It must be your lucky day. Along with me answering for my predictions from the previous week you're also going to get some film break down from the game. Just because I threw away all my potential and didn't go to film school when I had the chance doesn't mean the same fate awaits you. Class is officially in session.
I want to illustrate two plays I thought were great foundation layers for the Pats moving forward. We all know that the playbooks on both sides of the ball get more complicated as the season progresses, but to see the Pats utilizing a few concepts this early has me feeling 'some type of way' as I think the kids are saying.
Lets take a look at this Deatrich Wise sack. It's the first quarter, the Pats are up 7-0, but we just got picked off (kill me) and the Texans are looking to tie the game. A hold here in the red area after a turnover is a huge momentum swing. It's 3rd and 10, and obvious passing situation. Here's how we line up.
Hopkins is alone up top with Gilmore. Rowe, Chung, and Jones appear to have man coverage on the trips to the bottom of the screen. And further evidence of the man scheme is the fact that Bentley has split out wide with the back. Dev looks like he's playing center field, and Harmon could be dropping down or doubling Nuke. Hard to tell pre-snap.
But what I really love about this is on the LOS. That's Clayborn, Butler, Wise, and MY BOY Trey Flowers across the front. Four man rush, no extra blizters, just get home. Last year when you lose NINK to retirement, Long to the Eggs, and Rivers to the ACL gods, you didn't have this flexibility. Trey and Wise were gonna be the edge rushers, and you just hoped Brown, Guy, or Branch (lol) could push the middle of the pocket. This year you get more of that NASCAR front teams used to use against us, putting edge rushers over guards. Most notably in the strip sack that shall not be named.
Butler is easily your most agile big body, and the other three guys are pure speed. Lets watch how it plays out.
Harmon does double Nuke, which is Watson's first look. The three db's at the bottom are competitive in man coverage, as is Bentley, and Dev is floating. But you can see our edge guys, Trey and Clayborn start to get home quickly.
Watson is trying to step up here, though he's pretty much cooked, but Butler has rammed the middle of the pocket into his face. Wise hasn't even penetrated yet really, but no guard is going to block him for that long.
So finally here he is diving on top of Watson to finish the job. All four guys blasting through the five man line creating a huge sack and a forced fg. PRAE our DLine stays healthy this year because it will allow us to be way more creative with only four rushers on obvious passing situations. The rotation will be key and I'm loving it so far.
My favorite play on offense was the Flip Dorsett tuddy. I loooooooove this play.
First of all, Tom motions Flip into trips at the top of the screen. Tom can see the man/zone read here and he wants to get Gronk alone at the bottom of the screen. How often have we seen that?? If Gronk is singled covered that ball goes there every single time. As soon as Flip motions you see the safety cheat towards Gronk. Ok he's doubled so its not going there.
Then you have James Wiggle White coming out of the backfield but he is instantly doubled by two linebackers because the Texans know he's such a threat near the goal line.
So that means Tom is looking to his trips. This is the general concept they are going for here which is based completely on leverage and attacking different levels.
That closest DB on the Texans is going to play man on Riley, no matter where he goes. The other two DBs are splitting the field. One takes outside one takes inside. So the Pats (Josh) fires Riley hard inside across the goal line to clear out that cornerback. Then from the inside position, Hogan runs at out route. Right at the pylon. That is key. Now you let Flip, from the outside, run a toggle route directly at the inside corner. He has perfect leverage to break an out route of his own deeper than Hogan. The corner is playing inside leverage, which means he's a dead duck if Flip breaks outside, which he does for an easy score. But the best part is if the corner seems this coming and over compensates, Flip has the option to break that inside for another pitch and catch. I love this play so much because a) it was 6 points and b) it was FLIP DOING THIS. I expect smart route running from Hogan, Gronk, Jules, etc but seeing this connection between Tom and Flip is intriguing to say the least.
Now its time to pay the piper on my predictions.
Prediction: Two picks from Watson. Result: He threw one, but is it just me or did it feel like it should have been two?? There were no egregious drops or anything, but with the way we were getting after him it I thought he might puke one more up. I'll take the two turnovers though, if you count the fumble.
Prediction: Rex will lead Pats receivers with 7+ grabs. Result: WAY OFF! I was disappointed with Rex in the passing game. Tom did miss him for a tuddy on a wheel route, but his final stat line of 1 catch for 5 yards was not ideal. Seven catches did lead the way but that was courtesy of Gronk and Sunday Surprise Flip Dorsett.
Prediction: Gilmore will eat Nuke. Less than 5 grabs and under 50 yards. Result: Nuke was the top receiver on the Texans with 8 grabs for 78 yards. But again I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. It seems like I didn't see him do anything out there. I'm pretty sure he only had 2 catches at halftime so a lot of this might have come as we were pulling away. Regardless of the stat line, I'm very pleased with the way Gilmore played on Sunday. Nuke is LEGIT and numbers aside he sure looked like he had a quiet night.