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 first touchdown reception against the Buffalo Bills from Week 16. The Patriots used some motion and play action to divert the Buffalo defense’s attention and sneak Gronk out into the flat, where he was wide open.
The image above shows the Patriots’ and Bills’ formations before the snap. The Patriots are lined up in an I-formation with two wide receivers, two tight ends, and a running back. At the beginning of the play, wide receivers Deion Branch and Wes Welker are lined up on the left side of the formation. Wes Welker then goes in motion, as you can see in the image, aligning near Gronkowski at the end of the line when the ball is snapped. Gronkowski is lined up next to right tackle Sebastian Vollmer with his hand on the ground while TE Alge Crumpler is lined up in the backfield as a fullback.
At the snap, Brady runs play action, faking the hand off to BenJarvus Green-Ellis (#42) in the backfield. Crumpler (#82) may run a pass pattern after he lead blocks in the play action, but the ball is out of Brady’s hands before he can get into a pattern. Everyone with the exception of Welker (#83) initially run-blocks, selling the fake. Branch (#84) runs a slant after his initial block, while Welker runs a corner route. After Gronkowski (#87) blocks, he runs a short pattern in the flat, where he is wide open. Brady delivers an easy pass, and Gronk beats the closest Bill to the end zone.
To view footage of this play and other highlights from the 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
- RB Danny Woodhead’s TD run vs. the Chicago Bears, Week 14
- RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis’s cartwheel touchdown vs the Minnesota Vikings, Week 8
- TE Rob Gronkowski’s first TD vs the Steelers, Week 10
- TE Rob Gronkowski’s TD catch vs. the San Diego Chargers, Week 7
- WR Randy Moss’s one-handed TD grab over Darrelle Revis, Week 2
- RB Danny Woodhead’s first TD as a Patriot, Week 3
- WR Deion Branch’s first TD since returning to New England against the Ravens, Week 6
- TE Aaron Hernandez’s TD against the Colts, Week 11
- WR Wes Welker’s TD against the Colts, Week 11