In their dramatic 2015 Playoff Win vs. the Baltimore Ravens, the New England Patriots used a trio of Innovative A-11 Offense plays to obtain nice gains, and in the process managed to further push the game of pro football into the future.
Utilizing the A-11 Offense at the Pro Level to Win NFL Playoff Games:
On Three Separate Successful Plays in the second half of their game vs. the physically superior Baltimore Ravens defense, and after having fallen behind by 14-points to the Ravens, the New England Patriots Needed to try something new with their own team, and they employed some innovative and strategic A-11 Offense by using 6 (six) Eligible-Numbered POTENTIAL Receivers on three Plays - instead of the normal amount of only 5 receivers and a Quarterback.
The Patriots had QB Tom Brady set up in the Shotgun formation in those Six-Receiver sets. The Patriots then coyly aligned the 6 Potentially Eligible Receivers in such a way as to confuse the Ravens' defenders Before the snap...in terms of WHICH 5 of the 6 (six) Receivers WOULD be Eligible to Go Downfield to Potentially Catch a Forward Pass on those Three plays.
New England Patriots, Superstar Quarterback, Tom Brady said, "It was a play that we liked and we thought would work. We had a couple versions of it. It's kind of an alert play for our team and we made them figure out what to do. I think that's what it looked like to me. We had to execute it, we had to make the appropriate calls and block it, and make the plays, and I was proud of us. That was a good weapon for us. That's part of football. You have to prepare for everything."
Brady also said, “Maybe those guys gotta study the rule book and figure it out,” he contindued, "We obviously knew what we were doing and we made some pretty important plays. Maybe we’ll have something in store next week.”
“I don’t know what’s deceiving about that,” he added. “They should figure it out.”
1. The Patriots had All Six of the POTENTIALLY Eligible Receivers Align Near the Line of Scrimmage
2. The Patriots technically had a Double Trips Look of Receivers set on each side of the Center BEFORE the Snap
3. However, the Patriots Keenly used a Basic A-11 Offense Concept to Correctly and Smartly Allow No More than 5 Eligible Receivers to then Proceed downfield after the Snap
4. The "covered up" Ineligible Receiver (Circled Above and Shown Below) is aligned on the Line of Scrimmage in the Slot to the Right side of the formation. Eligible-numbered Players aligned in this type of formation are called "Anchors."
5. An Anchor is a Game-Breaker type of athlete set up as an Ineligible player on a certain play. An Anchor Cannot catch a Forward Pass, but an Anchor Can touch the football via taking a Handoff, catching a Negative Hitch or Backward Pass behind the Line of Scrimmage, and/or catching a Pitch Out. On this particular play, the Anchor simply Retreated into the backfield as a Decoy after the snap, while other Eligible Receivers ran their routes accordingly
a. NFL rule 5.3.1 states that “an offensive player wearing the number of an eligible pass receiver is permitted to line up in the position of an ineligible pass receiver, provided that he immediately reports the change in his eligibility status to the Referee, who will inform the defensive team.”
b. New England Patriots Head Coach, Bill Belichick explained, “It’s a play that we thought would work. We had six eligible receivers on the field, but only five were eligible. The one who was ineligible reported that he was ineligible. No different than on the punt team or a situation like that.”
A smart and innovative A-11 Offense approach by the New England Patriots to help them win a very important game.