A look at the positional groupings utilized by the Patriots in their 30-10 loss to the Chargers:
ANALYSIS: In searching for matchups they liked, the Patriots had the most success by going to the 2 WR/1 TE/1 FB/1 RB package at the start of the second half, and using it with an “empty” formation as QB Matt Cassel was alone behind center in the shotgun. They had that grouping on for eight straight plays – working against the Chargers’ nickel – and chewed up yardage quickly to set up the key stretch of plays in the game, the four plays from the 1 and 2 yard-line. Cassel was intercepted out of that grouping on the team's second series of the third quarter. … The 3 TE/1 FB/1 RB package, with Mike Vrabel as the third tight end, was on the field for all four plays that couldn’t punch it into the end zone. The Patriots might have considered using OL Russ Hochstein as a fullback to get a bit heavier, but with Hochstein as the lone reserve lineman at that point because of Nick Kaczur’s right ankle injury, they stayed with Heath Evans. … Of the 33 snaps in the base 3 WR/1 TE/1 RB package, 22 came on the final three drives when the Patriots were facing a 20-plus point deficit.
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