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Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Xs & Os: Key plays from Jets game

By Mike Reiss

One of the favorite weekly features is when Patriots coach Bill Belichick breaks down some of the key plays from a victory on Patriots.com. This week's breakdown (link here) isolates four key plays:

1. Wes Welker's 73-yard catch.  The play, at the start of the third quarter, is set up with a strong play-action to BenJarvus Green-Ellis. A wham block by tight end Rob Gronkowski also contributes to making the defense think run. Belichick shows a high angle of how safety Eric Smith steps up because of that play-action, and with cornerback Darrelle Revis playing outside leverage on Wes Welker, it opens the seam for Welker to exploit. "I'm not sure whether Smith was supposed to take him, or whether Revis was supposed to stay with him, but in either case they're both kind of caught a little short there. Wes is able to split them and Tom makes a perfect throw. That's a quarterback's dream," Belichick says.

2. BenJarvus Green-Ellis 15-yard run. The third play of the Patriots' final drive is dissected, and Belichick calls it a key because it moves the ball from the 33 to 48-yard line. It's a two tight end set, and Green-Ellis runs to the left side, with Belichick pointing out the important block made by tight end Rob Gronkowski to open the running lane. Belichick also highlights blocks by left tackle Matt Light, left guard Logan Mankins and receiver Wes Welker.

3. Green-Ellis 14-yard run on direct snap. That kept the final drive going, coming on third-and-4, and Belichick shows how Welker makes the big block on the outside. "We all talk about Welker for his receiving and his big plays and his yardage and all that, but this play right here had as much to do with us winning the game as his 73-yarder," he says, also highlighting blocks by Matt Light, Logan Mankins and Deion Branch.

4. Third-down stop on Dustin Keller. The Patriots held the Jets to 3 of 11 on third down, and Belichick highlights one of the stops at the start of the second quarter. It was third-and-8 and Keller, the tight end, catches a pass for 7. Belichick highlights a strong jam at the line of scrimmage by linebacker Rob Ninkovich as the reason the play went for 7. "Things the fans don't see a lot of times, jamming Keller and taking him off his route which forces him to shorten it up a little bit," Belichick says.