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Third-quarter notes: Patriots 17, Dolphins 10

12.02.12 at 3:25 pm ET
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The third quarter is done, and the Patriots have a 17-10 lead. Here are some third-quarter notes:

•At the start of the third quarter, neither offense was able to get much of anything going. New England opened the third quarter on a down note, with just its 12th 3-and-out of the season. Miami couldn’t do anything on its ensuing possession — thanks in part to the work of linebacker Brandon Spikes, who came away with his second pass breakup of the game on the Dolphins’ series.

•On the Patriots’ second series of the third quarter, Tom Brady was almost snapped in half on a sack by Miami’s Cameron Wake, who easily beat a hobbled Sebastian Vollmer off the edge and managed to crush the quarterback on what might have been the hardest hit on Brady all year.

•The two teams traded punts again — on Miami’s next possession, the Dolphins got to the New England 49, but decided to punt the ball away on 4th and 1. The Patriots couldn’t get out from underneath the shadow of their own goalposts, and Zoltan Mesko punted the ball back to Miami with just under four minutes left in the quarter.

•The best offensive sequence of the quarter came on the final drive, as New England managed to get to the Miami 35-yard line as the quarter expired. There were a couple of very nice connections to Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez and a nice pickup by Danny Woodhead to help move the chains.

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