Positional groupings: 3rd WR over 2nd TE

October, 29, 2012
LONDON -- A look at the positional groupings utilized by the Patriots in their 45-7 win over the Rams at Wembley Stadium, while analyzing what they mean (small margin for error):

3 WR/1 TE/1 RB -- 53 of 69
1 WR/3 TE/1 RB -- 5 of 69
1 WR/2 TE/1 FB/1 RB -- 4 of 69
3 TE/1 FB/1 RB -- 4 of 69
2 WR/2 TE/1 RB -- 3 of 69

(Penalties included; kneel-downs not included.)

ANALYSIS: Playing without tight end Aaron Hernandez, the Patriots strayed far away from their base 2-TE packages in favor of a 3-WR approach (Deion Branch the No. 3 option). The Rams countered with a nickel defense and that's the matchup the Patriots liked best. ... One wrinkle that highlighted how the Patriots' coaching staff was a step ahead for most of the action: After running 33 of 38 first-half snaps out of the 3-WR package, they opened the second half with the heavy 1 WR/3 TE/1 RB package to keep the Rams off balance -- 18-yard catch by TE/FB Michael Hoomanawanui, 30-yard run by Stevan Ridley and 2-yard run by Ridley. It was a subtle thing in the course of the game, but seemed to highlight good coaching coupled with execution by players.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter



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