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First-quarter notes: Patriots 10, Bills 0

11.11.12 at 1:37 pm ET
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FOXBORO — One quarter is in the books here at Gillette Stadium, and here are a few quick notes:

•The Patriots won the toss and decided to defer. The Bills received the opening kick and put together a short drive before being flagged for three consecutive penalties on third down, setting up the punt. On the whole, Buffalo was wildly undisciplined early — at one point, the Bills had run seven offensive plays and had six penalties.

•The Patriots’ defense opened with Devin McCourty and Steve Gregory at safety, and Alfonzo Dennard and Kyle Arrington at cornerback. In passing situations, Marquice Cole occasionally served as the nickel corner in place of linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Meanwhile, Jermaine Cunningham replaced defensive lineman Kyle Love inside on passing downs.

•On Buffalo’s second series of scrimmage, the Patriots forced their first turnover of the afternoon when Vince Wilfork strip-sacked Ryan Fitzpatrick. The ball was recovered by Cunningham at the Buffalo 13-yard line. The Patriots quickly turned that into a touchdown, as Stevan Ridley went in three plays later from the one to make it 10-0 with 3:54 left in the first quarter.

•The New England offense opened in a two-tight end set with Rob Gronkowski and Michael Hoomanawanui, as well as running back Stevan Ridley and wide receivers Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd. In addition, left guard Logan Mankins was back in the starting lineup after missing the last couple of games with an injury.

•The Patriots offense was living dangerously early on. The Bills nearly forced an early turnover when Marcel Dareus batted a Tom Brady pass in the air, but Buffalo’s Bryan Scott couldn’t corral the loose ball. Later on the same drive, Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin almost came away with a loose ball after knocking a pass away from Deion Branch. (And on the same drive, despite the fact that he had Buffalo defensive back Justin Rogers beat up the seam, Wes Welker dropped a sure touchdown.) In the end, the Patriots settled for a 43-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski — that put the capper on a 13-play, 48-yard sequence for the Patriots that took 4:27 and was highlighted by a nice nine-yard run from Ridley.

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