X’s and O’s: Rob Gronkowski’s TD Catch vs. the Dolphins, Week 17, 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. Today, I’ll look at the final play in the list*.

Today, we’ll take a look at TE Rob Gronkowski’s touchdown reception against the Miami Dolphins from Week 17, and why not Rob Gronkowski? He has been the subject of four other “Most Memorable Touchdown” X’s and O’s pieces, more than any other player. That fact does hint at the impact Gronkosaurus had on the Patriot offense his first year in the league.

*The final play in the list at patriots.com is Julian Edelman’s punt return for a touchdown against the Dolphins from Week 17. The footage available does not provide any angles that allow me to diagram the play, but you can watch the replay by clicking HERE.

The image above shows the Patriots’ and Dolphins’ formations before the snap. The Pats are lined up in the shotgun with trips to the left. The personnel includes two wide receivers in Brandon Tate and Julian Edelman, two tight ends in Alge Crumpler and Rob Gronkowski, and one running back in Danny Woodhead. Crumpler is on the right side of the line in the three-point stance, and he stays in to pass block. Gronkowski is lined up in the trips part of the formation closest to left tackle Matt Light. Edelman is closest to Gronk, and Tate is lined up wide left.

The diagram above shows you the play run by the Patriots. Both Brandon Tate (#19) and Julian Edelman (#11) run in-routes, while Gronkowski runs a corner route. Crumpler (#82) pass blocks, as I noted earlier. Danny Woodhead (#39) moves up through the middle of the line and then goes into a passing pattern. However, Brady has the ball out of his hand before Woodhead really gets into his route, so you can’t really tell what pattern he will run. Gronk ends up in single coverage against safety Chris Clemons, and Gronkosaurus is able to create separation and make the catch in the end zone for the score.

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: