Re: It's about
posted at 10/6/2012 7:29 AM EDT
More evidence that Patriots want to be more balanced by their coach and players.
Taken from today's Hearld:
Pats get boost from run game
By Jeff Howe
Saturday, October 6, 2012 - Updated 7 hours ago
FOXBORO - After faking a handoff to Brandon Bolden, quarterback Tom Brady [stats] turned around and realized the Patriots [team stats] offense hit the jackpot on the first play of the fourth quarter during Sunday's victory against the Bills.
Brady saw his record-setting tight end, Rob Gronkowski, streaking wide open over the middle of the field before hitting him for a 28-yard touchdown pass that gave the Patriots the lead and started a 52-28 pummeling of their division foes.
How did the Bills lose Gronkowski, whose stats are as noticeable as his hulking stature? It's because they were fooled by the Patriots' attempts to balance out the offense, which called 12 running plays and 12 passing plays in the previous quarter. Brady's play fake tempted two linebackers to sell out against the run and allowed Gronkowski free reign down the middle.
The art of play-action isn't always about the acting job of the quarterback, running back and offensive line. Plenty of times, the illusion is created beforehand when the offense tricks the defense into thinking they'll run whenever they please.
That's the advantage of a balanced offense.
"Any great football team has got to be balanced, and that's what we're working toward," said Stevan Ridley, the Patriots' leading rusher with 339 yards. "We;ve got to go in there, play our game and do what we have to do. When we have the defense on their heels and they don't know what to expect, it makes it a lot easier on everybody."
The Pats have been well-balanced this season, but havenât reinvented their playbook. For the most part, theyâre above average by their own standards.
Through four games, the Pats have run the ball on 137 of 299 plays (45.8 percent). That serves as their third-most runs through four games in Bill Belichick;s 13-year tenure, and the run-to-pass ratio is the fifth highest since 2000. They actually ran the ball 47.1 percent of the time through four games in 2010 when Randy Moss was still on the roster.
The Patriots' 576 rushing yards through four games is also their third most under Belichick, but that only amounts to 32.9 percent of their total yardage, which is the ninth-highest clip.
More than anything, the Patriots might be doing a better job mixing it up by the goal line. Seven of their 14 offensive touchdowns are on the ground. The seven scores are their most through four games under Belichick, and it's the fourth time they've scored at least half of their offensive touchdowns on the ground.
Again, the Patriots have done a good job on the ground, and Ridley has given them a more exciting dynamic of power and explosion than they've had in quite some time. But offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels hasn't exactly put Bill O'Brien's playbook in the shredder.
This could be a matter of better execution because the numbers dictate the philosophy hasn't changed. The Patriots have certainly capitalized off Brady's right arm, but they have tried to establish the run in the first month of previous seasons.
It just happens to be working better during this go-round.
"It's a great way to play because it just forces the defense to have to react and cover everything," Belichick said. "The more balanced that you can be, then the less they can say, 'Well, we're just going to concentrate on this one thing,' because you've shown them too many other things that they have to defend."