Even the New England Patriots aren’t perfect, and their Week 1 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs was glaring proof. But good teams learn from their missteps, and Tom Brady revealed a perfect example of that from Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.
In his Monday radio appearance with WEEI 93.7 FM’s “Kirk and Callahan,” the Patriots quarterback made an interesting admission: His 24-yard completion to running back James White in the fourth quarter Sunday was the same play Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt torched New England on for a 78-yard TD in Week 1.
“The play I threw to James, the Chiefs ran it — that was the touchdown play that they had to Kareem Hunt, that long one when they got behind the defense,” Brady said, via WEEI.com. “It was a little variation of what the Chiefs did, but similar action — we got some confusion on the defense, and they really missed James out of the backfield. Had I not thrown it to James, I had Dion Lewis over near the sideline and no one was on him, either. It’s just a really good play and perfect call at the time.”
Let’s go to the tape, which reveals the Pats ran a virtual carbon copy of the Chiefs’ home run play in Week 1. Here’s White’s catch:
These two plays are nearly identical, right down to the motions by Lewis and Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill from the slot and the play-action fake. If the Saints hadn’t had safety help over the top, the Patriots’ version might have produced similar results, as White easily beat his linebacker in coverage.
New England obviously isn’t the only team that watches what plays other teams run, but it’s a credit to the Pats and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels that they were able to take a play the Chiefs burned them on and use it to their advantage the very next week in a convincing win over the Saints.
Such plays constitute a small fraction of the Patriots’ playbook, though: Brady revealed his offense has anywhere from 500 to 1,000 pass plays alone in a given season, and that about 500 to 600 of those actually get called in a game.
“There’s definitely repeats,” Brady added. “We change quite a bit week to week. That’s why you need really smart players on our offense to be able to adapt to the changes we make based on the matchups that we see, or the coverages that we’re going to face, or how the team has played us in the past.”
Thumbnail photo via Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports Images
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