Inside the Film Room: the New England Patriots


Oct 13, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) runs off the field after defeating the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Saints 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

With the game approximately 24 hours away, time to go inside the film room. As we did last week for the game against the Steelers, we are going to break down a drive from our opponent’s game from last week, and look to see if there are any tendencies to note for this week.

Note: The drive that has been chosen is not the drive that Tom Brady led to win the game in the waning moments. Frankly, it is too depressing to watch him do that again.

No, the drive we are going to take a look at is from the second quarter of last week’s game against the New Orleans Saints. The Patriots took over with 12:28 remaining in the quarter from their own 34 yard line:

First and ten from the Patriots’ 34 yard line: Brady lines up under center with two backs straight behind him and one receiver on either side of the line. Curtis Lofton comes off on a delayed blitz through the A-gap (between guard and center) to bring down Brady for an eight yard loss.

Second and eight from the Patriots’ 26: Brady lines up in the shotgun with one back next to him, and two receivers to either side. Danny Amendola comes off of the slot on the left side, runs an inside route, but Brady misses him to set up third down.

Third and eight from the Patriots’ 26: Brady lines up again from the shotgun, with one back next to him. This time, three receivers are lined up to Brady’s right. On the snap, he fakes a wide receiver screen to Amendola. Tom runs into a bit of trouble, but buys himself some time. Hoomanawanui alertly scrambles across the field with Brady and finds himself on the other end of his pass, and deftly picking up 19 yards to move the chains for New England.

First and ten from the Patriots’ 45: Brady brings his team to the line in a running formation, two receivers to the right and LeGarrette Blount directly behind him. Blount takes the handoff and tries the right side of the line, but he is stopped for a four yard loss:

Second and fourteen from the Patriots’ 41: Tom is under center, two receivers left, one right, one back behind him, Stevan Ridley. Brady fakes it to Ridley on the handoff, get him out in space to flip him the screen pass, and Ridley takes it, with three blockers in front, right to the first down marker.

First and ten from the Saints’ 45: Tom decides to take it a little up-tempo, bringing his team to the line without a huddle. Ridley is lined up behind him, once receiver is to the right. Ridley takes the handoff from Tom, bounces off the left side, bouncing off one tackle before being brought down after a six yard gain.

Second and four from the Saints’ 39: Brady continues to push the tempo by rolling along with his no-huddle. This time, he clears the backfield, two receivers to the left and three to the right. Brady hits Kenbrell Thompkins in the slot on the left side, who makes a guy miss and takes it seven yards for another first down.

First and ten from the Saints’ 32: The Patriots huddle up this time. Brady, from the shotgun, takes the snap and hits Danny Amendola in the slot to the right for a wide receiver “bubble” screen. Normally a big gainer for the Patriots, but not this time. The Saints snuff this one out for a loss of one on the play.

Second and eleven from the Saints’ 33: Brady sets up with two receivers to either side of him. Hoomanawanui is in the slot to the right. He basically finds a soft spot in the flat, and Brady hits him, and he takes it ahead for an 18 yard pickup and a first down.

First and ten from the Saints’ 15: Brady takes the quick snap from under center, and gives it to Stevan Ridley, who takes it up the middle for a five yard gain.

Second and five from the Saints’ 10: Brady sets up under center with two backs behind him in the off-set I formation, one receiver on either side. Brady takes the snap from center, and Julian Edelman runs a quick out pattern from his spot on the outside to the left. Brady hits him for a seven yard pickup to set up first and goal.

First and goal from the Saints’ 3: Brady, running the no-huddle for the last couple of plays, sets up first and goal, with Ridley behind him, and two receivers to the right. Ridley takes the handoff and goes off the left side for the touchdown.

So, what do the Jets do?

As we said earlier this morning in the preview, the obvious thing is to get pressure up the middle. The vaunted front four is going to have the onus on them to get in Tom’s face early and often. He steps up to make his throws when the pressure comes from the outside, but when the pressure is in his face, that can’t happen. Get in his face, and take him down when you get there. He isn’t fast, but Tom can buy enough time to make his throws if you don’t bring him down.

The Patriots love those screen passes, don’t they? They love them, and they EXECUTE them, which stinks. The Jets must be prepared not to over-pursue. That is when you run into trouble against the screen pass, is when you over-pursue, leaving far more blockers down the field than defenders. Keep your assignments, and don’t over-pursue.

How else should the Jets defend against this team?