X's and O's: Danny Woodhead's First TD as a Patriot, Week 3, 2010

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 first touchdown run as a Patriot, which came Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills. Woodhead was signed a few days before the Week 2 game against the New York Jets, but did not suit up for that game. Woodhead shiftiness was on display, and it was a preview of coming attractions for Patriots fans for the remainder of the season.

The image above shows what the Patriots’ and Bills’ formations looked like just as the ball was snapped. You can see LG Dan Connolly (playing for Logan Mankins while Mankins was holding out) already starting to pull, but I’ll get into that later. Tom Brady is lined up in the shotgun with Danny Woodhead in the backfield with him. The Pats have three wide receivers on the field in Randy Moss at the top of the picture, Brandon Tate towards the bottom of the screen on the line of scrimmage, and Wes Welker lined up off the line of scrimmage next to Tate. TE Alge Crumpler is lined up on the line of scrimmage next to RT Sebastian Vollmer. The Bills are lined up in the nickel defense to match the three wide receivers on the field. This play highlights something the Patriots love to do: run out of a passing formation to catch the defense off guard.

The diagram above shows the Patriots’ play, including the blocking schemes as well as how the Bills were lined up, represented by the X’s (minus the ‘X’ indicating the center). The play is designed to be run through the C gap in between the right tackle and the tight end. LG Dan Connolly pulls to the right at the snap and blocks the first Bill to show through the gap. RT Sebastian Vollmer helps RG Stephen Neal and then moves on to the linebacker at the next level (indicated with the dotted lines). TE Alge Crumpler does a good job sealing off the end, and Woodhead takes the delayed hand-off from Tom Brady (red arrow).

The image above shows all of the blocks in place as Woodhead approaches the line of scrimmage. You can see that he has a nice gap to run through. Once he reaches the next level of the defense, a nice block by Wes Welker coming across the field and some shifty moves by Woodhead results in him springing free and out-running the defense to the left corner of the end zone for the score.

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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