|Second-quarter notes: Patriots 16, Jets 10||10.21.12 at 5:56 pm ET|
FOXBORO — We are at the half here at Gillette Stadium — here are a few second-quarter notes on one of the stranger games we have seen here in recent memory:
•The Patriots hold a lead, but have still left a lot of points out on the field through the first two quarters. The Jets had a safety, an ill-timed penalty that gave the ball back to New England and a turnover (a pick by rookie Alfonzo Dennard on a horribly thrown ball by Mark Sanchez), but are still only up 16-10.
•The second quarter started nicely for New England, as Vince Wilfork was able to create disruption in the New York backfield — meanwhile, the Jets botched a handoff deep in their own territory for Shonn Greene. After the ball squirted loose, Mark Sanchez kicked it out of the back of the end zone for a safety, giving the Patriots a 16-7 lead. (It was the Patriots’ first safety since 2006.)
•Defensively, the Patriots gave the Jets a little bit of a shakeup, moving to a 3-4 look on several occasions in the second. One of the highlights of the changing looks was the sight of Wilfork moving around to multiple spots on the defensive front. The defensive highlight of the quarter came midway through when Dennard camped under a Sanchez floater, picking off the ball at the New England two-yard line and bringing a New York drive to an end. It was an awful pass by Sanchez, who could have/should have zipped the ball in to Stephen Hill — if he did that, it would have been a New York touchdown.
•Some of the other defensive wrinkles the Patriots presented in the second quarter included the return of linebacker Dont’a Hightower to the regular rotation at linebacker (it marked his first regular action since he went down with a hamstring injury against Buffalo), as well as the continued use (mostly) of Devin McCourty and Tavon Wilson at safety. Jermaine Cunningham also continued to get good reps as part of the front seven.
•The Jets were able to put together a short drive at the end of the first half — a 12-play, 59-yard drive that took 3:41 and ended when Nick Folk banged home a 54-yarder with two seconds left in the first half.
•The Patriots got a gift midway through the quarter — they were forced to punt on the drive following Dennard’s touchdown, but a facemask call on the Jets gave the ball back to New England. The Patriots couldn’t make New York pay, however, as they punted four plays later — much to the consternation of the New England fans, who were booing when the punt team came onto the field when it was 4th and two.
•Linebacker Jerod Mayo appeared to suffer some sort of left arm/wrist/shoulder injury just before the end of the half. In addition, special teamer Matthew Slater limped off after New England’s first punt of the second quarter.
•After going the first quarter without a target, Wes Welker had his first reception of the game when he pulled in a 16-yarder on New England’s first drive of the second quarter.
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