EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- One of the questions that came through on Twitter multiple times last night was in regard to Chad Ochocinco.
After making two catches in the first quarter (12 and 53 yards), and being integrated more into the offensive mix by playing 14 first-half snaps, where did he go in the second half? Ochocinco looked like he was on the cusp of a potential breakthrough but only played two snaps in the final 30 minutes.
From this perspective, the main thing that abruptly changed Ochocinco's role in the game was the Patriots' usage of the no-huddle/hurry-up offense.
That was a spark in the second half, and when the Patriots go to it like they did on back-to-back long touchdown drives in the third and fourth quarters, it's a package that features receivers Deion Branch and Wes Welker and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
Part of what makes that combination the best for the Patriots is the knowledge those players have of the Patriots' offense, which is something Ochocinco is still grasping.
There is usually little to no substituting in the no-huddle/hurry-up because the focus is on tempo and quickening the pace. Mostly because of that, Ochocinco went from on-field contributor in the first half to sideline spectator in the second half.
EXTRA POINT: Full offensive snap counts to come.