The Package Report: Patriots offense did enough to win, thanks to one particular grouping

Billie Weiss/Getty Images

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Despite Tom Brady's awful pick-six, the Patriots offense ultimately should have done enough to escape Sunday with a win. And they would have thanked one particular grouping if they pulled it off: 12 personnel.

The Patriots averaged 5.4 yards per play in "12" (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR) and had their most productive, successful drives when they emphasized that package. The running game was at its best and Brady averaged nine yards per attempt through the air.

Brady and Josh McDaniels also found pockets of success in other personnel packages. Two of their three touchdowns came in 21 personnel (2 RB, 1 TE, 2 WR) and the should-be game-winning score came in 10 personnel (1 RB, 4 WR). But when they made a point to run "12", that's when they moved the ball most consistently and gave themselves the best chance to score points in the first place.

Here's a deeper dive into the Patriots' offensive personnel packages in their shocking loss to the Dolphins. The stunner of an ending ultimately took away from what could have been a day of discussing some promising things for the offense, particularly in 12 personnel.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 29: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots walks off the field during the game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 29: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots walks off the field during the game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Snap Counts (60 Total)

-- 10 personnel: 6 snaps (10 percent)
-- 11 personnel: 24 snaps (40 percent)
-- 12 personnel: 23 snaps (38.3 percent)
-- 21 personnel: 6 snaps (10 percent)
-- 22 personnel: 1 snap (1.7 percent)

Notes:

-- Sunday was the second-highest usage of 12 personnel this season at 38.3 percent. The most was in Week 14 against the Chiefs, when they ran "12" on 39.4 percent of snaps. They still ran slightly more "11", which is still their go-to grouping on third downs and key passing plays, although it took five straight snaps in "11" on the final desperation drive to give it the edge in snap counts.

-- Although the Patriots averaged 5.52 yards per play in 11 personnel, that's mostly thanks to a 50-yard catch by Phillip Dorsett that helped set up a Sony Michel touchdown run. Excluding that catch, the Patriots averaged 3.3 yards per play in "11".

-- The Patriots averaged 5.4 yards per play in 12 personnel, including 5.6 yards per rush. Brady went 4-for-7 for 36 yards. His best pass came on an impressive 18-yard back-shoulder catch for N'Keal Harry.

-- The Patriots gained 61 yards in eight plays with Elandon Roberts on the field. Thirty-eight of those yards came on Roberts' surprise touchdown catch-and-run in the third quarter. Despite Roberts' big-time block on Michel's touchdown, overall they only averaged 3.8 yards per rush with Roberts lining up at fullback.

FOXBOROUGH, MA - DECEMBER 29: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws the ball in the second quarter of a game giants the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - DECEMBER 29: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws the ball in the second quarter of a game giants the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Run/Pass

-- 10 personnel: 100 percent pass (6/6)
-- 11 personnel: 75 percent pass (18/24)
-- 12 personnel: 69.6 percent run (16/23)
-- 21 personnel: 66.7 percent run (4/6)
-- 22 personnel: 100 percent run (1/1)

Notes:

-- The running game mostly looked strong with Harry on the field. Overall they ran for 62 yards on 14 attempts, and Harry was blocking on Michel's touchdown. Harry hurt his own average on an early three-yard loss by James White in which he completely whiffed on his block, but his physical presence has mostly been a welcome one.

-- The Pats averaged 4.4 yards per rush with Harry on the field, but 5.6 yards per rush without him. That's mainly due to their rushing success in 12 personnel. When they used Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu in "12", they rushed 11 times for 72 yards - a 6.5-yard average.

-- They ran the ball the best in "12" compared to other groupings, with 5.6 yards per rush. In "11" they averaged 5.0 yards, in "21" they averaged 3.4, and they lost a yard in their one snap in "22".

Drive-By-Drive

No. 10 11 12 21 22 Result
1. 0 2 1 0 0 Punt
2. 1 3 2 0 0 Punt
3. 0 1 0 1 0 Pick-Six
4. 0 3 8 0 1 FG
5. 0 1 3 1 0 TD
6. 0 1 1 0 0 End half
7. 0 2 1 0 0 Punt
8. 1 2 2 3 0 TD
9. 2 3 1 0 0 Punt
10. 2 1 4 1 0 TD
11. 0 5 0 0 0 End game

Notes:

-- The Patriots had three drives where they ran more 12 personnel than any other grouping. On those drives, they averaged 70 yards and scored a total of 17 points. On their other eight drives, they averaged 18.4 yards and totaled seven points.

-- It's fair to note that one of their touchdown drives was sparked by Dorsett's 50-yard catch, which came in "11". The Pats gained 13 yards on three plays in "12" on that drive.

-- Their most impressive use of "12" came on a second-quarter drive that ended with a Nick Folk field goal. They ran eight straight plays in "12" and gained 59 yards (7.4 average), although they stalled on the final two snaps with zero yards which helped contribute to settling for three points.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 29: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks to hand the ball off to Sony Michel #26 over the Patriots logo during the game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 29: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks to hand the ball off to Sony Michel #26 over the Patriots logo during the game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Season Totals (1,137 Snaps)

Snap Counts:

-- 00 personnel: 1 snap (0.09 percent)
-- 10 personnel: 66 snaps (5.8 percent)
-- 
11 personnel: 623 snaps (54.8 percent)
-- 12 personnel: 129 snaps (11.3 percent)
-- 13 personnel: 2 snaps (0.17 percent)
-- 20 personnel: 68 snaps (5.98 percent)
-- 21 personnel: 185 snaps (16.3 percent)
-- 22 personnel: 45 snaps (3.96 percent)
-- 23 personnel: 18 snaps (1.6 percent)

Run/Pass:

-- 00 personnel: 100 percent pass (1/1)
-- 10 personnel: 95.0 percent pass (63/66)
-- 11 personnel: 69.3 percent pass (433/623)
-- 12 personnel: 65.1 percent run (75/129)
-- 13 personnel: 100 percent run (2/2)
-- 20 personnel: 86.8 percent pass (59/68)
-- 21 personnel: 57.5 percent run (107/185)
-- 22 personnel: 56.8 percent run (26/45)
-- 23 personnel: 100 percent run (18/18)

Hopefully, we have four more Package Reports to dive into with the Pats needing to win three games to get to the Super Bowl. But enjoy these while they last, because it's do-or-die time. The next Package Report comes on Sunday after the Patriots face the Titans in a Wild Card matchup, and hopefully it's not the last one of the season.

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 [email protected].