Ray Horton Thought Tom Brady Was Tipping Plays, But The Stats Say Otherwise

Sep 16, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) takes the snap during the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

No wonder the Cardinals defense played so well last Sunday against the Patriots.

According to Ray Horton, the defensive coordinator for the Cardinals, Tom Brady was tipping his team's plays based on the formations they came out in. If he was under center, Horton believed that the Patriots were going to run the ball every time. If in shotgun, he would pass it.

But upon further analysis from Mike Reiss of ESPN, that simply wasn't the case at all. More after the jump.

Here is what Horton said about the whole ordeal, via Reiss:

"We told our players, make the run check if Tom Brady is under the center. If he's in the gun, go to the pass check. They handled it beautifully. We had dual calls and what we were telling them was that we knew when they were going to run and pass. Our players put us in the best position to win the game. They did a flawless job of managing the game of getting inside New England's head."

Personally, I had not noticed this while watching the game. But then again, I may not have noticed it because it is a standard thing. When the tight ends are both in tight, that usually means the team is going to run the ball, providing extra run blockers. Not always, but most of the time.

The thing is, statistics show that Horton may have been hallucinating. Here are the stats from the end of the third quarter, when the Cardinals were up 13-9. With only a four point differential and plenty of time left in the game, New England was not yet forced into a strictly passing diet.

Shotgun
Runs: 7
Passes: 18

Under center
Runs: 17
Passes: 11

While it is skewed towards the way Horton believed it to be, there is no evidence to support his claims. Teams tend to pass the ball more out of a shotgun formation. Nothing tipped that off, that's just standard.

So while I don't agree with Horton's analysis (Reiss' breakdown makes more sense), I can see where he is coming from. If his defense is able to read plays well enough to stop Tom Brady from scoring, then they must have done something right.

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