FOXBOROUGH -- Why have Patriots been so successful running the ball as of late? Anyone who has watched the games can tell you Sony Michel, James White and Rex Burkhead have powered New England to the cusp of another Super Bowl title. But after rewatching every offensive snap this year, there are four things that jump out:
1. Simply put, the Patriots have done an excellent job taking what has been given to them from a personnel standpoint. The last four games, New England has done well when it comes to picking up yardage in the run game against lighter fronts. Whether it’s a scheme decision to put a priority on stopping the passing game, injury, or simple lack of execution, opposing coaches have run a lot of nickel and dime against the Patriots, and they’ve recognized and adjusted, and spent plenty of time punishing opposing defensive backs on the second and third level.
Overall, the last four games (the two playoff games and the final two regular season games of the year), the Patriots have run the ball a total of 77 times against defensive schemes with five, six or seven defensive backs, and they’ve averaged