<
>

Xs & Os: Screen game rises

11/25/2011

For those with an interest in Xs and Os, Bill Belichick's weekly breakdown of key plays after victories is often informative. On the Patriots.com feature, Belichick sheds light on some of the harder-to-see areas of the game.

This week's "Belichick Breakdown" is posted and includes the following plays from Monday's win over the Chiefs:

1. Edelman's punt return. Belichick starts with Julian Edelman's 72-yard punt return in the third quarter. Belichick explains how Ross Ventrone, Phillip Adams and Antwaun Molden aid the return by holding up the gunner on the outside, and Wes Welker -- who was back deep with Edelman -- delivers another important block. "Edelman does what every good punt returner needs to do -- make the first guy miss, then pick up the blocking pattern," Belichick says.

2. Screen game sparks offense. Belichick highlights two screen passes -- a 16-yarder to Danny Woodhead at the end of the second quarter, and a 25-yarder to BenJarvus Green-Ellis at the start of the third quarter. Center Ryan Wendell makes a key block on linebacker Derrick Johnson on Woodhead's screen, while Logan Mankins makes a big block downfield on the Green-Ellis screen.

3. Arrington's first INT and Sterling Moore's hit. Belichick dissects cornerback Kyle Arrington's first interception, and makes a point to note a clean hit by safety Sterling Moore on the play. That is notable because Moore was penalized the week before against the Jets (the call was debatable) for a similar hit on Plaxico Burress. "This is Sterling Moore, coming in and doing just what the rules want us to do, which is hit the receiver below the shoulder, with his shoulder, not his head," Belichick says, who previously points out a blindside blitz by Rob Ninkovich. Belichick also highlights the peelback block of defensive lineman Kyle Love on the runback.

4. When coverage and pass rush are in synch. Belichick picks out Mark Anderson's sack early in the fourth quarter, showing how it's a result of strong coverage and a pass rush working in concert. The Patriots are in Cover-2, with two deep safeties, and they cover up nicely underneath, with Rob Ninkovich a big part of it. Up front, Anderson delivers a strong rush to get to quarterback Tyler Palko, who had to hold on to the ball because of the strong coverage.