X's and O's: Wes Welker's 5-YD TD Catch 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 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:



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