Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has taken his fair share of criticism, but he won’t hear any this week.Unless, of course, it’s coming from Baltimore.
McDaniels pulled out a few tricks in Saturday’s AFC Divisional Playoff that had the Ravens defense running in circles.
New England put out an ineligible receiver package in the third quarter that used just four offensive linemen and an ineligible player lined up as a receiver. The fact that the receiver was ineligible, and therefore pointless to cover, confused Baltimore not once, not twice, but three times. The Pats ended up scoring a touchdown on that drive to bring a 28-14 deficit to 28-21.
It was enough to have Ravens coach John Harbaugh fuming on the sidelines. After the game he called it “deception” and said the league would take a look at it and make adjustments.
Well, the league did take a look at it. The Patriots didn’t do anything outside of the rules and there’s no reason to believe anything will change due to McDaniels’ creativity.Sorry, John. As Tom Brady said after the game, maybe you should have studied the rule-book.
The odd formations weren’t McDaniels’ only tricks.On New England’s very next drive, Brady threw a screen pass to Julian Edelman, who then threw it to a wide-open Danny Amendola for a touchdown that tied things up, 28-28.
“Yeah, that double pass has been in all season,” Brady said after the win. “It was great that Josh [McDaniels] called it at the perfect time.”
Can we expect the Pats to run the same plays next weekend against the Colts? No. But it’s now something Indianapolis has to at least consider, along with wondering what other plays the Pats have held onto.
The Pats have obviously had games where the run has been featured over the pass (at Indianapolis in Week 11), and games where the run has been non-existent (against Baltimore this past Saturday). It’s a gameplan offense that changes week-to-week.
“We chose not to run the ball more than anything else,” McDaniels told reporters. “It wasn’t like we ran it 20 times and had 35 yards. We kind of made that decision and went ahead and went with it. And those [trick plays] were just part of the gameplan that hopefully at the right time or place we could use them and get some production out of them if they were called.”
McDaniels has interviewed for two head coaching positions recently with the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers, two teams still without head coaches.
It doesn’t seem like many New Englanders are concerned about his departure, but maybe they should be.