Positional groupings: 3 WR spikes

February, 6, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS -- A look at the positional groupings in the Patriots' 21-17 loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI:

2 WR/2 TE/1 RB -- 34 of 65
3 WR/1 TE/1 RB -- 28 of 65
1 WR/2 TE/1 FB/1 RB -- 3 of 65

(Includes false start penalty, holding penalty and 12-men-on-the-field penalty.)

ANALYSIS: With tight end Rob Gronkowski not playing his normal high total of snaps (44 of 65), the Patriots went to their 3 WR/1 TE package more than the norm (with Aaron Hernandez the TE). The last time they ran that many snaps out of that grouping was Oct. 2 in Oakland. With Chad Ochocinco the third receiver, it limited the Patriots' ability to play up-tempo because that is an area he's struggled. So if there is one second guess -- and this could be viewed as a nitpick -- perhaps the Patriots would have been better with Julian Edelman in that No. 3 role a bit more while attempting to quicken the pace. In retrospect, that might have been a weapon the Patriots left on the table.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter



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