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Third quarter: Patriots 24, Saints 21

08.12.10 at 9:46 pm ET

Some third-quarter highlights …

Devin McCourty started the second half with a 52-yard kickoff return. McCourty was a standout special teams player at Rutgers and could play a key role for that unit this season. A solid night to that point for the special teams, with big returns from Edelman and McCourty and a 35-yard FG from Gostkowski. McCourty would add another 51-yard kickoff return later in the quarter. With Edelman and McCourty the Patriots look to be in good shape in the return game.

–That initial McCourty return gave the Patriots a short field, and they took advantage with an eight-play, 45-yard TD drive to take a 24-7 lead. Brian Hoyer was sharp during the drive, completing both of his pass attempts for 33 yards.

–But it was Laurence Maroney — who had just one carry in the first half — scoring on the drive with a one-yard rush. Maroney was on the field for the entire TD drive, carrying the ball six times for 11 yards.

— The special teams took a giant step back on the ensuing kickoff, however, as Larry Beavers took the Gostkowski kick 97 yards for a score. A terrific return that saw the Delaware alum elude an Ellis tackle attempt at the 10-yard line before weaving toward the Saints sideline and beating a diving (why?) Gostkowski to break free for the TD to trim the lead to 24-14.

— Following a stallled four-play drive by the Patriots, the Saints added a TD on a four-play, 68-yard drive that took just 1:24. Patrick Ramsey connected with Adrian Arrington on a 51-yard pass play that was aided greatly by sloppy tackling from James Sanders and Jonathan Wilhite. That play took the Saints to the NE 17, and three plays later Chris Ivory found the end zone from two yards out. 24-21, Saints.

Zac Robinson got into the mix in the third quarter, completing both of his passes.

Taylor Price also played his first snaps of the night in the third quarter, but had no passes thrown his way. He also returned a punt for a yard.

— Seven carries in the quarter for Chris Taylor for 33 yards. The Patriots have carried the ball 29 times for 107 yards through three quarters.

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