X’s and O’s: Aaron Hernandez’s TD vs the Indianapolis Colts, Week 11, 2010


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 Aaron Hernandez’s touchdown reception against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11. There wasn’t any trickery of confusion with this play, just a straight-forward line-up-and-beat-your-man-type play.

The image above shows the Patriots’ and Colts’ formations before the snap of the ball. The Patriots are lined up in the shotgun with three wide receivers, one tight end, and one running back in the backfield. TE Aaron Hernandez, Brady’s eventual target, is lined up next to right tackle Sebastian Vollmer off the line of scrimmage. The three wide receivers are Deion Branch, Wes Welker, and Brandon Tate, while Danny Woodhead is the running back on the field. The Colts are lined up in the nickel defense, with the extra defensive back lined up on Welker in the slot, while a linebacker lines up on Hernandez.

The diagram above shows the routes run by the receivers and Hernandez. Danny Woodhead blocks for Brady in the backfield, and he may go out on a route after he goes low on a rushing linebacker, but that’s not clear in the video. Branch and Tate run posts while Welker runs a curl near the goal line. Hernandez runs a slant towards the goal line and is matched up against a linebacker, which is a mismatch due to Hernandez’s speed and athleticism. Hernandez is able to beat his man, and while the Colts have a safety over the top, Brady puts the ball in front of Hernandez but underneath the safety coverage. The safety comes up to make the hit but Hernandez’s size and momentum pushes hi through the tackle for the score.

To view footage of this play and other highlights from the game (and who doesn’t like to watch the Pats beat the Colts?), click HERE.

Previous X’s and O’s of the Patriots’ Most Memorable Touchdowns of 2010: