FOXBORO -- Tom Brady said recently that the Patriots have up to 1,000 designed pass plays, but they added another on Sunday against the Texans.
During his weekly "Belichick Breakdown," Patriots coach Bill Belichick highlighted one play in particular that his team didn't have drawn up going into their Week 3 matchup with Houston, crediting offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels with drawing it up during the game.
In the first quarter, on a second-and-10 play, against a Cover-4 look shown by the Texans, Chris Hogan ran a 10-yard out-route and caught Brady's pass for a first down. When it was misplayed by safety Andre Hal and Jonathan Joseph, Belichick said that McDaniels took note of the conversation the duo had immediately following the play.
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It looked to McDaniels like Hal wanted Joseph to switch onto Hogan when Hogan broke toward the sideline. That left Hal to take the other receiver on that side, Brandin Cooks, along the sideline.
"Josh McDaniels did a great job of picking this up and seeing this," Belichick said of the brief conversation between Hal and Joseph. "I think Hal was telling Joesph that the next time they do this, 'You're going to trap, I'm going over the top.' "
That gave McDaniels an opening to hit on an even bigger gain the next time they were given the same look.
Later in the game, the Patriots put Hogan in the slot again. Again, Brandin Cooks was on the outside. Again, the Texans were playing Cover-4.
This time, as soon as Hogan broke toward the sideline, the Texans defensive backs switched. Joseph looked to trap Hogan. Hal went over the top to take care of Cooks.
Instead of continuing his route to the boundary, Hogan broke back to the middle of the field . . . wide open. What resulted was a 47-yard touchdown.
"This is really a great coaching move by Josh and the offensive staff is to put in the out-and-go," Belichick said. "Here's Hal over the top. Here's Joseph trapping, but really nobody's on Hogan on the vertical route . . . Great job here by the players of making the adjustment because this is a play we didn't have. We put this in based on what they were doing."