FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Bill Belichick’s weekly breakdown of plays following a New England Patriots victory, on Patriots.com, highlighted strong work on offense, defense and special teams -- a fitting recap, because last Sunday’s win against the Lions was a complete-team effort.
Alan Branch showing up: A sack in the first quarter (7:27) showed how the combination of good coverage married up with good rush to produce the desired result. This is generally one of Belichick’s preferred plays to show in these breakdowns, and one thing he said confirmed what was pointed out in film review: defensive tackle Alan Branch played a solid game. "Gave us a lot of good snaps," Belichick said as he pointed out Branch's strong rush inside.
Defending the pick route in red zone: The coaches film showed a nice overhead view of the third-down stop in which tight end Joseph Fauria couldn’t hang on to an end-zone pass with safety Patrick Chung in coverage. There were pick routes on both sides, with the Patriots doubling receiver Calvin Johnson inside. A key on the play was linebacker Jamie Collins flattening out running back Theo Riddick so Chung could play through the pick and defend Fauria. At the end of the play, Belichick credited Chung with playing Fauria’s hands and knocking the ball out.
Amendola’s patience pays off: On Danny Amendola's 81-yard kickoff return, Belichick highlighted the blocking ("seal the inside") and how the wedge was a "three-for-three" matchup. Meanwhile, receiver Brandon LaFell, the fullback on the kickoff return team, blocked the safety. The rest was up to Amendola. "I thought he showed a lot of patience on that," Belichick said. "You can see what a great job Amendola does ... the key to the play is Amendola starting over [to his right] to draw the coverage outside as if he’s going to run to the sideline here. Then Danny does an excellent job right here, setting it up and cutting it back."
Power running on goal line: Belichick pointed out a crucial pull from right guard Ryan Wendell on LeGarrette Blount's first touchdown run -- creating a third double-team block across the front -- and then showed how Blount lowered his pads to overpower unblocked linebacker DeAndre Levy. And a little chuckle from Belichick on Blount's end-zone dance.
Edelman in the backfield: The concept of lining up a receiver in the offensive backfield showed up on the Patriots’ final drive of the second quarter (0:17), with receiver Julian Edelman and running back Shane Vereen on both sides of Tom Brady (who was in the shotgun). Belichick pointed out how that appeared to create some confusion for the coverage -- as Edelman and Vereen switch sides at the last moment -- opening up the middle for tight end Rob Gronkowski.