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Monday, October 15, 2012
Positional groupings: Jumbo disappoints

By Mike Reiss

SEATTLE, Wash. -- A look at the positional groupings utilized by the Patriots in their 24-23 loss to the Seahawks, and analyzing what it might mean:

3 WR/1 TE/1 RB -- 51 of 87
2 WR/2 TE/1 RB -- 20 of 87
3 WR/2 TE -- 9 of 87
3 TE/1 FB/1 RB -- 3 of 87
1 WR/3 TE/1 RB -- 3 of 87
2 WR/1 TE/1 FB/1 RB -- 1 of 87

(Penalties included.)

ANALYSIS: The Patriots entered the game having posted the first back-to-back 200-yard rushing performances in franchise history since 1978, but they didn't "major" in that area Sunday. This was a game where the three-receiver grouping was used the majority of the time, as the matchup against the Seahawks' nickel defense -- in the passing game -- appeared to be what the coaching staff felt was most advantageous. In retrospect, it almost makes one wonder if they outsmarted themselves by conceding too much of the run, perhaps giving the Seattle run defense too much credit. In the first half, the Patriots had 36 yards on 10 carries (compared to 30 pass attempts). So it was little surprise that when they tried to run the clock out in the four-minute offense, they couldn't gain much traction on the ground. It's hard to just flip the switch in situations like that when there hasn't been a big commitment to the run. It was disappointing for them when the jumbo package, with three tight ends and offensive lineman Dan Connolly at fullback, gained 1 yard apiece on back to back carries before ultimately punting away to the Seahawks to set up their winning touchdown.