By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
This week’s Package Report was quite easy compared to others. That’s because the Patriots didn’t mix up their personnel groupings like they have in other games so far in the 2019 season.
In fact, they didn’t mix it up at all.
Entering the game with one fully healthy tight end, no fullbacks, and only four active wide receivers, the Patriots ran every single offensive snap against the Ravens in “11” personnel – one running back, one tight end, three receivers. Other than one snap with a different WR, the only variation in the actual personnel came with the running backs. We’ll get to more of that below.
The Pats had already run the majority of their plays in “11” personnel, and it’s likely we only see more of it moving forward. Their best offense is with at least three receivers on the field, whether they’re running or passing. They also ran more hurry-up and no-huddle than usual, so their ability to stop opponents from substituting may help moving forward.
Read below for a complete breakdown of a night where the Patriots ran “11” personnel on every play. Since there was no variance in the packages, we had to break this one down a little bit differently.
11 Personnel: 67 snaps (100 percent)
— On every snap except one, the Patriots’ wide receivers were the same: Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, and Phillip Dorsett. Jakobi Meyers checked in for a snap on the opening drive after Dorsett got banged up on the second play of the game.
— The Patriots rotated their running backs and lined up all of them as both runners and receivers. James White played 28 snaps, Rex Burkhead played 24, and Sony Michel played 15.
— Ben Watson played every offensive snap as the lone tight end.
Run/Pass: 74.6 percent pass (50/67)
— The Pats’ decision to stick with 11 personnel the entire game led to more running plays out of that grouping than we saw last week. Against the Browns, the Pats passed the ball on 23 of 24 plays in “11” personnel.
— Unlike what we usually see, the Patriots used all of their running backs mostly as runners. Seventeen combined carries compared to just seven targets in the passing game for New England backs.
— None of the Patriots’ run plays involved a receiver in the backfield for plays like end-arounds and jet sweeps. The running game was fairly straightforward and surprisingly effective, with 4.4 yards at a clip and the touchdown.
— The Pats never used a fullback. That’s mainly because they no longer have a traditional FB on the roster. They played more to the players’ individual strengths. So despite the complete lack of changes in their packages, the offense looked as good as it has all season by simply letting the personnel do what they do best.
— On one of the Patriots’ most successful drives of the game, James White ran the ball six times for 27 yards and a touchdown. They ran the ball on eight of 11 plays on that drive.
— The Patriots’ relative lack of substitutions allowed them to run more no-huddle and hurry-up offenses, which did have the Ravens on their heels much of the time. However it may have come back to bite them on Edelman’s fumble, because he had caught the ball in no-huddle on the previous two plays in a row. He looked gassed at that point.
— If not for a couple of drives where the Patriots went more run-heavy, the play distribution would have skewed even more in favor of the passing game. But the Pats found ways to exploit a slowing Ravens defense with the run when the opportunity presented itself.
Season Totals (652 snaps)
— 10 personnel: 46 snaps (7.0 percent)
— 11 personnel: 335 snaps (51.4 percent)
— 12 personnel: 45 snaps (6.9 perent)
— 20 personnel: 58 snaps (8.9 percent)
— 21 personnel: 138 snaps (21.2 percent)
— 22 personnel: 22 snaps (3.4 percent)
— 23 personnel: 8 snaps (1.2 percent)
— 10 personnel: 93.5 percent pass (43/46)
— 11 personnel: 68.4 percent pass (229/335)
— 12 personnel: 75.6 percent run (34/45)
— 20 personnel: 86.2 percent pass (50/58)
— 21 personnel: 56.5 percent run (78/138)
— 22 personnel: 68.2 percent run (15/22)
— 23 personnel: 100 percent run (8/8)
— After their “11” personnel-only night, the Patriots’ use of “11” jumped over 50 percent on the season.
— Considering the Patriots no longer have a viable fullback on the roster, it will be interesting to see how much “21” personnel they incorporate for the rest of the season. They never tried the two-RB “pony” formation against the Ravens, either.
— The Patriots decided not to go with their unique personnel in “23” on the goal line in this game. They apparently felt better going with their most talented guys rather then running Elandon Roberts out there at fullback or Jermaine Eluemunor/James Ferentz at tight end.
Up Next: The Patriots have their bye week in Week 10, so the next Package Report doesn’t come until Monday after they play the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.