Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No time, no chance

Check out Tuesday's Union Leader for a look at how the pressure brought by Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis forced the Patriots to speed up their tempo in the second half -- and the part the pressure played in the game-changing fourth-and-2 stop.

According to unofficial stopwatch work done by this reporter, Brady averaged 2.33 seconds between the snap and the release of the ball on his six drop-backs in the first quarter. He averaged 1.76 seconds from snap to release on his 12 drop-backs in the fourth quarter.

Even when the Patriots went to the play-action in the fourth quarter, they did so with short passes in mind -- two screen passes to Wes Welker and a short completion to Welker in the flat.

Brady held the ball for 3.4 seconds -- again, obviously, an unofficial number -- when he hit Randy Moss for a deep pass to set up the Patriots' first touchdown in the first quarter.

That was a luxury he didn't have in the fourth quarter. He held the ball for 1.8 seconds on the third-down incompletion in the direction of Welker, and he held the ball for 1.4 seconds on the fourth-down pass to Faulk that came up short of the yellow line.

If he'd held the ball for any longer, though, he'd have been drilled -- keep an eye on Freeney at the top of the screen during the game's decisive play.

No time. No chance.

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