Chip Kelly’s fast-paced, warp-speed offense changed college football.
Now it’s headed to the NFL.
Greg A. Bedard wrote a fantastic story in today’s Boston Globe detailing how the New England Patriots have adopted principles from Kelly’s Oregon offense, and how it has enabled them to become arguably the fastest offense the league has ever seen.
In Sunday’s 31-21 victory against the Broncos, New England ran 89 plays and set a franchise record with 35 first downs. Through five games, the Patriots are first in total offense (439 yards/game), first in points (33) and third in rushing (165 yards/game.)
The Pats are calling more plays this year than they have in previous years. They’re averaging a league-high 77.6 plays per game (81 over their last three), a full 10 plays more per game than roughly two-thirds of the league. Last year, the Pats ran 67.4 plays per game. The year before, they averaged 62.6, among the lowest.
How are they doing it? By replicating the type of communication efficiency that Kelly’s teams have mastered at Oregon.
Gone are the West Coast play calls like “Flip right, double-X jet, 36 counter, naked waggle, X-7, X-quarter.” Instead, the Patriots have six one-word calls at the ready for each game like “Bama.” The call details the team’s formation, blocking scheme, routes, shifts, snap counts, alerts and audibles. It says if the play is a run or pass, and the direction of the run. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has the ability to change plenty at the line of scrimmage.
On Sunday, Broncos players were stunned by how fast the Patriots played. New England ran 67 plays by the end of the third quarter and Denver’s defensive players seemed gassed over the last 15 minutes.
- Champ Bailey: “They just hit us in the mouth.”
- Chris Gronkowski: “That was fast. I don’t think I’ve seen anybody play that fast before…”
Since the start of 2011, the Patriots have been the league’s second-best over team. They’ve gone ‘over’ in 14 of 21 games, including a 3-2 mark this year.
We’ve noted repeatedly how long it took oddsmakers to make a proper adjustment on Oregon games (Kelly’s Ducks went ‘over’ the posted total in 17 of his first 21 home games), and one must wonder if we’ll see something similar in New England.
Pats totals averaged 50.2 points last year.
This year’s average? Just 47.6.