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SinePari
02-02-2015, 02:38 PM
Thoughtful article in the WSJ re: last night's game.

The assertion is that the Patriots did exactly what the Broncos tried to do last year - that is, throw short, quick passes - to beat the Seahawks. And while that generalization is true, I think the author fails to note some key differences (the big ones being execution and coaching):

1) The Patriots were not afraid to throw towards the middle of the field. Despite WRs getting blasted, they continued to challenge the middle of the field. On the other hand, Denver kept trying to attack the sidelines (e.g., out routes), which was much less effective. The Broncos - whether out of fear or just poor planning - wouldn't take the openings in the middle.
2) The Patriots utilized all of their pass catchers - WRs, TEs, and RBs - which often put players like Wagner and Chancellor into pass coverage when matched up against Gronk or Vereen. Denver rarely attempted to hit its RBs in short passing routes.
3) The Patriots had multiple short/quick options to go to, from Vereen to Amendola to Edelman. Denver built its receivers around the prototypical WR mold - D. Thomas, Decker - bigger receivers that rely on size and strength over speed.
4) The Patriots have Gronk. No way any safety or LB stops him one-on-one. Whereas J. Thomas is hit-or-miss.



Only Bill Belichick could look at a team that lost by 35 points and decide he has to steal their ideas.

A year ago, the Seattle Seahawks vaulted to the top of the football world by dismantling Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos, 43-8, in Super Bowl XLVIII. The Seahawks did it by forcing virtually all of Manning’s throws to be short, harmless tosses. That was all that Seattle’s fortress of a defense would allow—little passes in front of them that went for negligible yardage.

So when Belichick and the New England Patriots needed a strategy for Sunday’s Super Bowl, he chose seemingly the most irrational one possible: an attack based on those short, seemingly harmless tosses.

It wasn’t the most brilliant game plan in history, but it may have been the most practical.

New England’s dinking and dunking down the field was the football equivalent of driving cross-country because you’re afraid to fly. It took the Patriots forever to get to their destination, but they got there. Although the interception Seattle threw at the goal line—an unforced error unlike any in sports history—gave New England the victory, it was the Patriots’ counterintuitive offensive approach that got them in position to win in the first place. That strategy enabled them to overcome a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit against one of the greatest defenses in NFL history.

In fact, Tom Brady , the game’s most valuable player and perhaps the greatest quarterback in history, was historically conservative Sunday night. There have been 88 quarterbacks to play in the Super Bowl. Only six of those had a worse mark than his 8.86 yards per completion. All of those quarterbacks lost—including Peyton Manning.

Given the many strengths of the Seattle defense, though, Belichick’s ploy made sense. What do you do when your opponent has built a defense that prevents you from throwing deep, eliminates the popular “back-shoulder” sideline throw” and basically walls off the outside of the field? You swear off huge chunks of a typical football game plan. Sunday’s Super Bowl was about a team admitting its limitations.

About three years ago, the Seahawks decided that big, physical cornerbacks, who were undervalued in the speed-obsessed NFL, were the way to stop the league’s best passers. Cornerback Richard Sherman became a star, and Seattle’s roster of 6 feet-and-over cornerbacks provided no room for wide receivers to operate.

But wide receiver Julian Edelman knew things would be different on Sunday. “You’re not going to run fades on them. I’m 5-10; they’re 6-2,” Edelman said. “Coach kept on saying, ‘You’ve got to use your quickness.’ ”

That is exactly what happened. Time after time, Brady would find receivers over the middle of the field for one of those short, quick passes that the Seahawks would allow. Then the receiver—Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Rob Gronkowski or Danny Amendola—would simply dive ahead and get a few yards where they could. It wasn’t particularly glamorous.

New England avoided throwing at Sherman, which could be considered an act of football cowardice. Counterpoint: The Patriots didn’t care. Edelman knew that such routes would work on the Seahawks’ big defensive backs, since they couldn’t move as quickly in tight spaces as the Patriots receivers.

So the question becomes: Why haven’t other teams successfully employed Belichick’s plan? That is complicated. NFL coaches can be stubborn, yes, but there is also the belief that if you are good at something, you shouldn’t abandon it, no matter the circumstances. So teams that rely on throwing outside and deep—common in today’s NFL—tend to do so despite the odds.

There were always whispers about how to beat the Seahawks. The San Francisco 49ers, for instance, knew that they could annoy the rival Seahawks by shifting to those sleek speedsters, but then that would complicate the 49ers’ blocking schemes. So they never really made much of an effort.

