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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Patriots All-22: How Did Brady Miss Edelman/Thompkins Deep?

During last Sunday's Buccaneers vs Patriots tilt, there was one truly baffling play. We saw replays, but the announcers didn't really explain what happened.

In the second quarter, Tom Brady seemed to miss two wide open receivers (Julian Edelman & Kenbrell Thompkins) running deep. Using NFL Game Rewind (which I can't endorse enough), I decided to look at the All-22 game film and figure out what happened:

Pre-play formation: 1RB-2TE-2WR
The Patriots lined up with:
  • Stevan Ridley as lone RB
  • Michael Hoomanawanui (L side) and Zach Sudfeld (R side) at TE
  • Thompkins and Edelman at WR
The play was designed for Brady to sell the stretch play fake to Ridley (like something straight out of the Peyton Manning-Colts playbook) then spin around to look down field for open receiver.

Thompkins and Edelman would go deep, while Sudfeld and Hoomanawanui would run crossing patterns underneath.

Tom Brady sells play-fake, looks down field
Brady sells the play fake and his first look is to Edelman in the deep middle of field. Edelman, running a deep skinny post, is just getting picked up by the deep safety at just this moment.

Meanwhile Thompkins, running a straight jet, has already gotten past his man.

Hoomanawanui runs a crossing drag to right sideline as a safety valve for Brady.

Brady goes to second look
Because Edelman was covered and Brady senses pressure from the blind side, he looks to a secondary target Sudfeld. He sees that Sudfeld, running a crossing pattern, gets a step on his man toward the sideline.

What Brady doesn't have time to see - nor act upon - is both Thompkins and Edelman getting wide open deep. (The safety covering Edelman falls down trying to turn.)

Brady overthrows Sudfeld, and the play ends up an incompletion.

Thompkins and Edelman wide open
CONCLUSION: There were two wide open guys down the field, but, with the way the play developed, there was little chance to get them the ball. 

EDIT: Brady confirmed after the game that the play was intended to get Sudfeld open. The two deep receivers were supposed to stretch the field and leave underneath open. 

What Brady didn't anticipate was that one or both deep guys would get so open. 

No worries though, the Patriots scored not long after this.

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