Over the next several days, I’ll be taking a look back into the 2010 regular season at the X’s and O’s of the New England Patriots’ most memorable touchdowns. The Patriots’ Official Website put together a list of 2010′s most memorable touchdowns, and these will be the basis for the plays that will be analyzed. These X’s and O’s pieces, like the ones I did during the season, diagram the play and explain how it worked.
Today, we’ll take a look at RB Danny Woodhead’s touchdown run against the Chicago Bears in the snowstorm during Week 14. This play is a good example of why the Patriots look for athletic offensive linemen instead of just big bodies, as a moving Logan Mankins is key to the success of this play.
The image above is what the Woodhead play looked like before the snap. The Patriots are in a shotgun formation, so a pass is just as likely as a run in this instance, which keeps the defense on their heels. The personnel for the Pats include three wide receivers, one tight end (Gronkowski at the end of the line to the right of Tom Brady), and RB Danny Woodhead in the backfield to Brady’s left. The Bears are in a nickel defense, with a four-man front and the extra defensive back lined up on WR Wes Welker.
In the diagram above, the two main cogs to this play are highlighted. LG Logan Mankins (circled on the line) will pull to the right and lead RB Danny Woodhead through the hole created by the rest of the offensive line and Gronkowski. Woodhead moves from left to right and carries the ball behind Mankins.
The clip above is the key moment in the play. Mankins is highlighted with the yellow arrow, and his block at that particular moment is what springs Woodhead for the touchdown. Had he missed that block, as you can see, Woodhead (highlighted with the red arrow) would likely have been brought down short of the end zone. Danny Woodhead actually bounces off of Mankins as Logan is making his block and then cuts back into the gap you see with the long red arrow for the score. The Patriots love to pull offensive linemen like they did in this play, and this is a fantastic example of how effective that is.
To see footage of this play and other highlights from this game, click HERE.
Previous X’s and O’s of the Patriots’ Most Memorable Touchdowns of 2010:
- TE Aaron Hernandez’s second touchdown against the Green Bay Packers, Week 15
- ILB Gary Guyton’s INT returned for a TD against the Cincinnati Bengals, Week 1
- TE Rob Gronkowski’s first career catch/touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals, Week 1
- The Law Firm’s first TD vs. the New York Jets, Week 13