Schultz: Patriots use speed, no-huddle to beat Broncos

Chris Schultz
10/10/2012 10:38:02 AM
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One of the most boring games of football I saw in many a year was in Week 2, at the Monday night game between Denver and Atlanta.

Yes, the ineffective referee calls and action had a lot to do with it, but still, it was not a good game.

One of the most exciting, interesting and well played games I saw in many a year was New England's 31-21 win over Denver this past Sunday. Both teams ran a lot of the no-huddle offence and ran it well - especially the Patriots. I don't think I have ever seen a team run as many plays at the pace they did over and over and over again.

From just a pure viewership point of view the game kept your attention with ease, and as a football fan I wish every game had a similar pace to it.

Perhaps, because it is my job, I watch a lot of football. I take notes; I listen to comments and commentators with interest and intensity. I try to isolate myself and watch the games alone when I can, not because I am weird, more due to the fact that it helps me concentrate. And by doing so and through natural repetition I know when each commercial is coming and when each commercial is going to be done. I have it down to such an exact science that when hungry, I have developed a mastery of time and food and what I can and can't have within the commercial time available.

My point being that I wish all offences would be run the way the Patriots and Broncos ran theirs. Great pace, excellent sequence of play and a skill level that was easily respected. Because it is not easy. Trying to run a fast-paced offence in the NFL is a balance between keeping it simple so your players can understand what the expectations are, and keeping it complex so the opposition does not understand what the expectations are.

But when mastered the way the Patriots did last Sunday, it is a joy to watch. There was a time that the only time a "no-huddle" offence was used was when there was two minutes left in the half, or to win a game when time is the issue. Now it is used as a change of pace or to increase the pace and wear down a defence.

Sometimes statistics tell an accurate story. Against the Bronco defence, the Patriots had 34 first downs to 21 for Manning's offence. New England ran the ball for 251 yards to Denver's 70, and won time of possession 35:49 to 24:11.

With a very good Seattle team this week, can they do it again? I tend to think so as it is the second week in a row that the Patriots have dominated play calling, having had almost identical success on the road previously in Buffalo.

It is true that success in football often is about finding out what works from a good opponent and then doing it yourself. The only unknown being if you have the personnel to duplicate what others have mastered. I look forward to the day that every NFL team tries to run an offence the way New England did in their 31-21 win over Denver. That was fun to watch.


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