Patriots add tight ends to offensive formula

New England Patriots tight ends combined for only two receptions in a 38-24 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

The stats don't reflect what the position meant to the Patriots' offense.

We could tell the Patriots wanted to institute tight ends into their offense when they cleared house on the depth chart, signed free agent Alge Crumpler and drafted a pair of highly-rated tight ends in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

In Sunday's victory we saw how much Bill Belichick would emphasize them.

ESPN Stats & Information tracked every play at Gillette Stadium and found 54 percent of Tom Brady's pass attempts were with multiple tight ends on the field. Last year, only 21 percent of Brady's passes came with multiple tight ends.

Brady was 13-of-19 for 152 yards and three touchdowns with more than one tight end against the Bengals. He averaged 8.0 yards per attempt compared to 6.6 yards per attempt with less than two tight ends.

"Not only can they block, but they're all able to catch the ball, too," Brady said. "It creates different mismatches out there."

Hernandez had only one catch, but it was for 45 yards. Gronkowski had one catch for one yard, but it was a touchdown.