The New England Patriots are known for coming up with sneaky in-game adjustments, and perhaps nothing illustrates that better than a play during their Week 3, 36-33 win over the Houston Texans.
As Bill Belichick broke down on his weekly film session for Patriots.com, the team drew up a touchdown for wide receiver Chris Hogan with a heady adjustment from offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
In the second quarter, Hogan caught a pass from Brady for a first down that, as Belichick noted, was the result of some confusion between the Texans’ defenders.
As Hogan caught the pass, Texans safety Andre Hal had dropped back in coverage, expecting cornerback Jonathan Joseph to close in on Hogan.
Belichick said: “When Hogan breaks out, Hal is kinda working over the top here, and I think he’s anticipating that the corner will come down and trap this and take the receiver.”
Belichick said that after the play, the Patriots, specifically McDaniels, caught Hal and Joseph talking after the play.
“Josh McDaniels did a great job of picking this up and seeing this,” Belichick said. “I think Hal was telling Joseph that ‘The next time time they do this, then you’re gonna trap, I’m gonna go over the top,’ and all that.”
The Patriots then ran the same play, with Hogan in the slot, and Brandin Cooks on the outside. However, they made an adjustment to Hogan’s route. As Hogan began to hook in, sure enough, Joseph came off Cooks to cut off Hogan, while Hal played deep, ready to cover Cooks.
As the defenders began shifting, Hogan then cut back to the deep-middle where the field was wide open.
“Rather than waiting until this play gets broken up, and then coming back to make the adjustment, Josh had the foresight – and this is really a great coaching move by Josh and the offensive staff – is to put in the out-and-go … Nobody’s on Hogan on the middle route.”
Here’s the breakdown:
Hogan ended up scoring the touchdown, and the Patriots took a 14-10 lead.