X's and O's: Green-Ellis's First TD vs. the Lions, Week 12, 2010

Over the past several days, I’ve been 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 were the basis for the plays that I have been analyzing. These X’s and O’s pieces, like the ones I did during the season, diagram the play and explain how it worked. We’re just about winding down, with only a few plays left to dissect.

Today, we’ll take a look at RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis’s punishing touchdown run against the Detroit Lions in Week 12 on Thanksgiving. You saw everything a quality running back needs from Green-Ellis on this play: shiftiness and power. At the end of the run, the Law Firm runs over a would-be tackler, knocking him about three yards into the end zone.

The image above shows the Patriots’ and Lions’ formations before the snap. The Patriots are lined in a single back set with two tight ends (Rob Gronkowski and Alge Crumpler) lining up in the slot and two wide receivers (Wes Welker and Deion Branch) lined up wide. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is the single back in the backfield. The Lions are in their base 4-3 defense, and they blitz LB Landon Johnson, lined up opposite Alge Crumpler in the slot towards the bottom of the image. His blitz path is highlighted in the play diagram below.

You can see the blocking assignments and Green-Ellis’s run in the play diagram above. I have also included the defensive formation so you can see how they were blocked. As I mentioned above, Landon Johnson’s blitz is mapped out, as he is lined up against Crumpler (#82). The offensive line blocks to create a hole for Green-Ellis in the ‘B’ gap (in between the right guard and the right tackle). Tom Brady moves back and uses a delayed hand-off to try and make the defense think pass. Green-Ellis begins left then cuts back through the hole. Johnson beats Crumpler, who has to recover to try and make a block, but then he over-pursues and is caught out of position, missing Green-Ellis.

Green-Ellis is able to make it through the hole virtually untouched, and then uses his quickness and shiftiness to avoid some would-be tacklers. DB Alphonso Smith, originally lined up against Welker in the play (he’s #27 in the diagram above), makes a good effort to get around the top and try to cut Green-Ellis off. However, the Law Firm uses his power and knocks Smith about 3 yards into the end zone. The image above shows the original point of contact. Green-Ellis, and Smith, finish the play 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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