- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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For those with an interest in X's and O's, Bill Belichick's weekly breakdown of key plays following a victory is a worthy time investment. The video is shown on Patriots.com (link here) and this is what Belichick highlighted this week:
1. Blitz-beater by Brady in red zone. Belichick calls up the 7-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Wes Welker with 9:26 remaining in the second quarter of Sunday's win over the Dolphins. "You see we have a nice escort there," Belichick says as he points out blocks by receiver Brandon Lloyd and linemen Ryan Wendell and Sebastian Vollmer. "It ends up being a pretty easy touchdown." Belichick also calls it a "real heads-up play" by quarterback Tom Brady to get out of a play that wouldn't be successful against a blitz and change it to something else. That's an area of Brady's game that is often overlooked but warrants praise.
2. Running to the weak side. The next play is an 11-yard run by Stevan Ridley on the Patriots' final 16-play drive, and Belichick points out how the runs leading up to this one -- often coming to the strong side with a tight end and wing -- sets up a productive run to the weak side. The Dolphins overplay the strong side, so the Patriots take advantage, with blocks by Vollmer and Wendell cited as the key. Blocks by left tackle Nate Solder, left guard Donald Thomas and right guard Nick McDonald are also noted, as well as how Ridley nicely sets up the run by using his blockers in front of him.
3. Scott's sack & double coverage. Belichick notes the Patriots' defensive success on third down (Dolphins were 3 of 13) and calls up Trevor Scott's second-quarter sack. Belichick says it's a good example of combining coverage and rush, noting double-coverage in the secondary on Davone Bess. "It looks like that's who Tannehill wants," Belichick says, also noting a double-team on fullback Charles Clay on the Dolphins' read routes at the first-down marker. "It forces Tannehill to hold the ball and then of course Trevor Scott is able to come around the corner and beat [Nate] Garner there on the edge for the strip sack." Belichick adds that Scott and rookie Justin Francis "both did a good job for us" at defensive end to help fill the void created by Chandler Jones' ankle injury and Jermaine Cunningham's suspension.