With all of the hooplah surrounding the Randy Moss trade and all of the rumors and stories that were born from that transaction, much of the Dolphins game recap was placed on the back burner. Before moving on to the Ravens, let’s take one last look back at the Patriots’ big road win in Miami by looking at one of the biggest plays of the game. This week’s X’s and O’s looks at Pat Chung’s punt block, which really put the Pats into the driver’s seat for the rest of the game. Usually X’s and O’s looks at offensive plays, but the win in Miami was really due to extraordinary special teams play, so it’s only right that it gets its just due. Without further ado, let’s break down the play.
The Dolphins were lined up in a standard punt formation, with two gunners on the outside and a personal protector in the backfield in front of the punter. The Pats came out with an overload on the right-hand side of the formation and had three players lined up on the left side of the line. Interestingly enough, Chung came from that left side of the line to block the punt whereas the overload did not provide much pressure. The break down was really a fundamental mistake by the Dolphins. Basic special teams play says that you block from the inside-out because the rushers coming on the inside pose a larger threat to block the punt than the guys coming from the outside. The guys rushing inside have a shorter line to the punter, hence they need to be blocked first. Let’s take a look at the movement with the play diagram.
For simplicity’s sake, let’s refer to positions on the line for the punting team by regular offensive line positions. As you can see the overload on the right side of the line had a fairly direct route of pressure to try and block the punt. The player lined up over the “right guard” rushed in a few steps before bailing out to block for the return. Chung is represented in the diagram with the letter ‘V’ and his route to the punter is in red. The player lined up over the “left guard” rushed to the left while Chung and another player sort of stunted back into the formation. Chung came in untouched between the “left guard” and “tackle” to block the punt. Instead of blocking inside-out, the “left tackle” moved to his left to block the player rushing to the left. Fundamentals dictated that he take care of Chung first, the most inside man near him, before moving to help on the outside. That fundamental break down lead to the blocked punt and a big play for the Patriots.
Just in case you missed previous installments of “X’s and O’s”: