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Starting a little late here, but I really do want to breakdown a large portion of this game. To do so, I'll have to go with a quantity-over-quality approach, but I think a lot of information is still given:
Kickoff: Rushing from the Ind 0, 16 yd. return, Rushing cuts laterally across the field and is hemmed in between a free Baker and blocked Eckel.
Defensive Series #1 Missed Field Goal
Time: 15:00 remaining in the first quarter
Statistics: 14 plays (8 run, 5 pass, 1 missed field goal), 52 yards (31 run, 21 pass), time of possession was 6:34
Breakdown: 7 green plays (3 run, 3 pass, 1 missed field goal) for -2 yds. (-2 run, 0 pass), 1 black play (1 run, 0 pass) for 3 yds., 6 red plays (4 run, 2 pass) for 51 yds. (30 run, 21 pass)
1st and 10 Ind 16
Result: Pass, Gonzalez, play action, 13 yds.
Analysis: 2 WR, 1 TE, 2 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Samuel plays the WR out of the corner of his eye, and can’t take him down after a hook off the play action.
1st and 10 Ind 29
Result: Run, Addai, up the middle, 2 yds.
Analysis: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. The RTE goes 1v1 vs. Warren, a mis-match, allowing Warren to drive inside and get Addai as he cuts back behind a Wilfork-anchored line.
2nd and 8 Ind 31
Result: Pass, Addai, 8 yds.
Analysis: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Addai was lined up offset right and Bruschi at MLB, giving Addai the clear edge on a quick pattern to the flat. Vrabel blitzed backside.
1st and 10 Ind 39
Result: Pass, Wayne, play action, Incomplete.
Analysis: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Same idea as the first play – a comeback pattern on the outside. Wilfork did some spinning and got in Manning’s face, but Wayne dropped it diving.
2nd and 10 Ind 39
Result: Run, Addai, 8 yds.
Analysis: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Typical Colts off-tackle run, but Green got good penetration to stretch it outside. Seymour chased Addai down, but not after he turned the corner.
3rd and 2 Ind 47
Result: PENALTY on NE-94-T.Warren, Neutral Zone Infraction, 5 yards, enforced at IND 47 - No Play.
1st and 10 NE 48
Result: Pass, Moorehead, play action, Incomplete.
Analysis: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Play action to one side froze Seymour and slowed the rush. Throw went to the opposite sideline, looked like a zone, but Moorehead “caught” it with Gay and Samuel a good five steps away. Play was challenged and reversed.
2nd and 10 NE 48
Result: Run, Addai, 14 yds.
Analysis: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Wright in at DT. Another off-tackle play, this time Vrabel, who started off slowly by playing pass, doesn’t stay square and allowed Addai to cut back upfield. Harrison also played pass on Clark and had his back to the run. The C had a nice hold on Bruschi behind the play.
1st and 10 NE 34
Result: Run, Addai, 5 yds.
Analysis: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Off-tackle again, Harrison commits to the stretch play and blows up the LT outside, only to have Addai cut back downfield past 3 good seal blocks.
2nd and 5 NE 29
Result: Run, Addai, 3 yds.
Analysis: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Wright gets doubled at the POA inside and driven downfield but Wilfork sheds the LG to close the gap.
3rd and 2 NE 26
Result: Run, Addai, 3 yds.
Analysis: 3 Joseph Addai promos are your formations. From what CBS decides to show, Addai takes another off-tackle, evading Warren who perhaps over-penetrated. Wright couldn’t get Addai down in time after he was the only one to break across Addai’s 3-lane open highway downfield.
1st and 10 NE 23
Result: Pass, Clark, play action, Incomplete.
Analysis: 3 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Harrison gets a late jump on Clark after he’s caught looking into the backfield, but the cut outside in Clark’s route just before the end zone gave Harrison just enough time to catch up and beat Clark to the spot. In fact, Clark grabs Harrison’s waist and drags him down, but the ball looked uncatchable.
2nd and 10 NE 23
Result: Run, Keith, -5 yds.
Analysis: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Seymour came completely unblocked and caught Keith, a former CFL RB, from behind. Addai probably would have beaten it, but both Vrabel and Harrison shed their blocks wide and were ready.
3rd and 15 NE 28
Result: PENALTY on IND-74-C.Johnson, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at NE 28 - No Play.
3rd and 20 NE 33
Result: Run, Addai, 1 yd.
Analysis: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Colvin sets the edge and sends Addai right back into the hands of Wilfork, who made mincemeat of the RG with one thrust.
4th and 19 NE 32
Result: Field Goal, Vinatieri, 50 yds., wide left, deflected by Seymour.
Analysis: Pats stack the playside of the line double-wide and Seymour gets his big paw up there to deflect it, changing the ball’s spin.
