|First quarter recap: Seahawks 10, Patriots 7||10.14.12 at 4:46 pm ET|
Some first-quarter notes……
•Danny Woodhead worked as the primary kick returner for the Patriots. (That job had gone to Devin McCourty in recent weeks.)
•After there were questions earlier in the week about the health of the Patriots’ starting offensive line, both right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and left guard Logan Mankins got the start for New England. The Patriots got tight end Aaron Hernandez early when he hauled in an eight-yard catch on the first play from scrimmage for New England. (Hernandez also made a nice catch over the middle on a 3rd down situation midway through the first quarter.)
•Offensively, the highlight came in a 46-yard touchdown connection from Tom Brady to Wes Welker on a sweet route that appeared to head down the seam — Welker had a step on the defender, and Brady put it in a place where only Welker could catch it. It capped off a six-play, 82-yard drive that took 1:46 and ended with the Brady to Welker connection to give New England a 7-3 lead. The 46-yarder was the second longest TD reception of Welker’s career, trailing only the 99-yarder in last year’s opener. In addition, it was the first first-quarter touchdown allowed by the Seahawks.
•With the injury to linebacker Dont’a Hightower, the Patriots have shuffled things about when it comes to their front seven. Jermaine Cunningham started at left defensive end, with Rob Ninkovich moving to strong side linebacker — Hightower’s old spot. Ninkovich was able to build on his strong performance of the last two weeks with a strong performance in the first quarter.
•Defensively, the best moment came when Brandon Spikes met Marshawn Lynch in the hole, knocking him back two yards on a 3rd and 1 play, forcing a Seattle field goal. The Seahawks converted their first scoring opportunity of the game on the next play when Steven Hauschka knocked home a 34-yard field goal with 7:35 left in the first quarter, but Spikes’ hit played a big part in making sure the Seahawks were limited to three instead of a potential seven points.
•The defensive low points? Likely when Russell Wilson hit on a 50-yarder down the middle to wide receiver Doug Wilson, beating Kyle Arrington in man coverage. (In addition, on the same drive, linebacker Jerod Mayo swung and missed on a tackle attempt that would have brought Wilson down shy of the first down marker on a third-down rushing attempt. Wilson’s scrambling on that play brought to mind memories of Doug Flutie, as he managed to keep a play alive with his feet.) Later on the same drive, Wilson and Baldwin hooked up on a 24-yard pass and throw for a touchdown at Arrington’s expense. It was the first first-quarter touchdown of the season allowed by the Patriots.
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