X & Os: Brady controlling the D

December, 8, 2011
12/08/11
9:00
AM ET
For those with an interest in Xs and Os, Bill Belichick's weekly breakdown on key plays from victories is a good time investment. Each week after a win, "Belichick's Breakdown" can be seen on Patriots.com and this week's segment (link here) focuses on a defensive stand and how Tom Brady an control a defense.

1. Line shift leads to false start. Belichick starts with the big defensive stand at the start of the second quarter, pointing out how shifting the defensive linemen to a tighter formation on third-and-goal from the 1 helped lead to a false start. "That takes it out of a goal-line play and it's really more of a third-down play now," Belichick says.

2. Great edge rush by Ninkovich. On the third-and-6 play that capped off the defensive stand, Belichick highlights a terrific rush by end Rob Ninkovich off the defensive left side, as he picks up the sack. "The outside rush, he does a nice job of knocking the tackle's hands down and getting the edge," Belichick says, before pointing out a game inside with Kyle Love and Vince Wilfork.

3. Brady's eye control helping control a defense. Belichick shows one of the few plays in which the Patriots lined up two running backs in the offensive backfield, and on this one, the team motions BenJarvus Green-Ellis to the wide left. This creates a "2 by 2 look" and Belichick details how it's up to quarterback Tom Brady to control the safety in the middle of the field, which he does masterfully with his "eye control." That's one reason why Rob Gronkowski had a big day. He was wide open. Belichick also smiles wide when noting Gronkowski's post-TD spike. Later, Belichick shows a few other plays like this. "It's all a question of the quarterback knowing the pattern, controlling the defense when he can, and getting the ball to the open player," he says.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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