Score: New England 0 - Indianapolis 0
Bend but don’t break defense highlighted by the use exclusively of the 4-2 nickel and soft CB coverage. This forced the Colts to grind it out on the ground and with short passes, something they’ve actually been doing a lot as of late. Wright was used instead of Green or Colvin on running downs and did a decent job. Addai got most of his yards on the outside stretch play, which the Colts also used for their play action on a couple plays as they usually do. It seems like the Colts OL can’t execute power blocks inside to save their lives, but excel on getting outside position and sealing off DLs.
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Time: 8:26 remaining in the first quarter
Statistics: 3 plays (1 run, 2 pass), 2 yards (3 run, -1 pass), time of possession was 2:12
Breakdown: 1 black play (1 run, 0 pass) for 3 yds., 2 red plays (0 run, 2 pass) for -1 yds.
1st and 10 NE 40
Result: Pass, Sack, Brady by Mathis, -10 yds.
Analysis: Shotgun 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Brady was trained on a short Welker pattern underneath, perhaps too much so. Although Mathis made Kaczur look foolish on a spin move, Brady still had a decent amount of time to make a throw, but not to make the throw he wanted (to Welker). Mathis never should have been let free, but Brady was rather Bledsoe-esque here.
2nd and 20 NE 30
Result: Run, Faulk, up the middle, 3 yds.
Analysis: Shotgun 3 WR, 0 TE, 2 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. First of many draw plays to Faulk on the night. Blocking was decent, but Mankins lost Freeney inside, causing Faulk to spin into Koppen and the MLB. But the poorest block was by Kaczur again, who lost leverage after being taken across the line by Mathis.
3rd and 17 NE 33
Result: Pass, Stallworth, 9 yds.
Analysis: Shotgun 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Kaczur’s cut block failed miserably and allowed Mathis to roam free, forcing a Brady dumpoff to Stallworth.
4th and 8 NE 48
Result: Punt, Hanson, to the Ind 9, Rushing fair catches after Washington beats his man, 49 yd. punt, 0 yd. return.
Score: New England 0 - Indianapolis 0
I’ve never been a huge fan of the “pass on the first play of the game” deal. A run has a very good chance of gaining yards, while passing risks an incompletion or sack. The Pats tried to use short Welker route as a 4-5 yd. run, but the play didn’t appear to leave any second option glass to break in case of emergency. Going into 2nd down with 20 yards to go is absolutely deadly to a drive. Instead of a Faulk draw setting up a 3rd and short situation, it ended up setting a 3rd and 17 situation that requires a good protection and a deep throw. The former not happening led to the latter not happening, which led to the Pats walking off the field not long after they walked on it.
Time: 6:14 remaining in the first quarter
Statistics: 7 plays (4 run, 2 pass, 1 field goal), 88 yards (39 run, 12 pass, 37 penalty), time of possession was 3:09
Breakdown: 2 green plays (1 run, 1 pass) for 0 yds. (0 run, 0 pass), 5 red plays (3 run, 1 pass, 1 field goal) for 51 yds. (39 run, 12 pass), 37 penalty yards lost for the Patriots.
1st and 10 Ind 9
Result: Run, Addai, 21 yds.
Analysis: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. The Colts started off with a beautiful RT cut block that took out Warren, Seymour, and Wilfork all in one fell swoop to the inside. This allowed Clark to seal a recovering Warren off inside, and more importantly, the RG to pull outside. Harrison squared up against the RG 1v1 outside and when Addai got behind the RG, Harrison tried to take out both with a quick slashing dive at the RG’s legs. Addai avoided this with a quick juke and hop, broke Bruschi’s ankles, cutback inside on a dime to send Vrabel and Sanders sliding into each other, then worked on a Wayne block on Hobbs before Gay, the last line of defense, made the stop. This isn’t bad tackling, this is just the Colts drafting Barry Sanders 11 picks after the Pats drafted Maroney.
1st and 10 Ind 30
Result: Pass, Wayne, 12 yds.
Analysis: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. 3-step drop, quick slant to Wayne. Harrison was beaten at the line by Clark, who was picked up by Hobbs. Harrison turned around and gave chase to Wayne, barely catching his ankle from behind to trip him up.
1st and 10 Ind 42
Result: Run, Addai, 12 yds.
Analysis: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Off-tackle, Vrabel sets the edge on the RT to force the run inside. Two things happen here that spring the play: Vrabel takes one step too many outside and is bent over backwards by the RT, while Warren isn’t patient, sheds the RTE inside, and can’t catch up to Addai from behind.
1st and 10 NE 46
Result: Pass, Gonzalez, play action, Incomplete. PENALTY on NE-22-A.Samuel, Defensive Pass Interference, 37 yards, enforced at NE 46 - No Play.
