Belichick purposely allowed DEN to run on us Sunday night

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by supafly, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. supafly

    supafly Supporter Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    It should be noted that in reviewing the game film, the Patriots refused to change their approach to try and combat the run. On 90/90 plays including overtime, Belichick chose to continue to stay in a nickle defense, at one time even substituting Hightower out for Dane Fletcher making our run defense even worse. As we know, this is not the first time that we've seen this.

    In the book by David Halberstam called "Education of a coach
    ," the topic is brought up regarding Belichick's defensive gameplan in SB 25 vs the Buffalo Bills and RB Thurman Thomas. As we all know, that NYG team had a great defensive line that prided themselves in stopping the run, and they reportedly wanted no part of Belichick's gameplan to allow Thurman Thomas to run. He literally had to talk them into it.

    As they prepared for their final gameplan meeting, Belichick reiterated his plan to allow Thomas to run for over 100+ yards, telling players like Carl Banks, Lawrence Taylor etc to allow him to wiggle free for an extra couple of yards from time to time; noting that it would help to limit the throws from Jim Kelly and the high powered BUF offense. At one point the defensive players openly complained and moaned about this questionable gameplan, and Belichick asked them "who here wants to win the MVP?" As several hands shot up, he gave them a serious look and stated "then let Thomas run."

    The result spoke for itself as Thomas ran for 135 yards, but the heavily favored and high powered Bills lost the game on a 46 yard FG attempt.

    Does anyone feel that the same exact thing happened on Sunday night? In other words, judging by the fact that we stayed in nickle on 90/90 plays, we didn't attempt to try and do anything at all about the fact that they were gouging us vs the run. I honestly believe that we'd have attempted to combat this if it weren't part of the gameplan, and we weren't up against Peyton Manning and a very high powered offense.

    The concern I'd have is that this isn't likely to work 2x this year, and if we meet them in the playoffs, we'll have to hope that our offense can match them blow for blow against that high powered attack of weapons.

    The bottom line is that we once again are witnessing a very, very good span of coaching from arguably the greatest coach to ever exist. As stated in my signature on the weekend prior to week #1, this has the potential to be his greatest coaching season ever when we consider everything that happened in the off-season, and that was before the injuries, controversial calls, etc.
  2. andrewgarrr

    andrewgarrr Banned

    Bend don't break. Nothing new...

    Play nickel. Play inside technique on routes, disrupt the timing by jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage, and force the QB to check to run plays between the tackles or throw outside the numbers in below freezing temperatures.

    Despite the scheme being genius, the players also had to execute - particularly Ryan, Talib, and Arrington. They played incredibly. If they play @ DEN in January they'll need the same level of play (if not better) in the secondary.
  3. cmasspatsfan

    cmasspatsfan In the Starting Line-Up

    It was definitely the plan, keep two safeties deep and dare Peyton to hand off, don't think they wanted to give up 280 yards but just think how much better if would have been if we had big Vince and Mayo playing.
    I'd expect KC to have something similar this week and they're good at stopping the run and the pass but I think they'll concede the running game in support of passing D.
  4. supafly

    supafly Supporter Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    This isn't anything close to your "bend but don't break" example. Apparently, you didn't read the post too closely--which often happens when scanning.

    The premise is that Belichick specifically designed a gameplan to allow DEN to have a tremendous amount of success, much like he devised when he told the 1986 NY Giants to "purposely allow Thurman Thomas to run for at least 100+ yards." (which all of the players were shocked to hear)

    That is hardly comparable to bend but don't break. That is allowing the other team to have success on the ground on purpose.

    I agree about your thoughts should be meet up again.
  5. supafly

    supafly Supporter Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    Yes, that rushing total was likely much higher than he would've liked.

    It's also just another example of why Belichick disregards many stats, much like he did with the passing defense in 2011 on our way to the SB.

    My question is exactly how bad the rush defense REALLY is? Certainly not good, but certainly not 250+ bad either. It will be interesting to see how they fare moving through the rest of the season.
  6. andrewgarrr

    andrewgarrr Banned

    How is that not bending? Do you think the scheme was to allow Moreno to run for 5 YPC in the red zone? The scheme used the length and breadth of the field to the defense's advantage... Isn't that the essence of `bend don't break'? I don't think you can intentionally give up 5 YPC without willfully conceding yardage between the 20 yard lines. What you described is bending...

