When Ravens ran same play twice, Patriots figured it out

AP

One of the biggest plays made by the Patriots’ defense in Saturday’s win over the Ravens was an interception by Devin McCourty in the third quarter — a play on which McCourty knew just where to be, because the Ravens had already run the same play earlier in the game.

In a video breakdown on the Patriots’ website, Bill Belichick says the Ravens ran the play on their first drive of the game and had success with it, as the Patriots’ secondary couldn’t get to the ball in time.

“This is a play that the Ravens ran on the first drive,” Belichick said. “Torrey Smith on this over route caught it over here across the field, and as you see this play unfold, we’re just a little bit late, the coverage can’t get there, it’s a good throw and a good catch and the Ravens pick up about 20 yards on this play.”

But when the Ravens tried to run the same play in the third quarter, McCourty recognized it and got there in time to get the interception.

“One of the things you love about Devin McCourty is not making the same mistake twice or recognizing the play the second time around,” Belichick said. “Here the Ravens are just flipping the play over . . . it’s the exact same play, flipped over to the other side, and this time Devin goes around the tight end, [Owen] Daniels, gets into position to come in and cut off the over route and make the play. A great job of reconition, anticipation, seeing the play and making it.”

Belichick said that play by McCourty illustrated why it’s so dangerous in the NFL to run the same play twice in the same game, even if it worked the first time around.

“A lot of times I hear from the fans or sportscasters or whatever, ‘Why don’t you keep doing what was working? Why did you change it? Why didn’t you keep doing it?’ Well, that’s one of the resasons. It’s hard in this league to keep doing it against players like that. They see it the second time around an they nail it,” Belichick said.

The Ravens thought they could beat McCourty twice with the same play. They found out the hard way that they couldn’t.

111 responses to “When Ravens ran same play twice, Patriots figured it out

  1. Thank goodness the whine of the Harbaugh is still heard in the NFL. They almost went extinct.

  2. That’s not what lost the game. Flacco’s second INT is what lost it. Sad thing for Ravens fans is he had at least 20 yards of open field to run, pick up the first down, and take some serious time off the clock. Shoulda, woulda, coulda..

    Game over.

  3. Oh THAT never happens in a NFL game. Bellicheck is such a genius blah blah blah. Sick and tired of the praise thrown on this team. You got lucky and won. This play was almost as genius as lee evans drop and cundiff’s missed field goal. How genius were they when owen daniels caught the same pass quan did in 2012 for a td.

    You know what’s genius win a Super Bowl without having secret tapes of the other team.

    Go Colts!

  4. Shows difference in football smarts. Raven’s D allowed the “illegal” formation play to work 3 times on the same drive with no answer. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice (and three times), shame on me.

  5. You see, John, this is HOW IT IS DONE!!!

    I hear Kleenex is on sale…

    Brady should pick some up. He whines and cries as much as Harbaugh does.

  6. John Harbaugh describing ray wifebeater rice: “oh, he’s a great guy.”

    Clueless coach, and a terrible judge of character.

    Pats won, John…go back to NFL Coach School, because you need to learn to call a timeout when you can’t figure out something.

  7. Will the wailing and gnashing of teeth ever stop in Baltimore? YOU LOST! Wait ’til next year. Or maybe the year after that. Or after that….lets.

  8. Just because the play is the same doesn’t mean you have to throw it to the same target. I assume teams run multiple plays out of the same formation anyway.

  9. Crisp film review and analysis with great plays by the Safeties. If you aren’t standing in a position with something purposeful to defend, then identify and race to a spot where you can be.

  10. All-Pro’s Eric Weddle and Earl Thomas likely don’t make that play.

    Thomas didn’t have to…Kam read the QB, jumped the play and got a Pick-6 for them.

  11. Are we sure that actually was Belichick up there? Usually he doesn’t say this much the entire week.

    I enjoy seeing ‘behind the curtain’ like this, discussing the plays in depth like this.

  12. “No big deal… The Pats ended up going 3 and out after that turnover, so it had no bearing on the outcome of the game….”

