The short answer to that question is, they won't. Tom Brady is going to get his yards, the key is to limit the damage as much as possible. Before getting into how they will accomplish this let's take a look at some tendencies and numbers. I studied three of their games from this season, Seattle, Indianapolis, and Miami. I chose these three for the fact that 1 was a loss, 1 was a blowout win, and 1 was a close win, a nice cross section of their year so far.
The Patriots offense operates primarily out of 2 sets, Shotgun with 11 personnel (1RB 1TE), and 12 personnel (1RB 2TE) with Brady taking the snap from under the center. Let's take a look by game at their use of these packages.
From the Shotgun 11 personnel, the Patriots will use the wide receiver screen as their outside run game from this personnel grouping. The running game is limited to between the tackles, primarily on draws and quick inside traps. From the 12 personnel, the Patriots primarily will look to run, with downfield play action passing. The passing calls are primarily for deeper routes, TE wheel, Dig, Flood type concepts.
- Against Seattle Brady threw the ball 50 times out of this personnel group.
- Brady threw 12 of those 50 deeper than 10 yards, and he was 7-12 with 1 TD and 1 Int.
- Brady completed 24-38 of the remaining throws under 10 yards and appeared to be targeting Browner in coverage as 17 of those went to the left side and Brady was 14-17. Included in those throws are 4 passes that are a combination of wide receiver screens and rb screens.
- He was also 7-14 with 1 int on passes over the middle and 3-7 on passes to the right.
- They ran the ball a total of 7 times from this package.
- Against Indianapolis Brady threw the ball 20 times from this package.
- Brady threw only 3 of those deeper than 10 yards and was 3-3.
- Brady completed 11-17 of the remaining throws under 10 yards, primarily over the middle and to the right. 5 of those 17 were wide receiver/rb screens.
- They ran the ball a total of 1 time from this package.
- Against Miami they threw the ball 32 times from this package.
- Brady threw only 7 of those 32 deeper than 10 yards, and he was 2-7 on those.
- Brady completed 19-25 of the remaining throws under 10 yards and was only 3-6 on passes to the left side. (4-6 under 10 over middle, and 12-13 under 10 to right side)