    I read your post closely and completely.
  7. supafly

    supafly Supporter Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    In my opinion, I think this takes it a bit further than your typical BBDB scenario.

    I suppose technically you'd be correct and it's probably still a fine example of BBDB, but in this case it's actually a bit beyond that.

    BBDB doesn't normally get you questioning and looks from the rest of your team. It's an accepted practice that has been around for awhile.

    You don't gameplan to the defense in a BBDB scenario by purposely telling them to allow rushing yards. You simply play a soft zone to keep completions ahead of you, without gambling to give up the big play. It's certainly not the same thing.
  8. supafly

    supafly Supporter Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    So, do you think they'd have done the same thing with Wilfork and Mayo playing?

    In the example while on the NYG, he had a pretty stout defensive front seven and did the exact same thing by purposely telling them to back off.

    Again, I think that's a lot different from your typical "BBDB" scenario. This seems to be a pre-planned example of actually telling your players to allow them to run on you a bit.

    The purpose of my OP was to see if anyone felt that this occurred? Or did Belichick simply know that Chris Jones and Joe Vellano sucked so badly that he didn't have to tell them anything?

    There is a night and day difference of course. The question is was Sunday night on any level as SB 25 vs the high powered offense of the Buffalo Bills? Is this a viable comparison or not?
  9. andrewgarrr

    andrewgarrr Banned

    I think the defensive scheme was designed in such a fashion so that the most attractive offensive play would be to run in between the tackles. I don't think it was their intention to allow Moreno to gain extra yardage for free. I think if Mayo, Wilfork, and Kelly were active, they would've had the same defensive game plan with better results in rush defense because these players are more experienced and skilled.
  10. supafly

    supafly Supporter Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    So you do not feel as though it was comparable to the SB 25 situation then?

    I think that continuing to stay in a nickle defense in 90/90 plays with no choice to try and combat this made it is a reasonable question, especially with their choice to substitute a poorer run defender in Fletcher vs a much better one in Hightower.

    I think if I had to choose, I'd probably lean towards your theory--although if Wilfork/Mayo were in there, the likelihood of DEN continuing to run would have been much, much lower. In that scenario they'd likely have resorted to the pass a lot more in my opinion.

    Either way you look at it, I don't believe that this gameplan will work for a second matchup--so I hope we didn't win the more meaningless matchup, should we face them again.
  11. Tunescribe

    Tunescribe Supporter Supporter

    #61 Jersey

    Agreed. The point was making the run Denver's most attractive option by targeting personnel packages to limit their passing attack. The Broncos still scored enough points to win while amassing more than 400 yards offense, so I wouldn't give the Pats defense too much credit. Brady and the wind were the difference makers.
  12. supafly

    supafly Supporter Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    Here are the thoughts from Doug Kyed, courtesy of NESN, which also made the question seem reasonable:

    "The Broncos’ running backs kept slicing through the Patriots’ defense and Bill Belichick did nothing to stop it. A little suspect, eh?

    New England never strayed from their nickel defense. For all 90 snaps, Belichick kept two linebackers, four defensive linemen and five defensive backs on the field. Not only did Belichick not stray from the nickel, midway through the second quarter, the Patriots swapped their dime linebacker, Dane Fletcher – a better pass defender — in for Dont’a Hightower. They also stopped using their nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga, instead electing to go with Joe Vellano and Chris Jones, who were getting pushed down, over and back by Denver’s offensive line on almost every play.

    Basically, Belichick was encouraging the Broncos to keep running the ball at a 5.8-yard-per-carry clip. He kept defending the pass even when Peyton Manning wasn’t passing. It happened to work out perfectly for the Patriots. The goal appeared to be to keep Manning from throwing the ball. The Patriots fell behind quickly and Manning never quite got into a rhythm once they caught up.

    Read more at: Patriots Did Not Show Much Interest in Stopping Broncos? Run Game And Other Observations From Film Review | New England Patriots |
  13. andrewgarrr

    andrewgarrr Banned

    I think the 400+ yardage is a function of the scheme, and 17 or the 31 points scored by DEN were directly from offensive turnovers.

