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Second-quarter notes: Patriots 21, Dolphins 0

Posted By Christopher Price On December 30, 2012 @ 5:52 pm In General | No Comments

FOXBORO — The second quarter is done here at Gillette Stadium, and the Patriots hold a 21-0 halftime lead. Here are a few notes from the second quarter:

•The first drive of the second — which began at the end of the first — ended for the Patriots when Stevan Ridley snuck in underneath the pile from one yard out (on a fourth-down play) to make it 14-0 with 10:26 left in the quarter. It was a drive that took 7:28 — the second-longest of the season for the New England offense, and one that looked an awful lot like the one that took 7:18 and closed out the Dolphins back on Dec. 2. (The longest of the season was 7:39, and came on Thanksgiving against the Jets.)

•The Dolphins’ offense had its finest sequence of the game to this point midway through the quarter when Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill guided the Dolphins into New England territory, getting help from a questionable roughing-the-passer penalty kept a Miami drive alive on third down. The Dolphins couldn’t cash in, however, as Nate Kaeding missed a field goal from 41 yards out, giving the ball back to the Patriots and allowing New England to hold on to the 14-0 lead.

•The biggest loss of the second quarter came when linebacker Rob Ninkovich suffered a hip injury midway through the quarter. (The team announced that he is questionable to return.) Ninkovich was down on the field for several minutes, and had to be helped off the field and to the locker room. The loss of Ninkovich for an extended period would be a blow, as the versatile Purdue product has distinguished himself over the last few seasons as a vital defender for New England.

•The Patriots opened and closed the quarter in impressive fashion. The Patriots had a nice drive to open the second, and put the capper on the first half with another impressive scoring sequence. Tom Brady engineered a 14-play, 69-yard drive for New England that took 5:24 and was finished off by a Ridley touchdown (this time from two yards out), and was highlighted by a 14-yard pass play to Danny Woodhead, to make it 21-0 with a minute left in the second quarter.

•The Patriots offensive line, which has struggled over the last few weeks, hasn’t allowed a sack in the first half. (The Dolphins sacked Brady four times on Dec. 2 in Miami.)


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