X’s and O’s: Wes Welker’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 WR Wes Welker’s 22-yard touchdown reception against the Indianapolis Colts from Week 11. The Patriots spread the Colts defense out with five wide receivers and created a huge mismatch that allowed Welker to get open down the field and get into the end zone.

The image above shows the formations of the Patriots and the Colts before the snap.The personnel package that the Patriots sent onto the field was key to making this play work. The Patriots’ personnel in this play includes two wide receivers, two tight ends, and a running back. Seeing this personnel in the huddle, the Colts come out with a nickel defense consisting of four defensive linemen, two linebackers, three corners, and two safeties. The two tight end personnel, and the athletes that occupy the tight end position in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, allow the Patriots to run almost any type of formation from that personnel package. This leaves the defense guessing as to how the Pats will line up once they break the huddle and get to the line of scrimmage. The Pats spread everyone out, with RB Danny Woodhead and TE Aaron Hernandez as the outside receivers and wide receivers Deion Branch and Wes Welker as the two inside receivers. Gronkowski is lined up in a more traditional slot receiver position. This alignment forces the Colts to assign a linebacker, Pat Angerer, to line up and cover Welker, creating a HUGE mismatch. The other linebacker covers Gronk and the nickel corner lines up against Branch.

The image above depicts the play run by the Patriots. Woodhead (39) and Hernandez (85) run 5-yard hitches, Branch (84) runs a 10-yard hitch, Gronkowski (87) runs a post, and Welker (83) runs a seam pattern. Welker fakes a slant inside after about 5 yards and then continues his seam route up the field. Welker is able to beat Colts LB Pat Angerer in coverage and Tom Brady floats the ball over Angerer and into Welker’s hands as he enters the end zone.

To view footage of this play and other highlight from this game, click HERE.

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