There were routes that coaches around the league privately knew could get those big cornerbacks gasping for air—double moves that require a few jukes—but the quarterbacks would need to hang in the pocket to deliver those passes, a tough task against the ferocious Seahawks pass defense. The Patriots decided it was best to get the ball out quickly Sunday night.

Of course, the lasting memory from this game will be Malcolm Butler’s game-saving interception for New England—or, rather, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s inexplicable decision to call for a pass from the goal line in the final minute instead of a run. But when NFL strategy aficionados study this game, they may see the end of an era.

Since the Seahawks burst onto the scene in 2012, every team was looking to get taller. Receivers who looked like power forwards became trendy, as did cornerbacks who were 6 feet and up. But on Sunday night, Belichick and Brady unveiled the blueprint: if a team is great at something, don’t give them a chance to execute it.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-the-patriots-solved-the-seahawks-1422907393?mod=WSJ_hppMIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsSecond

Assassin27
02-02-2015, 02:57 PM
Pete solved the Hawks!!!!

Broncos-R-Great
02-02-2015, 04:05 PM
The Seahawks d-line was in shambles due to injuries, and was nothing like the d-line the Broncos saw in the Super Bowl last year. Avril (who wreaked havoc on Manning all game) got hurt, and Mebane and Hill were already out. I believe they had 5 defensive lineman on IR heading into this game.

Guys they signed off the streets saw significant playing time, players like Landon Cohen who was signed just before the divisional round, and Demarcus Dobbs who was signed in November.

Add in also that pretty much their entire defensive backfield (legion of boom) was banged up. Jeremy Lane then got injured early and his replacement Tharold Simon was picked on all night.

JT24Champ
02-02-2015, 05:52 PM
throw in the oline problems for denver. the rb or te had to help and stay in to block

pats, they didnt have to help

duhyaj
02-02-2015, 06:01 PM
This relates to Denver how? shouldnt this be in other teams or something?

fraguela09
02-02-2015, 07:33 PM
First of all, this wasn't a change in philosophy for NE... Brady cannot throw a deep ball anymore. Their entire offense is dink-dunk and rely on the YAC. Occasionally go over top to BL to keep them honest... And look for their elite TE.

Secondly, it's not hard to figure SEA out. Everybody knows that SEA runs a basic scheme... Lots of man... No tricks or exotic coverages. They rely on talent and execution.

The LOB was fully loaded, at full capacity, 120 percent ready to go last year. This time, Lane got hurt (after picking off Brady in RZ), Chancellor hurt during the week b4 the game, and both Sherman and Earl so banged up they require surgery this week. Oh, and another thing, Denver played in the cold of NJ days after a blizzard. NE played in AZ... 60 degrees.

Also, let me add, SEA was down a pass rusher (also hurt in the game); Edelman better than Decker and Gronk better than JT. Our starting LT was out... And the NE OL played ten times better than DeNver's OL.

Brady threw two picks... He should have thrown another, which would've been his second INT in the RZ but his WR made a great play... He interferes with the CB, holding him and preventing the pick... No int, no flag, NE scores on that drive.

There was also a blatant intentional grounding on Brady the refs somehow missed (wouldn't call); no to mention a PI so flagrant... It dwarfed the missed PI in the Det-Dal game. Everybody was crying foul on the break Dallas received... But where is the outrage? Sea up 24-21. CB trips and grabs WR foot... He falls, and still almost catches ball. No call... Instead of SEA first down near midfield, SEA forced to punt.

Odd how Bill Ninovitch and refs always miss calls in NE post season games?

Finally, it took two great plays by Butler (harassing Kearse and forcing drop when SEA on verge of blowout and then the monumental INT).

So, if Den and Peyton played in Az, against this injured SEA secondary, replace Decker-JT-Our OL with Edelman-Gronk-their OL... Have refs give us the breaks... I, too, wonder if that offensive scheme works.

I will say I am surprised we couldn't use Moreno like they used Vereen. I will give this article that.

chad72
02-02-2015, 08:06 PM
Broncos did not use their RB like they used Vereen. Plus, the Pats' WRs were not out there trying to whine for flags, they were busy fighting for the ball unlike Decker. Broncos had too many of the same kind of receiving threat - DT, Decker, JT out of which only 1 genuinely had speed to match the Seattle secondary, DT.

Yes, the Seahawks were stronger last year on D-line rotation but Brady and Belichick would have still made it closer and maybe lose 20-27 or something if they played the Seahawks last year. Down 14-24, I wondered if the Pats will go for a fourth down in their own territory, it did not happen. They had faith in their D and that paid off. Broncos, under JDR, never had the horses in last year's SB nor the schemes to make up for it.

