As Tom Brady explained to us earlier this week, part of what makes Bill Belichick a great head coach is his ability to “trim the fat” on the wealth of information he’s obtained game-planning for a team.
But Belichick slicing and dicing doesn’t stop at kickoff. The New England Patriots head coach also is one of the league’s best at making in-game adjustments.
Chubb had already had 92 rushing yards on just 10 carries by halftime and racked up 28 more rushing yards on Cleveland’s opening drive to start the second half.
At some point in the third quarter, though, Belichick sat his defense down to set them straight. Skip to about the 3-minute mark of the Patriots’ “sights & sounds” video to hear the exchange.
“It’s all outside runs. It’s either the tosses, the shovel pass, the stretch (plays) … It’s all outside runs,” Belichick told his defense. “We’ve just got to set the edge here and stay inside-out.”
Belichick wanted the Patriots’ defensive ends and outside linebackers to “set the edge” on Chubb by getting outside leverage and forcing him to cut inside, where the speedy running back would be less effective.
And that’s essentially what happened.
Following a 12-yard gain early in the quarter, Chubb saw just five carries the rest of the game. Here are the yards he gained on each of those carries: -2, 0, 3, 5, 3.
Chubb’s late-game disappearance was mostly due to game flow, as the Browns were forced to pass after New England went up by 14 late in the third quarter. Belichick probably won’t be pleased with the Patriots’ run defense as a whole, either, as Chubb finished with 131 rushing yards on 20 carries.
But this still was a classic example of Belichick identifying an in-game issue and effectively communicating it to his players, who acted on his simple coaching tip to address a weakness and help preserve another Patriots win.
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Mic’d up Bill Belichick made a great in-game adjustment in Patriots-Browns originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
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