    Except for having that extra time on the clock late in the game might have given the Ravens what they needed to come back and win, as opposed to throwing the pick that sealed the game.

    Or maybe they would have actually gone downfield and scored on that drive.

    So yes, it have a very large bearing on the game.

  13. John Harbaugh describing ray wifebeater rice: “oh, he’s a great guy.”

    Clueless coach, and a terrible judge of character.

    Pats won, John…go back to NFL Coach School, because you need to learn to call a timeout when you can’t figure out something.

    Didn’t you guys draft a murderer?

    Didn’t your owner have Floyd Mayweather (found guilty of assaulting a woman) in his owners box for a game?

    hi pot,meet kettle

  14. Coaches break down every big play made by the opposition and it’s upto the players to read and react to it on the field. This says a lot about McCourty and his football IQ.

  15. schooled ..maybe Johnny boy can wipe his tears with one of the sleeves Bill cut off of his hoodie!

  16. “schooled ..maybe Johnny boy can wipe his tears with one of the sleeves Bill cut off of his hoodie!”

    same can be said for tommy boy…he whines and cries as much as Harbaugh..probably more

  17. My take is the Belichick is concerned about the Colts racking up yards with the same plays, so he told this story as a way to scare Indy into running plays they haven’t practiced as much. After all, when has Bill Belichick ever offered up something to reporters that didn’t serve his own interests?

  18. I love pats fans taking shots at Harbaugh….do they realize that their QB whines and cries on the field as much as Harbaugh…clueless

  19. Thats nice and all Bill, keep talking about the game you won 4 days ago. That game must have meant more than anyone thought.

    It certainly doesn’t sound like you are “on to Indy”. I assure you Indy has already moved past their most recent victory.

  20. Give me a break, the Ravens had the chance to take the game if not for Flacco throwing an INT in the last play. That was a dumb call by the OC because the play was 1 and 5 with 1:43 minutes left. Even running the ball made more sense, why threw a bomb in that situtation to leave so much time left and BTW Torey Smith, if you are not going to catch the ball, at least raise your hands to avoid an INT

  21. Love the Patriot haters and sore losers. Must be rough to hold all that bitterness in. You guys, go share a box of hankies with your dumb coach.
    You other Raven fans, it was a great battle. I don’t like it when the Raven’s face my Pats in the playoffs. Always scary.

  22. Every week I look forward to the BB breakdown on the Patriots website. Love him or hate him, absolute football genius and it’s a pleasure to watch him break down film.

    Go Pats

  23. OMG they ran the same play twice in a game! Like that doesn’t happen in every game in the league all year.

  24. “Didn’t you guys draft a murderer?”

    Yes they did draft Hernandez. And then immediately cut him ignoring the large hit to their cap the moment it came out he was involved in a murder.

    As opposed to the Ravens who have spent years defending Lewis, Mr Poured Bleach On His Woman Ngata, and doing their best to bury the Ray Rice incident.

    So no, the Pats are nowhere near as low as the Ravens are.

  25. Pretty good of Devin to recognize and act on the play in mirror image and then be in perfect position to make the interception. I’d need a few Budweisers to figure that out.

  26. OSU ran the same play 20 times vs. Oregon and they never figured out how to stop Zeke Elliott.

  27. Not quite sure why people are so shocked to see BB talking – he actually does these breakdowns every single week. Though I guess some people can’t hear over their cries of Spygate.

    Must be a sad life, to be more interested in cheering against another team than cheering for one’s favorite team…

  28. Just so you guys know, BB does a segment with film breakdown every week for the team website, just like Chip Kelly does for the Eagles website and I am sure multiple other coaches do as well. Jim Harbaugh might do one for the Ravens website…..just as soon as he figures out how to explain what the Patriots did to him on Saturday. Don’t worry Jim…you have 8 months to come up with a solution.

