Patriots play action in focus
November, 22, 2011
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
Debby Wong/US PresswireTom Brady and the Patriots thrived off play action vs. the Chiefs.
The Patriots' ground game put up its second highest total of the season Monday night against the Chiefs (157 yards on 35 carries) and one of the benefits was Tom Brady and the offense thrived out of play action.
Brady threw for 135 of his 234 total yards and both of his touchdown passes off play action, according to ESPN Stats and Info. That's remarkable considering only four of his 23 touchdowns had been off play-action passes.
A closer look at Brady's success after faking the run:
During a conference call with the New England media on Tuesday, Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien talked about the importance of establishing a consistent running game in order to allow play-action to thrive.
"It definitely goes in hand in hand, in our opinion," said O'Brien. "To have a decent play action, you have to be able to run the ball... We work on it a lot and our guys really believe in it. Everybody works together... And that's something we did a pretty decent job of last night."
The most noteworthy play-action success came on Rob Gronkowski's 52-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter. The outside linebacker locked in on the run and by the time he started back-pedaling (in the wrong direction), Gronkowski had already turned on the jets and was streaking across the middle of the field all alone. Brady hit him in stride and Gronkowski evaded a sideline tackle for the long score that ignited a stretch in which the Patriots scored the game's final 34 points.
O'Brien also praised Brady's ability to sell the run by hiding the ball.
"He's a very good mechanical quarterback and part of that is obviously the play action," said O'Brien. "He takes pride in all that. But, again, they all work together. The backs did a good job of that, the line -- it all works in conjuction with each other."