According to an opposing coach, the New England offense played a hand in, well, slowing the New England offense.
ProFootballTalk.com points out that Arizona defensive coordinator Ray Horton is now saying that the Patriots were tipping their hand offensively on Sunday, and the Cardinals were able to exploit that.
"Everything that we did was based on what had they did last year and what we thought they were going to do and a lot of it we took them out of their game plan so they didn't do a ton of it," Horton told the Doug and Wolf Show on Arizona Sports 620. "[The plan] was to confuse Tom Brady, to come up with some things he hasn't seen before, because it is different."
The plan, which Horton said dates all the way back to draft week, was based on what kind of look the Patriots were giving the Cardinals. According to Horton, much of what they were able to read stemmed from what New England did with Aaron Hernandez.
"We let Tom Brady tell us what kind of defense we were going to play," Horton said. "What I mean by that is we had looked at them and given our players some fantastic keys. We'd call the defense in the huddle, but if New England came out like this, we were going to check to that because we knew they were going to run the ball. The players did a great job."
When Hernandez went down with an ankle injury, though, the Patriots featured more three-wide receiver sets.
"When Hernandez got hurt, it threw that gameplan out the window. We knew that whenever Hernandez was in tight, it was going to be a run. So we had a run check. But when he got hurt, it screwed that up because they went to three wide receivers. What they did, and we figured out real quick, was whenever Tom Brady was under the center they were going to run the ball and whenever he was in the shotgun he was going to pass the ball.
"We told our players, make the run check if Tom Brady is under the center. If he's in the gun, go to the pass check. They handled it beautifully. We had dual calls and what we were telling them was that we knew when they were going to run and pass. Our players put us in the best position to win the game. They did a flawless job of managing the game of getting inside New England's head."
Horton's observations, instincts and suspicions were all confirmed, supposedly, by a postgame conversation taking place between Brady and Cardinals kicker Jay Feely.
"I heard through Jay Feely that he talked to Tom Brady after the game and Tom said, 'I have no idea what you guys are doing', and so it did work," Horton told the radio program.
The Patriots had the edge in total yards and time of possession on Sunday, but were only able to find the end zone once.