  29. The Ravens got outcoached, out smarted and outplayed. As a result they lost. Most teams would get over it and learn from their expeience, but not this bunch. They can never lose like pros and really even whined when they were winners in the Super Bowl.
    I feel sorry for the people who don’t get to see the real Bill Belichick more often. With certain reporters in NE he is very open, peersonable and willing to share his knowledge of the game. With the majority of no-nothing media types that ask stupid questions , he is as silent as it is possible to be. For us fans in NE, this is a part of the “show” we enjoy too.
    When the Patriots lose, you will never hear him whine and blame everybody but himself.

  30. Didn’t you guys draft a murderer?”

    Yes they did draft Hernandez. And then immediately cut him ignoring the large hit to their cap the moment it came out he was involved in a murder.

    As opposed to the Ravens who have spent years defending Lewis, Mr Poured Bleach On His Woman Ngata, and doing their best to bury the Ray Rice incident.

    So no, the Pats are nowhere near as low as the Ravens are.

    okay..so you’re low..just not as low…got it…

  31. Love the Patriot haters and sore losers. Must be rough to hold all that bitterness in. You guys, go share a box of hankies with your dumb coach.
    You other Raven fans, it was a great battle. I don’t like it when the Raven’s face my Pats in the playoffs. Always scary.

    you seem REALLY smart and know a lot about football…..you do realize your QB pouts as much as any player int he league, right? Or will patsies fans keep ignoring that FACT

  32. Glad the smarter team won.
    Amused at the hating birdbrains that say “Cheat, cheat, cheat….”

  33. Belichick said, “Here the Ravens are just flipping the play over . . . it’s the exact same play, flipped over to the other side, and this time Devin goes around the tight end, [Owen] Daniels, gets into position to come in and cut off the over route and make the play. A great job of reconition, anticipation, seeing the play and making it.”

    You left out:
    BB went on to say, ‘well, we had their play call signals so when they ran it a 2nd time, we knew it was coming. . . . “

  34. Wow! The #1 seeded Patriots, their fans, and Profootballtalk.com have spent a lot of their week fixated on the #6 seeded Ravens.

    Maybe that should tell you a lot about who got into who’s head. Maybe here’s a better synopsis of the game.

    The top-seeded Patriots beat a sixth-seeded team, playing with 19 players on injured reserve, that had survived a domestic abuse scandal, and was starting a seventh- string corner. They won on the last play of the game. On their home field. Whoopie!

    The Irsay family should thank you, New England. You have managed to do what I never thought I would ever see, and that’s to have most of us in Baltimore on Sunday rooting for the Colts! Quite a feat!

  35. It was a big play by McCourty even though the Pats didn’t score after the turnover. It ended Flacco’s ridiculously great interception-less streak in the playoffs and took away the aura of invincibility he had been building up since 2012.

  36. The Ravens got outcoached, out smarted and outplayed. As a result they lost. Most teams would get over it and learn from their expeience, but not this bunch. They can never lose like pros and really even whined when they were winners in the Super Bowl.
    I feel sorry for the people who don’t get to see the real Bill Belichick more often. With certain reporters in NE he is very open, peersonable and willing to share his knowledge of the game. With the majority of no-nothing media types that ask stupid questions , he is as silent as it is possible to be. For us fans in NE, this is a part of the “show” we enjoy too.
    When the Patriots lose, you will never hear him whine and blame everybody but himself.

    you would service the team if you could, right?

  37. What’s the purpose of this article? The game is over and the Pat’s have moved on. How about an article describing the play calling from a week 12 game? Everybody in the NFL understands that BB and TB are the greatest things to ever happen to pro football. How about an article on the latest rulebook wrinkles BB has come up with? I can’t wait to hear him pretend he doesn’t know what the sportwriter is talking about this week. Fun times!

  38. This is the type of article I’d like to see more often on PFT. One that focuses on football plays and strategy. Leave the tabloid stuff to TMZ.

  39. You mean you Beli-cheat recognized the play from the tape you were watching the night before… that thing you do oh so well… what is it called again?…. Oh yeah, CHEAT!

    Like the old saying goes: Once a cheater, always a cheater.

