I was so blown away by how the Bengals were out schemed by the Patriots on sunday. It gave me the idea to break down a play that shows just how well the Pats scheme works, and just unstoppable they can be on offense. Hey, at the very least it should make us feel better.
WARNING: This post may make you question Bob Bratkowski's I.Q.
First off lets set the stage. Its the 2nd Quarter, Pats have the ball at the Bengals 4 yard line. 3rd Down and Goal to go. The Pats come out with 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB, you could call this their base offense. The Bengals counter with 4 DL (3 DE, 1 DT) 2 LB, 3 CB, 2 S, a traditional nickel package.
Bengals:As hopefully you can tell from my beautiful drawing, the Bengals are playing a variation of a Cover 3 Zone. (Cover 3 is 3 Defenders playing Deep) In this case it was Crocker, Joseph, and Adam Jones playing Deep zones and splitting the end-zone into 3 sections. Roy Williams is down in the Box (line of scrimmage) and appears to either play a shallow zone in the flat or cover Kevin Faulk. While on the other side, Leon Hall is playing either a shallow zone in the flat or man on Brandon Tate. Both Nickel Linebackers are playing zones in the middle of the field.
Patriots:The Pats use Wes Welker out wide to the right. I think this starts the confusion for the Bengals. 90% of the time, Welker is in the slot. The Bengals looked like this is what they were expecting because Leon Hall was in the slot with safety help over top. I don't think they would do that to cover Tate.
Ball is snapped:
* Kevin Faulk goes into the flats to the right, Roy Williams follows him. (this leaves underneath Wes Welker open)
* Rob Gronkowski runs a Corner route. But as he does this he bursts upfield, forcingBrandon Johnson to expand his zone more to the sideline. B.Johnson makes contact (at about 7 yards from scrimmage) and then Gronkowski releases up field and to the corner.
* Wes Welker goes upfield, uncontacted. Cuts at the Goal-line towards the inside. His timing is perfect. As he cuts towards the inside, he does it as Gronkowskiis getting contacted by Brandon Johnson, who is now out of his Zone. By the time B.Johnson turns around to get back into his zone, Welker is already cutting across the goalline in front of Johnson. Brady sees this, and hits Welker just before Dhani and Brandon can get to him. Touchdown!
Go to 1:18 to see the exact play I'm talking about.
You can see this all game. The Patriots just find ways to get players open. They used Kevin Faulk and Rob Gronkowski as decoys to get Wes Welker open. The worst part is that the Bengals didn't recognize it or do anything to make changes to stop it.. The bottom line is... Why cant we do that?