It’s Conference Championship Week
The New England Patriots continue their quest for another Super Bowl title this weekend when they host the Indianapolis Colts, fresh off their Divisional Round road upset of the Denver Broncos. To kick off our AFC Championship Game coverage, we take you “Back to the Future” at Inside The Pylon.
The AFC Championship Game brings a rematch of a Week 11 contest won by the Patriots, 42-20. Here is a look back at our Patriots vs Colts analysis leading into that contest, as well as our post-game coverage, to get you thinking equestrian as Championship Week begins.
Reading the Colts Numbers – In his weekly statistical analysis piece, Doug Storms broke out his old TI-82 – as well as some game film – to look inside Andrew Luck’s interception rate. Doug also examined the poor statistical performance of the Indianapolis defense, beginning with their porous secondary.
Indy Coverage Schemes Against the Patriots – For part one, Mark Schofield reviewed some film of Indianapolis’s defense in previous meetings and in other games in 2014, and highlighted two coverages the Colts implement: Cover 2 and Cover 6.
Doubling-Up: The Colts Plan for Edelman – Part two of Mark Schofield’s passing game preview examined the Indianapolis secondary and how they previously schemed for other talented receivers, specifically Demaryius Thomas and Steve Smith, Sr. The Colts utilized both Cover 2 and Cover 6 to defend these receivers, either with a safety providing help deep or a bracket-style coverage from Cover 6.
Triple Gronk? – In the final piece of the passing preview puzzle, Mark Schofield looked at how the Colts defended the tight end position. While Indianapolis had been willing to jam New England TEs in the past, they showed a reluctance to slow them at the line early in 2014 – to their detriment.
Tim Wright Stuff – Mark Schofield broke down one of the bigger offensive plays from New England’s victory, a beautifully designed route combination that freed up tight end Tim Wright for a short scoring strike.
Rob Gronkowski Runs Over Colts – Sometimes, a standout play just needs a great animated GIF. Mark Schofield happily provided the visuals of Rob Gronkowski’s juking, spinning, stiff-arming and hurdling catch-and-run.
Colts Battered: Patriots Run Defense – Brian Filipiak covered the clash in the trenches from all angles after New England’s victory. In his first installment, Filipiak explored how creative design – and big Vince Wilfork – slowed the Colts’ run game.
Colts Bruised: Patriots Run Defense – In the second part of his review, Brian Filipiak again examined the New England run defense. This piece highlighted both the individual efforts (Dominique Easley) and the team cohesion that led to a strong performance for the Patriots against the Colts’ ground attack.
Jonas Gray and the Trap Block Quintet – In the final part of his series, Brian Filipiak took us inside the tremendous performance from the New England ground game against Indianapolis. Jonas Gray carried the football 38 times for over 200 yards, and Filipiak illustrated how the Patriots’ trap-blocking scheme paved the way for Gray’s huge night.
Good Passing: Patriots Play Action – Mark Schofield’s passing game recap took on a “good, bad and ugly” theme this week. First up, the good: How the New England play-action passing game got on track in the second half of the victory over Indianapolis.
Bad Passing: Patriots Play Action – Part two of the passing game recap again addressed play-action, this time the Patriots’ early issues with execution. Tom Brady started the game 0-for-7 with two interceptions on such passing plays, and Mark Schofield showed us why.
Ugly Toss: Patriots Play Action – Part three of the passing game recap took readers inside a disastrous play near the end of the first half: An ugly interception of a Tom Brady pass intended for Rob Gronkowski on a play-action pass.