  40. Yes, the Patriots went three and out after that turnover. Brady went for the kill on first down and didn’t connect. Bill needs to get off the aggressive deep throw after a turnover. The Pats do it too often and the opposition must be prepared for it. Better to play call to get into field goal range first so that the opposition pays a price on the scoreboard for turning it over. That was a key point in the game and the Ravens had turned it over just after the Pats had come back to tie for he second time being down 14 points.

  41. Belichick is the best coach in American sports. Anyone who denies this is just an ignorant Patriots hater.

  42. News flash, this is the real Bill Belichick. He does this every week after every game. He has been doing it for more than 10 years for the local Boston sports media/fans.

    Just because he is surly in press conferences means nothing. He loves the game of football, the history, the Xs and Os, and he loves teaching it to anyone willing to learn a few things. Getting behind the curtain and understanding why he does certain things is awesome. In the Marine Corps we learned early on that even if you cant see the reason, or think the reason is dumb, there is a reason for everything you do, and one day it will make sense and you will be thankful you learned it. That is what Bill is all about. There is a reason for everything he does, and learnign about that is fascinating. Why does the punter hold on field goals? Why does he usually have a left footed punter? etc

    The problem is, most members of the media are either too lazy, too stupid, or too focused on trying to create some post game drama to ask the right questions. If the media would get into the important things with Belichick, he wouldnt come across as a dude in need of a root canal when doing his press conferences. It is all about asking the right questions. He will still sometimes stone wall the media if he doesnt want to talk about certain things, but he is far more open to discussing things when it isnt a stupid question. Asking him if there is a quarterback change in the works after the KC game, isnt going to get a real interesting response from Bill

  43. “Ravens ran play in practice and walk through. Somehow (wink,wink) the patsies figured it out.”

    Yes, Belichick used his patented Hoodie Of Invisibiliy to sneak out of Gillette Stadium, somehow that absence remained unnoticed by hundreds of press, he drove to Baltimore and managed to install secret cameras in their stadium without anyone figuring it out, and got back to New England all with none ever noticing he was gone.

    Do you realize how stupid you make yourself sound claiming he was in Baltimore filming their practices instead of being in New England ?

  44. I just think it’s foolish to all of those giving Belichick all of the credit. Also, those who don’t believe McCourty is not great, need to start watching games. The Patriots had Brandon Merriweather for a time at safety and he could have seen that play a thousand times and been fooled every single one of them. This isn’t about Bill Belichick being any smarter than Harbaugh. It’s about Devin McCourty’s read and recognition of play and his reaction to it.

  45. Belichick is the best coach in American sports. Anyone who denies this is just an ignorant Patriots hater.

    Or just thinks Greg Popovich is better..

  46. It’s hard to run a play twice against the Pats. They film it and get your signals and they know it’s coming the second time.

  47. @ Jda13: That’s all you got? That’s ALL YOU GOT? Brady whines too? That isn’t even as good as “oh yeah.” Snicker. Gotta love you bitter losers, jda13. Go to the tissue box. Your whiney coach is there waiting for you.

  48. “‘Why don’t you keep doing what was working?’ . . . It’s hard in this league to keep doing it against players like that. They see it the second time around an they nail it.”

    That’s Belichick subliminally suggesting to the Colts that they don’t have to prepare for New England’s running game. (“We wouldn’t think of trying that on you again, Indy. It would be an insult to your intelligence and preparation.”)

    Get ready for Blount, Gray & Bolden LLC.

  49. Pats fans complaining about Ravens players. Not only Hernandez (who was drafted after being connected to a murder in college), but how about signing Talib after he shot up the neighborhood, or Alfonzo Dennard getting a DUI while awaiting his jail time for assaulting an officer druing the season.

    Kubiak is known to run the same plays out of different formations and sets. McCourty made an excellent play. Coaching had nothing to do with that play. Its a player who studied film, recognized a tendency and made a great play.

  50. scw1993 says:

    John Harbaugh describing ray wifebeater rice: “oh, he’s a great guy.”

    Clueless coach, and a terrible judge of character.

