There wasn’t a Houston Texans defender within 10 yards of Chris Hogan when he caught his second touchdown pass Sunday afternoon.
How exactly did Hogan get so wide open? Allow Bill Belichick to explain.
As part of a weekly segment produced by the New England Patriots’ in-house video department, the head coach broke down how an in-game adjustment allowed the Patriots to exploit a flaw in the Texans’ coverage scheme.
During the first quarter of New England’s eventual 36-33 win, Hogan lined up in the right slot and ran a 10-yard out route against a Cover 4 look that resulted in a Patriots first down. It was a positive play, and it also allowed Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to pick up on something his team could use to its advantage.
As soon as Hogan came out of his break, Belichick explained, safety Andre Hal went with him, turning and sprinting toward the sideline. That left the middle of the field totally exposed.
So, when the Patriots saw the same coverage later in the game, McDaniels drew up a new route for Hogan. After making his cut at 10 yards, the wideout took one step toward the sideline, then changed direction and made a beeline for the goal post — an out-and-go.
By the time Hal noticed the route change, quarterback Tom Brady already had zeroed in on Hogan and heaved a pass downfield. Hogan caught it in stride and was able to dive into the end zone for a 47-yard touchdown.
“This is a really great coaching move by Josh and the offensive staff,” Belichick told Scott Zolak in his “Belichick Breakdown.” “… Really nobody’s on Hogan on the vertical route. … Great job here by the players of making the adjustment, because this is a play we didn’t have. We put this in based on what (the Texans) were doing.”
Hogan also caught a 7-yard touchdown pass earlier in the game and finished with four catches on six targets for 68 yards in the win.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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