Patriots use element of surprise in Super Bowl pursuit

Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:13pm EST
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - "Just win, baby" was the famed motto of late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis during his team's heyday, but Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo thinks Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have gone too far.

Ayanbadejo believes the Patriots, one win away from a second consecutive Super Bowl berth, are hitting below the belt with the way they run their hurry-up offense.

"New England does some suspect stuff on offense. Can't really respect it. Comparable to a cheap shot b4 a fight," he tweeted during New England's 41-28 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday that sets up an AFC title rematch with the Ravens.

The hurry-up, or no-huddle offense, has been around for a while, but Ayanbadejo emphasized with a Houston defense caught out of position and in confusion when Brady quickly ran a play.

"Are you watching the game pats vs Texans?" Ayanbadejo tweeted. "If so you see the hurry snap offense catch em b4 they set up. It's a gimmick."

But all is fair within the rules of the gridiron, however, and Ayanbadejo's complaint is akin to a tight end moaning about a disguised defense showing a blitz formation before dropping back into zone pass coverage.

Shame on Houston for not being ready and credit the Pats, who have cleverly retooled and thrived over a remarkable run that could bring them a sixth trip to the Super Bowl in the 12 years since the partnership of coach Belichick and Brady.

The big surprise of Sunday's contest was how the Patriots made up for injuries during the game to key offensive players Rob Gronkowski and Danny Woodhead as third-string running back Shane Vereen scored three touchdowns to tame the Texans.   Continued...

U.S Senator and Nominee for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) (D-Massachusetts) stands on the sidelines with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft before the NFL AFC Divisional playoff football game between the Patriots and the Houston Texans in Foxborough, Massachusets January 13, 2013. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi