X's & O's: Running game & strip sacks

For those with an interest in football X's and O's, Bill Belichick's weekly breakdown of top plays after victories is something to watch. The breakdown, on Patriots.com, is a little light this week with just two plays:

1. Danny Woodhead's 19-yard run on third-and-17. Belichick highlights the defensive personnel utilized by the Broncos (3-man line) in a long-yardage situation. They are defending most against the deep passing game. "I think the idea on this play is to get the running back started, and then Danny is able to find some space here and turn it into a first down," says Belichick, who notes the strong interior blocking by center Ryan Wendell and right guard Dan Connolly. Left tackle Nate Solder and tight end Rob Gronkowski are credited for strong work at the point of attack, while Wes Welker delivers another key block down the field. Good combination of everyone blocking and also good running from Woodhead.

2. Rob Ninkovich's third-quarter strip sack. Belichick points out how one of the keys to the play is linebacker Jerod Mayo hitting the player running a crossing route, knocking him down. That forces Peyton Manning to hold on to the ball a little longer than the norm and Ninkovich's strong effort is rewarded up front. "Again, it's a combination of good coverage, giving the pass rush a little bit of extra time," Belichick says. "Good coverage leads to good pass rush leads to sacks and strip sacks."