    Pats won, John…go back to NFL Coach School, because you need to learn to call a timeout when you can’t figure out something.
    ———————————————
    jda13 says: Jan 14, 2015 11:42 AM

    Didn’t you guys draft a murderer?
    ——————————————-

    The day Hernandez was indicted, he was immediately cut from the team, and Belichick never said “he’s a great guy” afterwards.

    When the “second elevator video” of Rice bashing in his wife’s face was leaked to the press, Hairball said “Rice is a great guy, and we stand behind him.” The fans gave him a standing ovation when he came out to practice. Worst franchise in sports today.

  51. I have always felt that the one of the weaknesses of the Ravens is the predictability of the offense. Sometimes the success of a play may depend on the play being able to fool the opponent. One of the reasons the Ravens were so great on defense apart from the defense was the unpredictability of it. The offense however seems to be very plain. The Ravens offense rarely will will put wrinkles on their offenses. WYSWYG. Having said that, while Torrey Smith should have fought for the ball, the decision of Joe Flacco to make throw on 2 and 5 with about 90 seconds left, deep in Patriots territory, is a head scratcher.

  52. It’s hard to run a play twice against the Pats. They film it and get your signals and they know it’s coming the second time.

    Steelers fan here.

    For all the folks implicating the Pats of continuing to cheat by filming signals and such; if it were true why aren’t they being investigated and deciplined each year for it?

    Obviously, they aren’t since it’s baseless. Therefore, those comments really bear no fruit save making the commenter look green with envy.

    And frankly, it’s getting really old. Find something new at least.

  53. “jda13: you seem REALLY smart and know a lot about football…..you do realize your QB pouts as much as any player int he league, right? Or will patsies fans keep ignoring that FACT”
    I have to believe you are really this ignorant because you don’t even know how dumb you sound. Are you eleven or twelve years old? “Oh yeah, well Brady pouts! Fact!”
    Jeez Louise, that’s just horrible, isn’t it?

  54. What a chump team the Ravens are and their coach. All bluster like Rex Ryan. Pats used them to practice plays and schemes for the Super Bowl.

    Pats spotted them 14 points playing soft zone to open the game then realized the Ravens thought it was a real game so the Pats switched to man coverage and a coaching clinic and swatted them like a fly.

    Seahawks or Packers are the Pat’s only competition.

  55. What I learned in film review. Patriots had a great coach, great QB etc… but at the end of game the Ravens had a chance to win it with 19 players on injured reserve and a depleted secondary! The Patriots are not elite!

  56. “Brady pouts” is such BS. He never pouts in front of a microphone, unlike some players and coaches. He does take latitude during the heat of a game, but not to the extend that it is (ever?) drawn a penalty (unlike some players and coaches) because, let’s face it, most of the time it’ s reasonably justified; such as when he is kneed in the head by a defensive lineman when attempting to stand up.

    Funny thing about “learning from mistakes”, in the 3rd quarter, 2 of the three plays run from the unbalanced line formation were EXACTLY the same, run two or three plays apart, and they worked great. Some people learn, some don’t. Not really that much different from when Miami punked the Patriots with the wildcat, in fairness, but that was ages ago.

    When is the last time you saw a true innovation in scheme in the NFL? I loved it.

  57. More stories/links like this please. Informative and substantive. Especially nice since it’s the playoffs and all the rumors can be a distraction.

  58. This article reinforces the notion I have that the HARBAUGHS are “traditional” footballists and that BELLICHICK is an innovator. It’s just two different schools of thought.

    But anyone trying to make an equivalence between what Harbaugh was complaining about and what Bellichick is pointing out here is being misled. Harbaugh is rightly saying that the ref’s process of identifying who is/is not eligible was flawed in that game.

    This “Harbaugh = whine”r meme is getting stupid

  59. When Belichick retires his “Film Study with Bill Belichick” show will print money for whichever network is smart enough to get to him first.

