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 two plays left to dissect.
Today, we’ll take a look at WR Wes Welker’s 5-yd touchdown reception against the Detroit Lions in Week 12 on Thanksgiving. The Patriots were able to take advantage of the Lions’ zone coverage, and then Wes Welker was able to use his low center of gravity and strength to power the final few yards into the end zone.
The image above shows the Patriots’ and Lions’ formations before the snap. The Patriots are lined up with three wide receivers, one tight end, and one running back. WR Brandon Tate is lined up wide left, Wes Welker is in the slot, and Deion Branch is lined up wide right at the bottom of the screen. TE Rob Gronkowski is lined up on the left side of the offensive line with his hand on the ground to help pass block while RB Danny Woodhead is in the backfield. The Lions are lined up in their base 4-3 with the safeties up a couple of yards behind the linebackers.
The diagram above illustrates the Patriots’ play. Tom Brady runs the play action to Woodhead (#39), who then runs a pass pattern into the flat. Branch (#84) begins to drag in before cutting up the field in the end zone. On the other side of the field, Tate (#19) runs a hitch while Welker (#83) runs an out pattern.
The Lions play a soft zone coverage, and the safety and corner on Welker’s side of the field initially drop back to cover Tate in the end zone. This leaves Welker wide open underneath the zone coverage. After he makes the catch, the defensive backs close in. Welker is able to get low and power his way into the end zone, as you can see in the image above.
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:
- 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
- TE Rob Gronkowski’s first TD against the Bills, Week 16
- WR Deion Branch’s first TD against the Lions, Week 12
- RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis’s first TD run against the Lions, Week 12