By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Ultimately, the Patriots’ season ended early and their offensive struggles were summed up in one game as they lost to the Titans. New England’s surprisingly quick exit in the wild card round happened because of mistakes by both the players and the coaches, in all three phases of the game. But the team’s flaws didn’t show up more acutely than in a costly drive late in the second quarter.
Josh McDaniels called almost every kind of personnel package that he’s deployed as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator throughout their 20-13 loss to Tennessee. Besides a little success in the first quarter, not much of them worked. The offense had issues in the red zone and running the ball in short yardage situations all season, and it proved to be a difference-making drawback.
Welp, let’s get into it. The final Package Report of the season, and one for an offense that never truly found a groove.
Snap Counts (61 Total)
— 10 personnel: 6 snaps (9.8 percent)
— 11 personnel: 37 snaps (60.7 percent)
— 12 personnel: 4 snaps (6.6 percent)
— 20 personnel: 1 snap (1.6 percent)
— 21 personnel: 10 snaps (16.4 percent)
— 22 personnel: 1 snap (1.6 percent)
— 23 personnel: 2 snaps (3.3 percent)
— In the end, McDaniels called for the 11 personnel that he and Tom Brady trusted more than anything throughout the season. Unsurprisingly, “11” was the Patriots’ go-to grouping in hurry-up situations and on third downs. Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, and N’Keal Harry got 20 snaps together as the main three-receiver set.
— Elandon Roberts got 12 snaps at fullback, most of them in 21 personnel. He also got his first handoff of the season and couldn’t gain a yard on third-and-1, in a McDaniels play-call that raised a lot of eyebrows. Surprisingly, Roberts played one more snap than Rex Burkhead (11), who did get only four rushing yards on three carries but caught all three targets for 32 yards.
— The Patriots did something different on Saturday when they came out in 10 personnel on the first two snaps of the game. Didn’t work out as Brady went 0-for-2. But they didn’t move away from “10” entirely, sprinkling it in for another four snaps over the course of the game.
— Two snaps in 23 personnel, but very damaging ones. They netted a three-yard loss on two runs with Sony Michel, despite using their heaviest blocking personnel possible – Roberts at fullback, Matt LaCosse and Ben Watson in at tight end, and tackle Marshall Newhouse checking in as the extra blocker.
— 10 personnel: 100 percent pass (6/6)
— 11 personnel: 67.6 percent pass (25/37)
— 12 personnel: 50 percent run/pass (2/4)
— 20 personnel: 100 percent pass (1/1)
— 21 personnel: 50 percent run/pass (5/10)
— 22 personnel: 100 percent run (1/1)
— 23 personnel: 100 percent run (2/2)
— What stands out here is the Patriots’ commitment to the run in 11 personnel. They ran out of “11” at the third-lowest rate since losing their last true fullback for the season.
— Here’s how the handoffs broke down when the Patriots went three-wide: six carries for Michel, three carries for Rex Burkhead, one carry for James White, a jet sweep for Harry, and Edelman’s five-yard jet sweep for the Patriots’ only touchdown.
— Also standing out is the Patriots’ pass/run balance in 21 personnel. They ran five pass plays in “21”, four of which came with Roberts on the field. They made a successful gain on a rarely-used package when they fielded White and Burkhead as the two backs in “21”, and Burkhead took a swing pass and rumbled for 11 yards.
— As was common in the Patriots’ other losses or games in which they had to play from behind, there was an increasing reliance on 11 personnel as the game went along. After going down 14-13 just before halftime, the Patriots ran 24 of 29 plays in “11”. It was indicative of a limited offense that didn’t have much in the way of trustworthy packages in crucial situations.
— You can see a clear line of demarcation where the game turned, and never changed from there. Drive No. 4 is where the Patriots failed to punch it in from the 1-yard line with two plays in 23 personnel. And you can see them revert to mostly “11” from there.
Season Totals (1,198 Snaps)
— 00 personnel: 1 snap (0.08 percent)
— 10 personnel: 72 snaps (6.01 percent)
— 11 personnel: 660 snaps (55.09 percent)
— 12 personnel: 133 snaps (11.1 percent)
— 13 personnel: 2 snaps (0.17 percent)
— 20 personnel: 69 snaps (5.76 percent)
— 21 personnel: 195 snaps (16.28 percent)
— 22 personnel: 46 snaps (3.84 percent)
— 23 personnel: 20 snaps (1.67 percent)
— 00 personnel: 100 percent pass (1/1)
— 10 personnel: 95.8 percent pass (69/72)
— 11 personnel: 69.4 percent pass (458/660)
— 12 personnel: 57.9 percent run (77/133)
— 13 personnel: 100 percent run (2/2)
— 20 personnel: 86.9 percent pass (60/69)
— 21 personnel: 57.4 percent run (112/195)
— 22 personnel: 58.7 percent run (27/46)
— 23 personnel: 100 percent run (20/20)
That’s it for the Package Report for the 2019 season. Hopefully you found some useful or interesting information about the Patriots offense. We’ll be back with this at the start of the next regular season, perhaps with some new features in store.
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@example.com.