No-huddle a possibility for Patriots

January 19, 2012|By Michael Whitmer | The Boston Globe

When the Patriots received the opening kickoff Saturday against the Broncos, it might have caught some fans off-guard, since it marked just the second time in 17 games New England opened on offense. Going no-huddle on the first series seemed to catch the Broncos off-guard, and showed how efficiently the Patriots can play an up-tempo game.

A team that had dug early holes the last three games of the regular season - deficits of 16-7 at Denver, 17-0 to Miami, and 21-0 to Buffalo - and talked for two weeks about getting off to a faster start needed just five plays and 1 minute, 51 seconds to set the tone with a touchdown.

The no-huddle also gives Sunday’s opponent in the AFC Championship, the Baltimore Ravens, something else to prepare for. The two best defensive players on the Ravens, linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed, are 36 and 33 years old, respectively, so a faster pace and the inability to substitute between plays could be worth a try.

“I think it just depends on the game and depends on the situation and depends on how we’re doing, what we’re having success with and what we need to do,’’ said receiver Wes Welker. “Whatever we have to do to move the ball.’’

Any drawbacks to a quicker tempo?
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