|09.14.09 at 8:45 pm ET|
FOXBOROUGH — A few thoughts after two quarters of football here at Gillette Stadium:
•Tom Brady has been under serious pressure throughout the first half — he’s 13-for-22 for 159 yards and one interception. He was sacked once by Aaron Schobel, his archnemesis (no one has sacked him more, not even Jason Taylor). In addition, Schobel also picked off a pass and ran it back for a touchdown. The Patriots have used an extra offensive lineman — Matt Light has lined up at tight end and Sebastian Vollmer has lined up at left tackle — and two tight end sets on numerous occasions, but have still had problems blunting the Buffalo pass rush.
•The Patriots were able to put together their first sustained offensive sequence of the night midway through the second quarter, when Brady helped engineer a 14-play, 72-yard drive that consumed 7:12 and culminated with a one-yard touchdown run from Fred Taylor (9 rushes, 25 yards), his first score in a Patriots uniform, to make it 7-7. But as a whole, it was an inauspicious start for the New England offense — Randy Moss (3 catches, 67 yards) and Wes Welker (4 catches, 41 yards) both had drops in the first quarter, while a 41-yard miss by Stephen Gostkowski was a surprise. (He later redeemed himself with a 20-yard field goal right before the end of the half.)
•Middle linebacker Jerod Mayo went down with just under five minutes to go in the first quarter. It appeared the New England support staff was working on his right knee as he lay on the ground. After a few minutes, Mayo got up and walked off under his own power, but he was helped to the locker room shortly after that. He was not seen on the sidelines for the rest of the first half, and the Patriots said his return was classified as “questionable.” In his place, New England has used large doses of Gary Guyton at middle linebacker.
•The defense has done a nice job holding the Buffalo offense in check — they have just one offensive touchdown, a first-quarter pass from Trent Edwards to Buffalo tight end Shawn Nelson.
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