H.Anderson].
“This is an interesting play,” Belichick noted about the Patriots’ first touchdown of the day, a 34-yard pass from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski. The head coach pointed out how the Jets used a slightly inverted cover 2 defense with the boundary cornerback serving as the second deep-field safety:
“What happens here is [that] Rob comes down the middle of the field and the corner, [M]orris Claiborne, can’t quite get back to where the safety would have been,” Belichick said before praising the offense for taking advantage. “A really well-executed play against a look we haven’t really seen much of this year.” For further analysis of the touchdown, please click here.
1-10-NE 25 (15:00) S.Michel up the middle to NYJ 44 for 31 yards (D.Roberts).
Belichick and Zolak take a look at another offensive play next, the first one of the third quarter: a 31-yard run by Sony Michel. While the play was originally designed to go to the weak side of the formation, Michel makes a cut to exploit a hole on the opposite end. “When Sony cuts it back, he does a nice job of pressing into the line of scrimmage which draws both the defender and the safety, [Jamal] Adams, into that gap.”
As Belichick pointed out, this was made possible by some great blocking by Rob Gronkowski and Trent Brown: “Really good blocking on the backside of the play by Trent and Rob,” the head coach said. “Because Rob does such a good job out here on the outside linebacker, Sony is able to get vertical in there behind Trent; it’s a great block by Trent.”
1-10-NE 25 (4:00) T.Brady pass deep middle to C.Hogan to NYJ 48 for 27 yards (M.Claiborne).
Staying on the offensive side of the ball, Belichick and Zolak next analyzed the Patriots’ successful play-action game which was set up by the team’s productivity on the ground. “We fake the ball in here and all three second-level players [...] end up running up into the line of scrimmage,” Belichick pointed out about a 27-yard play to wide receiver Chris Hogan. “There’s a huge hole here for Chris to get in.”
“You just can’t create that kind of space in the drop-back passing game because the linebackers and safeties will drop back,” Belichick continued. “Play-action is a way to create some openings if you can get them to buy into the fact that they think it’s a run and you’ve had success running the ball.”
2-10-NYJ 21 (1:59) (Shotgun) T.Brady pass short right to J.Edelman for 21 yards, TOUCHDOWN
Three plays after Hogan’s long gain off play-action, the Patriots found the end zone again on a 21-yard connection from Tom Brady to Julian Edelman. “They went into a three-man rush, so they drop both outside linebackers,” Belichick said about the defense on the play. “I think they made a mistake on this because both linebackers ended up in the same zone and there’s nobody out in the curl area.” Edelman was exactly in this area, of course, which allowed him to catch the pass and take it into the end zone. “Excellent running by Edelman,” Belichick said.
1-10-NE 20 (13:23) S.Michel left guard to NYJ 47 for 33 yards (J.Adams)
“This is a play that starts out like it comes to the offensive right and then really bends back to the left,” Belichick said about the next play — once again a successful run by Sony Michel. “It starts with a good double-team block and then Shaq [Mason] with the kickout-block.” New England’s head coach went on to praise the wide receivers’ downfield blocking — mentioning Cordarrelle Patterson and Josh Gordon on this particular play — as well as the offensive line.
4-2-NE 4 (1:56) (Shotgun) J.McCown pass incomplete short right to J.Kearse (J.McCourty) [D.Wise].
After exclusively discussing special teams and offense, Belichick and Zolak went on to talk about the defense late during their film breakdown when they analyzed a 4th and 2 stop in the red zone. “We blitz on the play and get good pressure up the middle,” Belichick said. “This is really an excellent play by Jason McCourty, as he uses good technique to come up and get his hands in there where [Jermaine] Kearse is trying to catch the ball. No interference, gets his hands on the receiver’s hands and on the ball and breaks it up.”
To watch the full video of the breakdown, please visit patriots.com.