Earlier today, Ryan Hannable echoed the sentiment of many Patriots fans when he discussed the Patriots giving up on the run too early in yesterday’s game against the Giants. A Pats fan wrote in to Tedy Bruschi today saying essentially the same thing. I took a look at the running plays from each quarter to see how many were called and what the production was.
First Quarter: 8 running plays (including Tom Brady’s 5-yard scramble), totaling 37 yards, averaging 4.6 yards per carry (ypc).
Second Quarter: 6 running plays, totaling 21 yards, averaging 3.5 ypc.
Third Quarter: 6 running plays*, totaling 18 yards, averaging 3 ypc. *I counted the direct snap to Danny Woodhead here as a running play. The official score sheet does not record a direct snap as a running play.
Fourth Quarter: 5 running plays, totaling 32 yards, averaging 6.4 ypc.
Analysis: One could make the charge that the Patriots abandon the run too early. The Pats had fair success in the first quarter running BenJarvus Green-Ellis, though his lack of field time may have been due to a toe injury he has been nursing. The Giants were not very strong on defense against the run, so one would think they would try and stick with it a little longer, also helping keep the defense off the field. The ypc in the fourth quarter jumped up due to the Giants playing the pass. Also, the Patriots had a tricky run play where they direct-snapped to Danny Woodhead who then handed the ball off on an end-around to Wes Welker. In terms of a run:pass ratio for the entire game, the Pats had 24 run plays (25 if you count the Woodhead direct snap in the third quarter as I did) and 49 pass plays. The offense certainly was not balanced, which may have helped the Giants in keeping consistent pressure on Tom Brady.