Positional groupings: TEs spark plan

January, 23, 2012
1/23/12
8:45
AM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A look at the positional groupings utilized by the Patriots in their 23-20 victory over the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game:

2 WR/2 TE/1 RB -- 37 of 67
3 WR/2 TE -- 18 of 67
3 WR/1 TE/1 RB -- 9 of 67
3 TE/1 FB/1 RB -- 2 of 67
1 WR/3 TE/1 RB -- 1 of 67

ANALYSIS: A pretty straight-up approach for the Patriots, who were either in the base 2 WR/2 TE/1 RB grouping or the 3 WR/2 TE package. One again, the Patriots handed off and pitched to tight end Aaron Hernandez out of the 3 WR/2 TE grouping to keep the defense honest about the run. When Rob Gronkowski left the game for nine plays, that's when the Patriots shifted to a 3 WR/1 TE/1 RB grouping. Overall, the groupings reflect how the versatility of the Patriots' tight ends open up various possibilities within one specific grouping.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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