We're kicking off a new feature here on Patriots.com in which we'll use Tuesday mornings to take a look back at some aspect of the previous weekend's game. We'll focus on some play, call, player, issue or other aspect of the game that may have been overlooked in the first wave of coverage. The idea is to shed some new light on an area that didn't get its due coverage the first time around.
Today, we'll take a second look at the conclusion of the Patriots big 35-21 win over the Chargers. In particular, the team's use of four-minute offense to run the clock and the game out on San Diego.
Philip Rivers hit Vincent Jackson for a 26-yard touchdown to pull the visitors to within 28-21 with just less than six minutes to play. After the ensuing kickoff New England took over on its own 20-yard line with exactly 5:40 to play in the game.
The goal of this final drive was clear - to run the clock down on the game while keeping Rivers off the field and eliminating any chance of a Chargers comeback.
For those of you that aren't familiar with the term, that's what four-minute offense is all about. It's kind of the opposite of the two-minute offense. It's about holding onto the ball, running out the clock, maintaining the lead and winning the game.
Offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien sent in extra tight end/tackle Nate Solder. He proceeded to call six running plays for BenJarvus Green-Ellis on a nine-play scoring drive that culminated with the back's 16-yard touchdown.
Sure there were three passes in the drive, including a 29-yard completion to Rob Gronkowski. But for the most part it was about the Patriots lining up and running the ball when the Chargers knew they wanted to line up and run the ball. The offensive line got the job done. Green-Ellis got the job done. Heck, if anything the drive took a little less time off the clock - 3:46 - than would normally be considered ideal.
But it cut the clock, added to the lead and closed the door on Norv Turner's team. It's what very good football teams do in that situation. And despite once again throwing for more than 400 yards on the day, New England was able to close the door with a four-minute march that was fueled by the running game.
That's impressive. It's a good sign for things to come. And in light of all the yards and big plays on offense as well as the key turnover and big plays on defense, the final drive may not have gotten the credit it deserved in the fury of postgame coverage.
That's what Take Two-sday is all about!
What did you think flew under the radar in the Patriots big win Sunday evening at Gillette? Tracy White's big hit on the kickoff after the Green-Ellis touchdown? Solder's work at tight end? Let us know with a comment to help us celebrate Take Two-sday!