X's and O's: Gronkowski's TD vs. San Diego, Week 7, 2010

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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 TE Rob Gronkowski’s touchdown against the San Diego Chargers from Week 7. Just for the record, I’m not singling Gronk out. However, he is heavily featured in the picture slideshow I am drawing these plays from (click the above link). Brandon Tate’s kick-off return and Patrick Chung’s pick-6 against the Dolphins will not be broken down due to the film not providing good enough angles to see everything going on. So, here’s another Gronk goal line play.

The image above depicts the Patriots’ and the Chargers’ formations before the ball is snapped. The Pats are lined up in a heavy run formation with three tight ends and G Dan Connolly lined up as a fullback. The Chargers are lined up in a goal line defense to stop the run, with extra defensive linemen on the line of scrimmage. The key to this play is fooling the Charger defense into thinking it’s a run, even after the snap.

The image above shows the route(s) that is run. Gronkowski runs a drag across the formation, and he is the only player going out for a pass. Brady runs the play action to his right, and Connolly and BenJarvus Green-Ellis sell the play. This is a pretty fast-happening play, and you can’t see for sure, but I’d venture to guess that Connolly and Green-Ellis are check downs in this play if Gronk can’t get open. Fortunately for Brady and the Patriots, Gronk does get open and is able to make the catch and score.

As I said earlier, the key to this play is selling that it is a run. If you look into the offensive backfield, you can see Brady faking the hand-off. The entire line is selling the run, and you can see the Charger defense are all looking into the backfield at Green-Ellis. This allows Gronkowski to sneak by and get open in the end zone.

To view 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:



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