The New England Patriots offense soared in Tom Brady’s first two games back under center this season. The 17th-year quarterback piloted the Patriots offense to 34 points per game, tossing 3 touchdowns in each contest, following his season-opening, four-game suspension.
Brady was thriving out of the Patriots two tight end formation they rediscovered from 2011. Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski were commanding nearly 30 percent of Brady’s targets.
However, New England mostly abandoned its matchup-nightmare formation in Week 7.
Bennett played on 30 snaps against the Steelers compared to Rob Gronkowski’s 52, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss.
The difference can be highlighted by the Patriots frequently operating out of a three wide receiver, one tight end, one running back package. That’s the formation that set up Gronkowski’s go-ahead 36-yard touchdown grab midway through the third quarter.
New England utilized that formation 26 times on Sunday, with Gronkowski playing as the lone tight end in 25 of those actions.
Martellus Bennett finished with just 1 catch and 5 yards, but was extremely vital as a blocker in LeGarrette Blount’s season-high 127-yard rushing performance.