You might believe it's business as usual for the New England Patriots' high-octane offense this season, but the unit has undergone a subtle philosophical shift.
Maybe it's not that subtle. The Patriots are running the ball far more often, and with more success, then a season ago. The Pats are fifth in the NFL in rushing, averaging 146 yards per game on 34 attempts. By comparison, the Patriots were 20th in the league last year, averaging just 110 yards on 27 carries.
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"That's important -- we're running it efficiently; Steven (Ridley) had a great year, Shane (Vereen) made plays, Danny (Woodhead) made plays, Brandon (Bolden) made plays for the 10 minutes he's been in there," Brady said. "Running the ball has saved us in a lot of games."
"Every time you take the field you're trying to score. I don't think you're taking the field, saying we're gonna take four minutes off the clock and punt it to the other team.
"There hasn't been too many times where I thought, 'Wow, they schemed us up on that one.' It's usually a mistake we made that leads to them to making a play."
With most teams, comments like this can be written off as too optimistic, or even absurd. But with the Patriots, it doesn't seem quite so far-fetched.