Injuries to tight end Matt LaCosse and fullback Jakob Johnson forced the New England Patriots to use just a single personnel grouping for most of the second half of Thursday night’s win over the New York Giants.
“We were down to one (personnel) grouping the whole second half,” head coach Bill Belichick said.
On a night where several Patriots players were banged up, the injuries to LaCosse and Johnson left New England without a fullback and just a lone healthy tight end. That forced New England to use different variations of “11” personnel for the remainder of the game, which stands for one running back, one tight end and three wide receivers. Gordon was also out with an injury as well so the three wide recievers were easy to predict as they basically played every offensive play of the second half.
“Got kind of forced into one grouping there in the second half. I don’t think that’s ever happened in 20 years,” quarterback Tom Brady said.
The Patriots still had more than one running back at their disposal and more that three wide receivers to substitute in and out, but the grouping itself was pretty fixed because of LaCosse and Johnson being unavailable. Izzo also lined up at fullback occasionally to give the Patriots some variability to their looks.
Despite being shorthanded, the Patriots still managed to amass 199 yards of offense in the second half. All four second half possessions resulted in drives inside the Giants’ 35-yard line, though a missed field goal, turnover on downs and the end of the game meant only one of those drives resulted in points.
“I thought Josh (McDaniels) and the offensive staff did a great job of managing the game,” Belichick said.
LaCosse left the game with a knee injury while Johnson was sidelined with a shoulder injury. Johnson went on IR today.