  60. So let’s gt this straight. The Patriots ran plays with Shane Vereen ineligible three times in a row and neither Harbaugh nor any of his players could figure out what they were doing, let alone how to stop the Patriots. All three plays Suggs covered Vereen even though three times the ref said Vereen wasn’t eligible.

    Then Torrey Smith runs a route in the 3rd quarter than he ran in the opening series and the Patriots not only recognize it but know what to do about it. McCourty pics the pass off.

    Yep, that’s pretty much tale of Ravens and Pats. Dumber than dirt Suggs and never make the same mistake twice McCourty.

  61. Most people don’t hate the patriots for being the patriots. I mean how many times have they been the best NFL team in the last 10 years? ZERO. But most nfl fans don’t like cheaters which is belichick. Did he get caught cheating? YES. Does this make him a cheater? YES

  62. The smug look on Harbaugh’s face each time the camera turns to him makes me wanna puke. Maybe if he didn’t employ such idiots, he make more difficult plays.

  63. chinahand11 says:
    Jan 14, 2015 1:10 PM
    @ Jda13: That’s all you got? That’s ALL YOU GOT? Brady whines too? That isn’t even as good as “oh yeah.” Snicker. Gotta love you bitter losers, jda13. Go to the tissue box. Your whiney coach is there waiting for you.
    ======================================
    So true. At least three times…..so who is the whiner?

  64. As a fan of the NY Giants I did not know this…….

    All season long the opposing team ran the same plays all game long and ran them at will…..

    Actually the next weeks opponent would run the same play that worked the prior week without issue as well…..

    This was under Perry Fewell….thankfully he’s gone now…..

    I expect things will be better next year……they can’t be worse…..

  65. That, to me, felt like a game that neither team deserved to lose. Lots of great play and digging deep. Afterward, I respected both teams more than I did before. Hope they’re both back in the mix next year.

  66. jda13 says:
    Jan 14, 2015 11:36 AM
    You see, John, this is HOW IT IS DONE!!!

    I hear Kleenex is on sale…
    ——————————-
    Brady should pick some up. He whines and cries as much as Harbaugh does.
    ——————————-
    Listen to mic’d up Terrell Suggs from this game. Brady complained when he was poked in the eye. Suggs whines to the refs after every play. He’s ‘telling on’ other players all game long. What a baby.

  67. The throw was horrible. It wasn’t much different than the first throw other than the only player who could catch the ball was the safety.

  68. Watch the video and you’ll realize its not an arrogant statement but a reflection on the league, and how – good players and coaches have the ability to adjust and recognize plays after they’ve been used.

    Also for all you haters, if you watch this video linked in the article, you’ll see that BB’s attitude isn’t always what its portrayed in the media. It is always most definitely cold when he has to do post game national and local interviews that are formalities. Redundant pointless questions that are for the reporters to write redundant stories. If its about drama and Tmz level content Bill’s not gonna play that game because it has nothing to do with football.
    He’s still a jerk to local media on this level if thats what their going for, but more often than not when he does his weekly local interviews/shows about actual FOOTBALL his tune changes greatly.

  69. A team ran the same play twice? I don’t believe it.
    Every single team at every level does this guys, including the patriots.

    Are we really this ill informed of the game of football?

    The pats had a better team this year. Simple.

  70. “Harbaugh is rightly saying that the ref’s process of identifying who is/is not eligible was flawed in that game. ”
    =====

    And the league has said that the formations were legals and that the substitution and announcement mechanics of the officials was correct. Do you need them to come out and directly say that Harbs is FOS?

  71. It’s hard to run a play twice against the Pats. They film it and get your signals and they know it’s coming the second time.
    ===

    If they filmed your signals* ** why would they wait until the second time?

    *Tapes of signals are still filmed – only from different locations.
    **They were only watched after the game ***
    *** So any SIGINT on the Ravens’ signals would be from previous games,

  72. Bill needs to get off the aggressive deep throw after a turnover

    That was a staple of 1980’s football, and it used to work a good deal of the time.

    I like it. Try to catch them when they’re reeling. Even when everybody knows it’s coming, that makes it even more fun to watch.

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