The New England Patriots are alone atop the NFL at 6-1, largely in part to a dynamically versatile offense.
Entering Sunday afternoon’s Week 7 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England’s offense was rightly heralded for its thriving two tight end formation. At Heinz Field, the Patriots practically abandoned the passing game, at least relatively speaking, as running back LeGarrette Blount nearly rushed even with Tom Brady’s passing attempts 24-26.
Blount had nine carries for 76 yards against the Steelers nickel. Take one thing away, Pats go to plan B, C, D better than anyone.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) October 24, 2016
It speaks not only to the offense’s versatility, but head coach Bill Belichick’s ability to scheme multiple strategies to attack opposing defenses.
“They tried to play some nickel defense against Rob (Gronkowski) and Martellus Bennett and we were able to get some good runs going with Blount,” Belichick told reporters after the game.
It’s quite the luxury to have two pass-catching freaks like Gronk and Bennett. The two tight ends’ values skyrocket when you factor in their vicious run-blocking ability, too.
“That kind of offset some of the defense they were playing there,” Belichick said. “I thought our receivers made some good blocks in those situations too, to be able to get the force guys. Blount ran hard. He had good ball security and good pad level. He made some tough yards.
“He made some big play, explosive runs for 12 to 15 yards. He had one long one for 25 yards. He gave us some explosive plays. We needed that particularly when they cut it to a four-point game. His runs were able to settle us down. I thought our offensive line along with the receivers and the tight ends had some good blocks. We ran behind Bennett and Rob a lot.”
The Patriots are willing to beat you whichever way you dare them to.