Heavier packages couldn't pick up yard

December, 7, 2009
12/07/09
11:00
AM ET
A look at the positional groupings utilized by the Patriots in their 22-21 loss to the Dolphins:

2 WR/2 TE/1 RB – 29 of 58 snaps
3 WR/1 TE/1 RB – 15 of 58
1 WR/3 TE/1 RB – 5 of 58
3 WR/2 RB – 4 of 58
1 WR/2 TE/1 FB/1 RB – 3 of 58
3 TE/1 FB/1 RB – 1 of 58
2 WR/1 TE/1 RB – 1 of 58

(Snaps include false-start penalty, offensive holding penalty, offensive pass interference and a defensive 12-men-on-the field penalty which weren’t official plays)

ANALYSIS: One area that stands out is the inability to pick up a yard in critical situations out of the heavier sets. On third-and-1 from the Dolphins’ 6 late in the second quarter, the Patriots moved right guard Dan Connolly to fullback (inserting Rich Ohrnberger at right guard) and went with the 1 WR/2 TE/1 FB/1 RB package. Laurence Maroney was stopped for no gain. On fourth-and-1, they went with the 3 TE/1 FB/1 RB package and fullback Sammy Morris was stopped for no gain. That’s just power on power – the tougher team wins. … This was a game in which the Patriots mostly played straight up, sticking with two tight ends, and it looked like the Dolphins mostly countered with their base defense. … Randy Moss’s 58-yard touchdown catch came out of the 2 WR/2 TE package, while Sam Aiken’s 81-yard catch-and-run was out of the 3 WR/1 TE grouping.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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