Analysis: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Last down’s off-tackle play sets up this play’s play action. Samuel trails Gonzalez on a deep fly, and with his right hand, pinches Gonzalez’s jersey on his right shoulder blade, but releases without dragging or tugging. With his left hand, Samuel makes contact with Gonzalez’s back but never grasps hold of anything before sticking his arm up in front of the pass. Samuel’s pinch of Gonzalez’s jersey in no way impeded Gonzalez’s running nor his efforts to reach out and catch the pass. When the pass comes down to eye-level or so, Gonzalez starts to drag his right toe (as evidenced by the FieldTurf particles), awkwardly preventing a dive for a pass that required one. I think that’s what the official saw.
1st and 9 NE 9
Result: Run, Keith, 6 yds.
Analysis: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Creative concept on the Colts’ part. They tested Wilfork’s discipline by actually trap blocking him with the LG. Wilfork, instead of maintaining his inside position, took the bait and was, well, trapped in the backfield. With Warren and Seau sealed, and Vrabel playing pass on the RTE, a large hole opened up. This was also the play where Keith lost the ball and CBS did not provide a replay in case the Colts ran the no huddle. It’s impossible to tell if he fumbled from the view given.
2nd and 3 NE 3
Result: Run, Addai, 0 yds.
Analysis: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB vs. 5-1 nickel. On a slow-developing play, Harrison blitzed freely on the backside and ended up stopping Addai going up the middle.
3rd and 3 NE 3
Result: Pass, Gonzalez, Incomplete.
Analysis: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB vs. 5-1 nickel. The key read here for Manning was what receiver Sanders, who was lined up at the edge of the line, bit on. He ended up going inside to help out Seau with the RTE Fletcher, so Manning went with Gonzalez on a quick slant with Samuel playing behind. If Gonzalez hadn’t tried to catch the ball with his crotch and right arm…
4th and 3 NE 3
Result: Field Goal, Vinatieri, 21 yds.
Score: New England 0 – Indianapolis 3
Suddenly that 32nd-ranked red zone defense isn’t looking too shabby. Or is it? The Keith run was a disaster in the front seven that required Sanders and Gay to save a touchdown. The Addai was good, sure, but every playside defender was unable to shed a block and cause problems. The Gonzalez incompletion was full possession to the ground away from becoming a touchdown. Bend-but-not-break or not, the first part of the drive was atrocious. Was the Samuel penalty a gift? Probably. But if Marvin Harrison is running that route, and Samuel is left in trailing coverage without any safety help, 6 points are on the board before we’re even talking about potential fumbles or drops in the end zone.
Time: 3:05 remaining in the first quarter
Statistics: 13 plays (1 run, 2 pass), 62 yards (3 run, -1 pass), time of possession was 6:05
Breakdown: 7 green plays (4 run, 3 pass) for 50 yards (26 run, 24 pass), 3 black plays (2 run, 1 pass) for 12 yds. (8 run, 4 pass), 3 red plays (1 run, 2 pass) for 0 yds. (0 run, 0 pass)
Kickoff: Hobbs from the NE 4, 34 yd. return, Hobbs is able to work behind some good Andrews, Wright, and Neal blocking to turn around some Colts defenders.
1st and 10 NE 38
Result: Run, Maroney, 4 yds.
Analysis: Shotgun 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Pats take care of Sanders by motioning Welker inside for blocking position. Brady is LT after Light pulls right and through, but misses the MLB. The RDE made the initial stop after schooling Kaczur inside.
2nd and 6 NE 42
Result: Pass, Moss, play action, 14 yds.
Analysis: Shotgun 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. This time Mankins pulls right and Brady stays in to deal with Mathis. Both Sanders and Bethea were deep in the cover-2, and the LBs were pulled in by the play action, giving Moss plenty of room for a rudimentary play action crossing pattern.
1st and 10 Ind 44
Result: Run, Maroney, 9 yds.
Analysis: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Welker motions right to left, again the playside, another testament to his blocking prowess. Perfect draw, with both Freeney and Mathis stuck behind the play. Mankins gets a great lead on the RDT to open things up and Welker gets real low on the WLB, eventually bringing him down.
2nd and 1 Ind 35
Result: Run, Maroney, 7 yds.
Analysis: 2 WR, 1 TE, 2 RB vs. 4-3. Evans in for the first time as a lead blocker on a more traditional run. Emphasis is on containing the LBs, with Kaczur driving the MLB out, but Koppen lets the WLB fly by backside and almost blow up the play. Mankins had a tough block to execute on the RDT inside, and takes him out with a pseudo-cut block, but this clogs Maroney’s lane and causes him to run into Brady’s block on the LDE.
1st and 10 Ind 28
Result: Run, Maroney, 4 yds.
