Second-quarter notes: Patriots 24, Bills 17
|11.11.12 at 2:30 pm ET|
FOXBORO — We are at the half at Gillette Stadium, and the Patriots hold a 24-17 lead on a pesky Bills team. Here are a few quick notes from the second quarter:
•The Bills got on the board with just over 12 minutes left in the second quarter when Rian Lindell drilled a 41-yard field goal to make it 10-3. It came at the end of an 11-play, 57-yard drive for the Bills. The series, which started at the end of the first quarter, was highlighted by the first 20-plus yard pass play of the afternoon for Buffalo, a 22-yard connection from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Donald Jones.
•The Patriots answered with their best drive of the first two quarters, a systemic and methodical series that saw them go 83 yards on eight plays and consume a tidy 2:58. Danny Woodhead accounted for 37 of the 83 yards on the drive, which included a 15-yard run from Woodhead for a touchdown where he wasn’t touched on his way to the end zone.
•The Bills got back to the basics on their second drive of the second quarter, using their running game (C.J. Spiller) and mismatches involving 6-foot-7 tight end Scott Chandler to put together a six-play, 80-yard drive, one that was finished off by Fred Jackson, who had a nice second effort on a 14-yard run that made it 17-10 with 5:56 left in the first half.
•Buffalo had a sloppy first half — the Bills topped the 100-yard mark in penalties midway through the second quarter — but the Bills were also victimized by some bad calls. The worst may have been a 37-yard defensive pass interference call at the end of the first half that put the ball on the New England 1-yard line. The ball, a pass from Brady to Brandon Lloyd, certainly didn’t appear catchable, but Buffalo defensive back Stephon Gilmore was flagged for the penalty nonetheless after he collided with Lloyd. Two plays later, Brady hit Rob Gronkowski with a 2-yard touchdown catch — the first TD of the day for the big tight end — to make it 24-10 with 3:54 remaining in the half. (On the drive, 69 of the Patriots’ 82 yards came off penalties.)
•One thing that has allowed the Patriots’ offense to be so proficient over the last two weeks is that fact that quarterback Tom Brady has remained upright for the last few games. New England has now now allowed a sack since the second quarter of the win over the Jets on Oct. 21. That’s a stretch of eight-plus quarters.
•The Bills had an impressive drive to finish out the first half, as Fitzpatrick was able to exploit some soft spots in the middle of the New England pass defense, connecting on several occasions with Chandler, including on a 3-yard touchdown pass to make it 24-17 with 31 seconds left in the first half.
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