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Second-quarter notes: Patriots 28, Rams 7

10.28.12 at 2:34 pm ET
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We’re at the half at Wembley, and the Patriots hold a 28-7 lead. Here are a few quick notes:

•The Patriots opened the second quarter by finishing off a drive with a one-yard plunge — on 4th and goal — from Shane Vereen for a touchdown that made it 14-7 with 14:16 left in the half. The drive went 83 yards on nine plays, and was highlighted by a 20-yard run by Stevan Ridley, which was followed up by a 25-yard catch by Rob Gronkowski.

•With Kyle Arrington out because of a head injury, the Patriots bumped all their corners up the depth chart, as Sterling Moore got regular reps as a starter, while Marquice Cole became (mostly) a nickel corner. On the Rams’ first drive of the second quarter, the Patriots’ defense maneuvered the Rams’ into 3rd and long — thanks to a great play made by Vince Wilfork, who dropped into coverage and made a tackle for loss on a pass play. New England followed that up with a stop on third down (on a disputed play that was nearly ruled a fumble, thanks to Cole) to force another St. Louis punt.

•Through the first half, the Patriots’ defense has done a good job generating pressure. Part of that is because the Rams’ offensive line is pretty bad, and part of that is because New England has thrown a few surprises out there when it comes to blitzes and bringing pressure from different spots. (There have been a few occasions where the Patriots have shown a 3-4 look, which has appeared to rattle the Rams a bit.)

•New England, which had trouble converting some of the gifts they were given in the first half against the Jets, had no such issues in the second quarter against the Rams. They picked up their third touchdown of the day when Brady steered the Patriots on a 9-play, 78-yard drive that featured 56 passing yards to Gronkowski, including a seven-yard touchdown pass that featured a Gronkowski spike that looked an awful lot like something one of the Queen’s guards at Buckingham Palace might attempt. That made the score 21-7.

•On the next Rams’ series, New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower was able to get after Sam Bradford, driving him down into the turf on his left shoulder. It appeared that Bradford was going to have to leave the game, but St. Louis took a timeout, and Bradford was able to continue.

•The Patriots finished the first half with a flourish: After a botched field goal attempt by the Rams with roughly two minutes left in the half, Brady steered New England down to the St. Louis one-yard line. (Rams defensive back Bradley Fletcher was called for defensive pass interference on multiple occasions, helping keep the Patriots’ drive alive.) That’s where Stevan Ridley bulled in for his first touchdown of the day to make it 28-7 with 10 seconds left in the first half.

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