Positional groupings: Fells a key

October, 1, 2012
10/01/12
10:00
AM ET
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- A look at the positional groupings utilized by the Patriots in their 52-28 win over the Bills, while analyzing what it means:

2 WR/2 TE/1 RB -- 37 of 77
3 WR/1 TE/1 RB -- 36 of 77
1 WR/3 TE/1 RB -- 2 of 77
3 WR/1 TE/2 RB -- 1 of 77
3 TE/1 FB/1 RB -- 1 of 77

ANALYSIS: The presence of tight end Daniel Fells, who played 45 snaps after missing the first two games with a shin injury, helped the Patriots keep their two-TE package intact. Fells had played just five snaps last week in Baltimore, but he matched that total on the first drive Sunday. Fells was one of the Patriots' initial targets in free agency and it looks to be a good fit. Last week, the Patriots ran 60 of their 82 snaps in the 3-WR grouping, but the 2-TE package was crucial in this game. The key, as quarterback Tom Brady noted, was how the Bills dared the Patriots to run by playing a smaller defense against the 2-TE grouping. ... In the 3 TE/1 FB/1 RB package at the goal-line, OL Dan Connolly moved to fullback with Nick McDonald coming on as a guard.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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