Now, the Seahawks have to pay Lynch and Wilson and Avril is a free agent, it is not going to be easy but chances are, they will regroup as a younger unit and be back in the SB more likely than Brady and Belichick.

beastlyskronk
02-02-2015, 08:09 PM
It's hard for big corners to stick to shifty receivers. Add in the only te that Seattle can't cover with a lb or safety and you can do what New England did. Granted they had quite a few no calls go their way to keep them in it. The opi on the game winning touchdown was textbook but not called. Maybe the refs didn't believe little Edelman could truly push off on simon, but he fully extended his arm even though he didn't need to. Not sure how simon didn't know it was coming after getting beat by the same exact route earlier on the goal line.

It is what it is. Seattle should have won, but they got too cute at the end trying to make Wilson the MVP.

beastlyskronk
02-02-2015, 08:11 PM
We couldn't use Moreno like vereen. Vereen is much faster and quicker in the open field and can turn those swing routes into 5-10 yards. Moreno would have been tackled for 2 or 3

LSIGRAD09
02-02-2015, 08:43 PM
Broncos did not use their RB like they used Vereen. Plus, the Pats' WRs were not out there trying to whine for flags, they were busy fighting for the ball unlike Decker. Broncos had too many of the same kind of receiving threat - DT, Decker, JT out of which only 1 genuinely had speed to match the Seattle secondary, DT.

Yes, the Seahawks were stronger last year on D-line rotation but Brady and Belichick would have still made it closer and maybe lose 20-27 or something if they played the Seahawks last year. Down 14-24, I wondered if the Pats will go for a fourth down in their own territory, it did not happen. They had faith in their D and that paid off. Broncos, under JDR, never had the horses in last year's SB nor the schemes to make up for it.

Now, the Seahawks have to pay Lynch and Wilson and Avril is a free agent, it is not going to be easy but chances are, they will regroup as a younger unit and be back in the SB more likely than Brady and Belichick.

Heck no, they have the AFC South, NFC Least and their own division. I'd say their position is rather favorable.

Hadez
02-03-2015, 09:07 AM
Comparing a Belichick game plan and game and a Fox Game plan and game is like comparing the difference between chess and checkers. Even worse then that because even in chess an opponent knows what is coming if they take the time to think it through but against Belichick and other elite coaches they surprise you.

Fox is the equivilant of bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Belichick is hard on his team all week every week so that come game day they have seen it all and are prepared.

Fox is the carebear on how to run a team so it should be no surprise come gameday his team is not pumped and folds at various signs of adversity.

Fox was exactly the "mom type" this team needed to lick its wounds and recover from McD horrors but he is never going to win a ring unless his coaches and players do it for him

Comparing how the Broncos played against the Seahawks vs how the Pats played is not going to make anyone happy who roots for Denver. Except for the fact we can be happy Fox did his job and is now gone.

JT24Champ
02-03-2015, 11:50 AM
We couldn't use Moreno like vereen. Vereen is much faster and quicker in the open field and can turn those swing routes into 5-10 yards. Moreno would have been tackled for 2 or 3

1 word.

hilman

beastlyskronk
02-03-2015, 12:18 PM
1 word.

hilman

Wasn't he inactive? I know he got into trouble by going out the night before the Super Bowl. Even then I'm not sure Hillman would hold onto the ball getting hit by their lbs and chancellor.

notwithit
02-03-2015, 01:36 PM
The Seahawks d-line was in shambles due to injuries, and was nothing like the d-line the Broncos saw in the Super Bowl last year. Avril (who wreaked havoc on Manning all game) got hurt, and Mebane and Hill were already out. I believe they had 5 defensive lineman on IR heading into this game.

Guys they signed off the streets saw significant playing time, players like Landon Cohen who was signed just before the divisional round, and Demarcus Dobbs who was signed in November.

Add in also that pretty much their entire defensive backfield (legion of boom) was banged up. Jeremy Lane then got injured early and his replacement Tharold Simon was picked on all night.

You nailed it. Sherman needs surgery, Chancellor may need surgery on his knee, Thomas, Lane, all hurt. Then you add Avril's concussion.... This team was not the same one that played Denver last year. The Pats did a very good job taking advantage. The announcers even saw that. But comparing how the Pats "unlocked" the Seahawks defense to Denver being shutdown.... No... Just no...

fallforward3y+
02-04-2015, 02:22 AM
First of all, this wasn't a change in philosophy for NE... Brady cannot throw a deep ball anymore. Their entire offense is dink-dunk and rely on the YAC. Occasionally go over top to BL to keep them honest... And look for their elite TE.