    I'm giving the defense a lot of credit for executing the game plan. Manning made an unbelievably accurate throw to Tamme for one touchdown, and D. Thomas made a nice back shoulder catch in their last TD drive in regulation.

    But yeah... if discretizing the win in terms of an arbitrary set of factors made sense, Brady and the win take the cake.
  14. hwc

    hwc In the Starting Line-Up

    Interesting post, Supafly.
  15. supafly

    supafly Supporter Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    Thanks. I think no matter what your definition is, Belichick "allowed" them to run on us one way or another. The question then becomes exactly how much?

    I thought that it was interesting to read the NESN article from Doug Kyed, along with some of the other info such as continuing to stay in a very small front (and then taking Sopoaga and Hightower out on top of that) on 90/90 plays, where normally we'd have seen some/many changes to combat that.

    On top of that, the story from the book "Education of a coach" regarding SB 25 vs Thurman Thomas where Belichick demanded to allow him to run for 100+ yds because he wanted to keep the ball out of Jim Kelly's hands made me wonder even more.

    Some are going to believe that there was definitely a chance that is was on purpose, while most are likely to believe that it was still on purpose--but not as much as may be questioned or suggested.
  16. Gumby

    Gumby In the Starting Line-Up

    #11 Jersey


    I think there is one way to confirm or deny the use of this as a deliberate (suck them in deception / feedback-loop) versus BB just sticking with his strategy to take away their most dangerous weapon (Pay-Me).

    If someone breaks down the run avg from Denver from their own goal-line to midfield or Patriots-40 and then the run avg from midfield/Pats40 to the patriots goalline; that would tell you whether or not the Patriots were LETTING THEMSELVES get gashed deliberately OR whether they were just getting gashed AS PART OF THE OVERARCHING STRATEGY.

    If BB gave the guys those instructions; they obviously wont keep doing it when they start getting close to point scoring range. IMO if the avg on the Donkey's end of the field is +1.5 or > than the avg on the short-end of the field; then your THEORY is VERY LIKELY TRUE.*

    * and if so goes down as one of the best deception plans since 'Operation Overloard-The Man with No Name.'

    NOTE: Of course those with more technical savvy (who like to break down film) could also look at how the Patriots front 7 took on the Donkey's blocking scheme on those same end of the field partitions. But that is much harder to do and subjective..... I'll accept the stat driven analysis as proof enough.
  17. Nordberg

    Nordberg Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    He used the same gameplan against the Colts in the 2004 opener.

    Edge James ran for over 200 yards if memory serves
  18. DarrylS

    DarrylS Supporter Supporter

    This validates a lot of what I believed previously and saw Sunday nite.. the great variable was the totally unpredictable three turnovers in the first quarter that led to 17 points...

    That could have led to a false sense of security for the Bronco's, and instead of adapting they just kept on anticipating the next turnover...

    Have felt all year that this is one of the best years of coaching for BB, he had had to adapt to a lot of different situations, new personnel and different personnel groups...

    This genius culminated in the deferring in overtime...
  19. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #12 Jersey

    The Thurman Thomas game is also the Wide Right game. I.e., it's a game the Giants came very close to losing.

    Similarly, the Pats came very close to losing to the Broncos.

    If in each case this was BB coming up with the best possible game plan, I shudder to consider the outcomes had a more ordinary plan been implemented.
  20. convertedpatsfan

    convertedpatsfan Supporter Supporter

    #12 Jersey

    The games were close, but in both scenarios, one could argue the better team lost, and that comes down to coaching.

    That 1990 Bills team was heavily favoured to win that Super Bowl. They had the #1 offense and #6 defense. They had already beaten the Giants in New York earlier in the season, a game where New York lost their starting QB for the season. The Giants meanwhile were the #1 defense, but #15 offense, and with a back-up QB. They upset the favoured 49ers just to get into the game.

    And obviously the Broncos were favoured to beat us even in New England, had the better record and the record-pacing offense and a big win over undefeated KC. Meanwhile we were just beginning to remember what it was like to score consistently.

    In both scenarios, coaching made the difference, and turned potential blowouts into close victories. That's one hell of a game plan.

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