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Patriots added 8 new plays on morning of AFC title game, and one played a huge role in their win

Tom Brady’s third-and-10 inside slant to Rob Gronkowski in overtime had not been practiced ahead of the game.

Tom Brady credited Josh McDaniels as having added one of their key plays on the morning of their AFC Championship win at the Kansas City Chiefs.
Tom Brady credited Josh McDaniels as having added one of their key plays on the morning of their AFC Championship win at the Kansas City Chiefs.

ONE OF THE New England Patriots’ greatest traits is their adaptability.

For nearly 20 years, Bill Belichick has morphed his team week to week to exploit weaknesses in opponents. The Patriots’ primary identity is that they assume the identity of what their opponents cannot stop.

According to NBC’s Peter King, the Patriots once again showed off their flexibility during their win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship.

Elise Amendola/APKing reported that on the morning of the game, during their pre-game meeting at the team hotel, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels added eight new plays to the playbook that the team hadn’t practiced.

According to King, the team sometimes adds new plays on game day, but it’s not a weekly occurrence, and not as many as eight at once.

One of those plays became a game-changing moment.

In overtime, on third-and-10, Tom Brady found Rob Gronkowski on an inside slant that set up first-and-10 on the Chiefs’ 15-yard line.

The play itself wasn’t spectacular, but according to King, that inside slant was one of the new plays, and it happened because McDaniels and the coaching staff identified a weakness in the Chiefs’ coverage of Gronkowski.

According to King, two Patriots players were surprised to hear Brady call that play “because it wasn’t on the playsheet, hadn’t been practised all week, and, as one said, ‘I don’t know when’s the last time we ran it.’”

Here was the play:

The Patriots had already converted two third-and-long plays in the overtime drive.

Failing to do so on that pass to Gronkowski likely means they would have had to settle for a field goal.

If they went for the field goal, it would have meant Patrick Mahomes, and the Chiefs offence retook the field with a chance to win the game.

Brady told King that the continuity within the Patriots is one of their most significant advantages.

“Great call by Josh [McDaniels],” Brady said.

You know, Josh, what he’s formulated for us is huge. He puts in endless hours just to find little scheme things for us. Like those plays, we put in this morning.

“The continuity here has been so important. Dante Scarnecchia, on the offensive line; Ivan Fears, with the running backs; Josh, making it all work.”

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