New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick knows more about football than any other coach in the NFL – possibly ever. Seeing him break down film is therefore must-watch television in order to broaden one’s very own understanding of the strategies and intricacies of the game. Belichick does this every week on patriots.com, when he joins ex-New England quarterback Scott Zolak to take a look at the plays of the week.
In this week’s episode of Belichick Breakdown, Zolak and his guest take a look at four of the team’s top plays from its 27-20 opening day win over the visiting Houston Texans:
Q1: 3-12-HST 21 (11:58) (Shotgun) T.Brady pass deep left to R.Gronkowski for 21 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
Q2: 1-10-HST 12 (12:45) (Shotgun) T.Brady pass short right to J.White for 12 yards, TOUCHDOWN
Q2: 2-10-NE 15 (9:52) (No Huddle) D.Watson sacked at NE 19 for -4 yards (D.Wise).
Q4: 1-10-NE 16 (4:32) (Shotgun) L.Miller right tackle to NE 17 for -1 yards (J.Bentley).
Belichick starts talking about the Patriots’ first touchdown of the game, a 21-yard back shoulder throw from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski in a 3rd and 12 situation. The future Hall of Fame head coach explains how Houston likely expected Gronkowski to be lined up closer to the boundary, which in turn gave him the necessary space to operate near the sideline – and for Brady to place the football where only his target can come down with it.
Next, Belichick takes a look at James White’s score in the second quarter. He points out how Brady initially looks to another read – wide receiver Chris Hogan – before moving to the other side to find White in the flat. Belichick praises White’s abilities in the passing game and to win a one-on-one battle in the open field.
Belichick and Zolak next moved to the defensive side of the ball, starting with a breakdown of a second quarter sack by Deatrich Wise Jr. While the second-year defender ultimately was the one to take down Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, the front-line defensive tackles and left-side edge Kyle Van Noy all played a big role in creating the play – as did the coverage, which forced Watson to stay in the pocket long enough for Wise Jr. to get him.
Finally, a run stop in the fourth quarter is shown: Ja’Whaun Bentley made a tackle for a loss of one yard on a planned perimeter run. However, the Patriots’ defensive line – led by Lawrence Guy – was able to get penetration for the rookie to make the tackle and force Houston in another long-yardage situation in the red area.