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Halftime analysis: Patriots 20, Redskins 20

12.11.11 at 2:37 pm ET
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Two quarters are in the books at FedEx Field and the Patriots and Redskins are tied at 20. Here are a few quick notes:

‘€¢Tom Brady was 8-for-18 for 166 yards and a touchdown, while Rex Grossman was 9-for-15 for 145 yards and a touchdown. Rob Gronkowski has four catches for 118 yards and a touchdown, while Roy Helu has 16 carries for 80 yards.

‘€¢It was a very good first half for Gronkowski and a very bad half for Devin McCourty. The tight end set the record for most touchdown catches in a season for a tight end when he hauled in an 11-yarder from Brady in the first quarter. As for McCourty, he appeared to be culpable on several pass plays from Washington, including a 51-yard pass from Grossman to Donte Stallworth, and then later on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Grossman to Jabar Gaffney.

‘€¢The Patriots special teams set up the first touchdown of the afternoon when Zoltan Mesko delivered a booming punt that was downed at the Redskins four-yard line by Matthew Slater. Three plays later, Andre Carter delivered the strip sack on Grossman, who was standing in the end zone. The ball was scooped up in the end zone by Vince Wilfork to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead with 12:17 left in the first quarter.

‘€¢The 51-yard pass play from Grossman to Stallworth highlighted Washington’s next scoring drive. (McCourty also yielded a nine-yard pass play on the following play.) The Redskins stalled out in the red zone and had to settle for a 24-yard field goal to make it 7-3.

‘€¢When the Patriots got the ball back, it quickly became the Gronk Show. On the first pass play, Brady found him over the middle, and Gronkowski shed Reed Doughty and DeJon Gomes — both of whom were riding his back and legs — for a Mark Bavaroesque 49-yard gainer. He followed that up with an 11-yard touchdown reception on the next play to give the Patriots a 14-3 lead, and it was off to the races. It was Gronkowski’s 14th touchdown of the season, the most by a tight end.

‘€¢It was another ex-Patriots wide receiver who beat his old mates on Washington’s next drive. The Redskins put together an eight-play, 84-yard sequence that took 4:29 and ended with Grossman hitting Jabar Gaffney on a nine-yard pass play — where it appeared that McCourty was beaten again in coverage — to make it 14-10. The Redskins added to that at the start of the second. That’s when Washington dipped into its bag of tricks when wide receiver Brandon Banks hit Santana Moss on a 49-yard pass play that left the Patriots flat-footed to make it 17-14, Redskins.

‘€¢It was pretty much a field-goal festival the rest of the way: Stephen Gostkowski connected on a 23-yarder midway through the second to tie the game at 17. The Redskins’ Graham Gano answered with a field goal of their own after stalling out in the red zone to make it 20-17 with 2:13 left in the half. Gostkowski closed out the half with a 23-yarder to knot the game at 20 heading into the locker room.

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