Analysis: 1 WR, 2 TE (Hochstein and Brady), 2 RB vs. 4-3. Hochstein now in as the formations get bigger, prompting the Colts to bring down Sanders into the box weakside. Design looked to be a bit off, as the hole was clearly the right ‘a’ gap. Koppen sealed the MLB, Kaczur the LDE, and Evans led through to the SS, but the handoff came as a sort of misdirection to the left side. So when Maroney got the ball, he had to cut back across the grain into Neal’s block on the LDT, which he chose not to do.
Note: Flags fly for illegal formation even after Hochstein reports as an eligible receiver. Just another example of incompetence.
2nd and 6 Ind 24
Result: Pass, Watson, play action, 4 yds.
Analysis: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB. After 3 runs, Faulk comes in for some passing help. Freeney lines up wide and Light takes him out with a cut block during his spin move, opening the throwing lane. Moss draws the RCB deep opening up room for Watson to beat the SLB to the flat.
Note: End of 1st quarter.
3rd and 2 Ind 20
Result: Run, Evans, 3 yds.
Analysis: 0 WR, 3 TE, 2 RB vs. 4-3. Watson comes in motion to Hochstein-side (right) and protects the edge. Evans is offset right and uses Neal and Koppen as his plows.
1st and 10 Ind 17
Result: Pass, Maroney, Incomplete.
Analysis: 2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-3. Pats start with Moss tight left and Evans at FB, then motion Evans wide left and Moss wide right, keeping Watson and Brady at TE. Colts have their backup LDE Josh Thomas in, who slips on his spin move. Maroney goes underneath for a dumpoff but before Brady can start moving his arm forward, Freeney turnstiles Light and knocks Brady’s arm down, sending the pass to the ground.
2nd and 10 Ind 17
Result: Run, Faulk, 7 yds.
Analysis: Shotgun 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Back to the shotgun and draw play. Freeney and Mathis again take the bait. Neal seals the LDT and Koppen the deep Tampa-2 MLB. Welker’s assignment is the NB Jackson playing off the line, who at first goes inside on Welker to force Faulk outside, then beats Welker back outside to make the stop.
3rd and 3 Ind 10
Result: Pass, Watson, 6 yds.
Analysis: Shotgun 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Faulk stays in as a blocker, saving Light after a failed cut block on Freeney before heading into the flat. Pocket stays pristine, but the coverage is still tight. Welker works the NB outside to give Watson just enough time and space for Brady to fire it in before the MLB and SS converge.
1st and 4 Ind 4
Result: Pass, Faulk, Incomplete.
Analysis: Shotgun 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Gaffney in at RWR, as he has for most of the 3 WR packages so far this game. NB blitzes, but the only problem in the protection is Kaczur getting turned around in a heartbeat by Mathis, who clotheslines Brady just after the throw. Faulk went in an up-and-out pattern designed to beat the SLB to the corner, but Brady’s throw as off his back foot and one-hopped Faulk, who was covered tightly and tackled by the SLB after the throw.
2nd and 4 Ind 4
Result: Run, Maroney, 0 yds.
Analysis: 2 WR, 1 TE, 2 RB vs. 4-3. This is a misdirection draw play where Brady drops back and then turns around to hand it off to Maroney behind him. Looking at the LBs, Watson missed the SLB, who was pushed down by the FS anyway, Evans led on the MLB, and Neal drove the WLB out. The problem here wasn’t as much the blocking as it was the slow development of the play. Mankins stood up the RDT well long enough, and Neal brought the LDT to his knees outside. But when Maroney came through the line, the LDT dove in Maroney’s path and Mathis joined in from the outside, making the stop before Sanders even was in the vicinity.
3rd and 4 Ind 4
Result: Pass, Moss, 4 yds, TOUCHDOWN.
Analysis: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB vs. 4-2 nickel. Blocking was fine, with Light riding Freeney harmlessly behind Brady to open up the throwing lane. Moss was 1v1 against the RCB. Brady was looking for him all the way. End of subject. 6 points. I don’t know what the Colts were thinking.
Score: New England 7 – Indianapolis 3
Good to see the running game having successes in both the draw and straight run games. Lots of different looks from the Pats on this drive, featuring a lot of Evans, who had a few great lead blocks. Kaczur certainly had a tough time with Mathis the entire drive, but to his credit, had no support and only allowed serious pressure once. Light had his hiccup as well. The interior OL blocking was excellent, and the only times the Pats running game sputtered was on slow-developing draw plays that, in my opinion, had some holes in their designs. The two third down conversions were huge, especially the second, when Brady threaded the needle into a crowded secondary and Watson held on as three defenders converged right on him. Pats probably should have gone to Moss earlier, especially with a shorter and lighter Colts secondary.
This is really great stuff, I read it over on Planet, but I'm posting here b/c we need more of this here, particularly now when the media is being extra annoying and there's seemingly nothing else to talk about.