When someone says “flip the switch,” it means going from a state of not functioning to a state of functioning at full capacity.
Can it be said that the 2012 New England Patriots have “flipped the switch”?
It took the entire first half of the Buffalo game to get there, but if we look at the six straight touchdown drives in the second half and the ease with which they did it, it’s safe to say the “switch has been flipped”.
Analyze the game—Belichick, Brady and Co. definitely flipped that switch at halftime.
Much has been said about the Pats' ability to stop an offense late in the game if the score is close. The antidote to situations like that is to simply bury a team before it gets to that point.
The NFL is a league of momentum. Towards the end of all of the close games the Patriots have lost this season, they haven’t had an answer for the opposing teams' momentum.
This game: no need.
Something dramatically changed last Sunday.
While the Bills have won just one game in the last 19 vs. the Patriots, it is still an NFL team with NFL players. The Bills boast a solid front seven, with the front four being the core of the entire team.
So, this team is not a D-III team from upstate New York—it has high-caliber players who could start on other teams.
Let’s not discredit this win by saying it was only against the Bills, as with momentum in hand the Patriots can attack the rest of their opponents this season with some vigor.
Starting in the second half of the Bills game, here are the results of their drives: Punt, TD, TD, TD, TD, TD, TD, FG.
What is most impressive about the drives is how they did it. The average TD drive was 55 yards, so not exactly a short field. It took about six plays to score which means they ate up huge chunks of yardage each play. The average play was 9.4 yards. That is plays, not just completions, that is the average play.
If a team is averaging that kind of yardage and results per play, there's no way a team can keep up with that kind of production. That doesn't even include how the defense played, causing eight turnovers.
This team is designed to play ahead of teams and outscore them. If the defense can break serve a couple of times a game, then the offense should do its part by scoring nearly every time it touches the ball.
If the switch has been flipped, then we should continue to see this kind of output regardless of the opponent. In the offensive line, we can expect to see 100-yard rushers each week, and if things go really well, two 100-yard rushers.
When it comes to the receiving corps, we should see two 100-yard receivers and a minimum of two touchdowns. And, if the switch has been flipped for Tom Brady, we should continue to see 300 yards passing, three touchdowns and no picks.
The defense was solid but not great, three sacks, four tackles for loss and only allowing 98 yards rushing. It should be said that this defense is opportunistic rather than stout.
Anytime you can force a lot of turnovers and put points on the board from those turnovers, you are setting yourself up to win games. So, if the switch has been flipped for the defense, we will see 250-300 yards passing (playing from behind you will automatically throw more), less than 100 yards rushing, and two turnovers.
That's how the Patriots should look with the “switch flipped.”