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What Mac Jones can learn from Bailey Zappe’s breakout at Cleveland – Boston Herald



In a fever state, it’s easy to forget the details.

Namely, playing through Bailey Zappe was actually Plan C on Sunday.

The Patriots game-planned to bully and fool the Browns, whose defense is both undersized and overaggressive. Initially, they failed.

Running the ball behind six offensive linemen inspired only a 1.6 yards per carry average through three quarters and a surge of goal-line courage from Cleveland. The Browns halted the Patriots’ opening drive with two run stuffs at the 1-yard line before surviving a play-action pass on third down. During and after that possession, the Pats emptied most of their misdirection clip.

Matt Patricia called a season-high six screens, including two on his first series. He dialed up multiple end-arounds and reverse pivot hand-offs on under-center runs to catch Cleveland out of position. (On those plays, Zappe stepped back in the opposite direction of the run before turning 180 degrees to hand the ball to Rhamondre Stevenson.)

Yet all that deception and planning produced midway through the second quarter was just a 3-3 tie. So, Patricia pivoted from Plans A and B to Zappe.

He called four straight passes to open the Patriots’ next possession, all completions that totaled 48 yards. The Pats eventually scored on another tendency breaker, with Stevenson rushing 31 yards to the end zone on their first shotgun run of the game.





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