Secondly, it's not hard to figure SEA out. Everybody knows that SEA runs a basic scheme... Lots of man... No tricks or exotic coverages. They rely on talent and execution.

The LOB was fully loaded, at full capacity, 120 percent ready to go last year. This time, Lane got hurt (after picking off Brady in RZ), Chancellor hurt during the week b4 the game, and both Sherman and Earl so banged up they require surgery this week. Oh, and another thing, Denver played in the cold of NJ days after a blizzard. NE played in AZ... 60 degrees.

Also, let me add, SEA was down a pass rusher (also hurt in the game); Edelman better than Decker and Gronk better than JT. Our starting LT was out... And the NE OL played ten times better than DeNver's OL.

Brady threw two picks... He should have thrown another, which would've been his second INT in the RZ but his WR made a great play... He interferes with the CB, holding him and preventing the pick... No int, no flag, NE scores on that drive.

There was also a blatant intentional grounding on Brady the refs somehow missed (wouldn't call); no to mention a PI so flagrant... It dwarfed the missed PI in the Det-Dal game. Everybody was crying foul on the break Dallas received... But where is the outrage? Sea up 24-21. CB trips and grabs WR foot... He falls, and still almost catches ball. No call... Instead of SEA first down near midfield, SEA forced to punt.

Odd how Bill Ninovitch and refs always miss calls in NE post season games?

Finally, it took two great plays by Butler (harassing Kearse and forcing drop when SEA on verge of blowout and then the monumental INT).

So, if Den and Peyton played in Az, against this injured SEA secondary, replace Decker-JT-Our OL with Edelman-Gronk-their OL... Have refs give us the breaks... I, too, wonder if that offensive scheme works.

I will say I am surprised we couldn't use Moreno like they used Vereen. I will give this article that.

Yes, NE's offense is largely centered around shorter passes, imo that's what helps make it more effective for facing top defenses, they find more favorable match ups.

If it's so easy to figure out the Seahawks defense how come few teams have moved the ball well on them like NE did? Chancellor and Sherman didn't seem very effected by their injuries. Chancellor played pretty well, and there weren't too many passes completed Sherman's way other than shorter routes. Edelman was also knicked up in the game.

They were moving the ball well on NE before Lane was injured.

And if your crying about no calls, how about the no call on roughing the kicker where NE should have had a chance to continue their drive. Calls were missed both ways. I even had a feeling some bad call in NE's favor would be brought up so I remembered that.

It also wasn't terrible weather in NJ, the weather was fairly nice.

As for if you switch Edelman, Gronk and their line with JT, Decker and your O-line...well, if you replaced 7 of your players with 7 of theirs it may very well be the case that you would have done better. Denver's game plan was terrible for facing the Seahawks, and I think this article highlighted well why NE's was better.

It would be smart to use this game plan, and SD's for how to play the Seahawks defense. I would say Dallas or Kansas City, but most teams don't have the Offensive Lines to beat up Seattle's front 7, especially to Dallas' level to be able to dominate Seattle's front 7 like that and execute the game plan that they had well.

fallforward3y+
02-04-2015, 02:35 AM
You nailed it. Sherman needs surgery, Chancellor may need surgery on his knee, Thomas, Lane, all hurt. Then you add Avril's concussion.... This team was not the same one that played Denver last year. The Pats did a very good job taking advantage. The announcers even saw that. But comparing how the Pats "unlocked" the Seahawks defense to Denver being shutdown.... No... Just no...

It didn't seem like many other offenses were taking advantage. Denver's game plan was terrible against the Seahawks, and if they tried that again they probably get the same result, even with Seattle's defense injured.

I remember seeing Chancellor running with Gronk, nearly picking off a deep pass intended for him, he seemed to be fine, as did Sherman. Sure, at times NE picked on back ups in Seattle's secondary, but they had success throwing at starters as well. I really didn't see Simon get picked on all night. I remember seeing a deep pass thrown his way that he broke up. He got beat on a few shorter TD passes, but those were great moves by Edelman, I think he could have scored on Lane with them.

It wasn't like they were throwing deep all game, they were throwing short routes. SD had a game plan rooted in similar routes and they dropped 30 on SEA, and the Pats seemingly followed a similar blue print.

Edelman was knicked up as well, so it wasn't like they were the only ones recovering from injury.

I remember hoping for Simon to have a great game, because I had a feeling all offseason that was going to be used to discredit the Pats win, if people started to feel shameless about trying to claim that not having deflated balls would have made up for a 38 point deficit.