Remember that series in the beginning of the third quarter of Sunday’s blowout win over the Bears when the Patriots offense spread it out and went no-huddle?
When Tom Brady just put his foot down on the accelerator, even though the Pats were up by 31 points?
That was reminiscent of two years ago, when the Patriots ran their no-huddle like no other team in the NFL, and completely controlled an opponent.
For starters, controlling tempo and pace will help negate both the Broncos’ pass rush as well as the newfound speed of their defense. It should also serve as a way to gas the man they call “Pot Roast,” as 6-foot-3, 335-pound defensive lineman Terrance Knighton will have a tough time keeping up if all goes according to plan.
The average NFL game is three hours 10 minutes long. There is 11 minutes of action while the other 49 is spent standing around waiting to get into formation. Imagine if our military took that long to get lined up? "Drop and give me a 100."
The last time the Patriots really worried what the opposition would do if they got the ball was November 15, 2009 in Indianapolis. A 34-21 lead with four minutes 12 seconds to play became 34-28 with two minutes 23 seconds to go on a four yard run by Colts RB Joseph Addai. Faced with a 4th and 2 from the New England 28 yard line, QB Tom Brady's completed pass to RB Kevin Faulk fell just inches shy of a first down.
Four plays later, a one yard pass from Peyton Manning to WR Reggie Wayne tied the score with 13 seconds left. Kicker Matt Stover, filling in for Adam Vinatieri, made the extra point, and a 35-34 final. The press conference following the game was worth staying up for.
The downside to the uptempo does not exceed the advantages. The offense provides the defense with actual or false perceived plays or formations before the ball is snapped. It is a game of "cat and mouse." It worked in Buffalo in 1991-1994 when the Bills reached the Super Bowl four times. It stands to reason the process can be duplicated by Tom Brady.
The Buffalo Bills with Trent Edwards, ran the no-huddle style offense in the 2009 season. It was scratched mid way through the season due to the lack of efficient personnel. It might have been different if QB Jim Kelly were at the helm.
Time of possession doesn't determine the outcome of the game. The New York Jets currently rank 10th in this category while Denver is 15th, the Patriots 19th, the Packers 24th and the Eagles 31st. Last year, Pittsburgh was number one and they didn't make the playoffs, again.
The Patriots biggest concern should be what they do well, not what Peyton Manning might do. We already know the answer to that.
Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.