Each week, Inside The Pylon’s Mark Schofield takes an in-depth look at a single pivotal play for the Patriots Offense. Most of the time this is a celebration of a perfectly executed play that changed the game in the Patriots’ favor. This week, it is a brutal reminder that terrible football happens everywhere, even in New England. Ladies and gentlemen: your Offensive Fail of the Week.
On a night rife with putrid offensive mistakes, Tom Brady’s decision to force a throw to Julian Edelman midway through the 3rd quarter stands out as the Patriots’ Offensive Fail of the Week. Trailing 24-0, New England faces a 2nd and 5 at their own 25-yard line. Brady is in the shotgun and the Patriots have their 12 personnel on the field. Tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Michael Hoomanawanui are in a wing to the right, while Brandon LaFell is split wide to the left with Edelman in the slot. Kansas City counters with their base 3-4 defense showing a Cover 3 in the secondary.
The play is designed to deliver the ball downfield to Edelman on a double move. From his wide alignment, LaFell runs a deep curl route while from the slot Edelman works an out-and-up route.
A number of factors make this play a truly epic failure. First, Edelman cuts off his route short and he is nowhere near the throw. Second, Brady’s pass is inaccurately delivered to the inside of the field (instead of tight to the sideline), almost as if it were intended for cornerback Sean Smith. Finally, the Patriots are in a maximum protection scheme with Hoomanawanui and Gronkowski, as well as running back Stevan Ridley all staying in to assist with pass protection. Even with a completely clean pocket, this throw is really the only option for Brady. Bad route, bad throw, bad play design.
Monday night’s woefully dismal performance by the New England offense offered up a plethora of candidates for Offensive Fail of the Week. With the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals coming to Foxboro rested after their bye week, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels needs to quickly address his group’s glaring problems. Failure to do so will result in another humiliating performance on the national stage.
Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkSchofield.