|08.20.09 at 9:01 pm ET|
FOXBOROUGH — The Patriots’ offense and Tom Brady (4-for-8, 57 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 1 sack) struggled to get any sort of consistency, as Brady came under heavy pressure when he was in there for roughly a quarter. His unquestioned highlight came when he hooked up with Wes Welker on a short bubble screen that ended up going for 32 yards. His low point? When Cincinnati defensive lineman Robert Geathers nearly killed him, beating right tackle Nick Kaczur easily and slamming Brady to the ground. A play that caused Gillette Stadium to go awful quiet.
•Patriots quarterback Kevin O’Connell is getting some good reps here in the second quarter, but was unable to manufacture any sort of sustained offense until New England went into a two-minute drill at the end of the half. On consecutive plays, he posted a 15-yard completion to Kevin Faulk, a 15-yard pass play to Joey Galloway and a 22-yard pass play to Faulk. (The drive finished with a 41-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski.) He ended the first half 5-for-10 for 69 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 0 sacks.
•It looks like the Patriots are staying true to what they said this week when it comes to different looks for the front seven, and are giving lots of different looks depending on the situation. New England is showing a mixture of 3-4 and 4-3 defensive looks, shifting from play to play, and getting good pressure on the Cincinnati quarterbacks. Jerod Mayo, Pierre Woods and Adalius Thomas had a sack each in the first half. (Darius Butler and Stephen Williams each had a half-sack.)
•The young defensive backs have looked good through the first two quarters. Cornerback Darius Butler had a nice breakup of a J.T. O’Sullivan pass for Andre Caldwell, and later came away with a half a sack. In addition, safety Brandon McGowan delivered a nice hit on Cincy’s Daniel Coats that jarred the ball loose and causes the fumble.
•However, it wasn’t always great news — Chad Ochocinco (who also kicked the extra point after the Cincinnati kicker suffered a mild injury) absolutely abused cornerback Terrence Wheatley, and the wide receiver delivered a great stiffarm on New England linebacker Bruschi as an exclamation point. Wheatley had a bad first half: he was also beaten by Chris Henry later in the second quarter on a 13-yard completion. In addition, he was in coverage for the 24-yard touchdown pass from O’Sullivan to Chris Henry. Another corner who struggled early was Shawn Springs, who swung and missed badly on an attempted tackle of Cincinnati running back Cedric Benson that ended up in a 13-yard gain for the Bengals.
|08.20.09 at 8:56 pm ET|
FOXBOROUGH — New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski just banged home a 41-yard field goal with 27 seconds left in the half, putting the exclamation point on a seven-play, 60-yard drive that took up 1:28 and made it 7-6, Cincy.
|08.20.09 at 8:51 pm ET|
FOXBOROUGH — Cincinnati got their first score of the night late in the second when J.T. O’Sullivan found Chris Henry on a 24-yard touchdown pass with 1:55 left in the half to make it 7-3. It put the capper on an eight-play, 47-yard drive that took up 3:27. Chad Ochocinco converted the extra point — Cincy’s kicker is being held out of the game as a precautionary measure.
|08.20.09 at 8:24 pm ET|
FOXBOROUGH — Most of New England’s second-team offense and defense are in the game, with the second-team offense taking over on he first drive of the second quarter, with the second-team defense set to start their first reps of the night with roughly 13 minutes left in the second.
|08.20.09 at 8:17 pm ET|
FOXBOROUGH — After roughly one quarter, Tom Brady is done for the night. He ends his evening 4-for-8 for 57 yards, with no TDs, no interceptions and one sack, with his biggest highlight coming on a 32-yard connection with Wes Welker. (The Patriots’ second offense is in the game, with the exception of running back Fred Taylor.) Kevin O’Connell has taken over the offense.
|08.20.09 at 7:51 pm ET|
FOXBOROUGH — A 32-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski with 8:58 left in the first quarter makes it 3-0, New England. Puts the capper on a 10-play, 57-yard drive that consumed 2:51, with the big play coming on a Brady to Wes Welker screen that went for 32 yards. Brady was 3-for-7 for 45 yards on his first action of the night, and faced some serious pressure from the Cincinnati defense.
|08.20.09 at 7:46 pm ET|
The Patriots’ offense opened in a four-wide receiver set with a single running back behind Tom Brady. Here’s how it looked:
WRs: Wes Welker, Randy Moss, Joey Galloway, Greg Lewis
RBs: Fred Taylor
QB: Tom Brady
OL: Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen, Stephen Neal, Nick Kaczur
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