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Snap Judgments: Bengals outlast Patriots, 13-6

10.06.13 at 4:06 pm ET
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The Patriots suffered their first loss of the season Sunday against the Bengals, falling 13-6. In one of the uglier losses for the New England offense over the last several years, the Patriots’ last-ditch attempt to tie the game came up short with less than a minute to go when quarterback Tom Brady floated a pass toward the end zone that was picked off by Adam Jones.

On offense, Brady finished 18-for-38 for 197 yards and an interception. He saw his streak of 52 consecutive games with a touchdown pass come to an end. LeGarrette Blount had 12 carries for 51 yards, while Brandon Bolden had six catches for 49 yards for New England. In his first action since a Week 1 injury, receiver Danny Amendola had four catches for 55 yards. Meanwhile, Andy Dalton was 20-for-27 for 212 yards and one pick, while former Patriot BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 19 carries for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Here are a few quick notes from the afternoon:

WHAT WENT RIGHT

‘€¢ The Patriots defense was in lockdown mode for most of the game, holding the Cincinnati offense — one that has more than its fair share of talented options — to six points for the first three-plus quarters, giving up the only touchdown of the game when Green-Ellis plunged in from a yard out in the fourth quarter. At first glance, New England was able to get a superlative defensive effort out of several players, including linebackers Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo. Spikes had his first interception of the year in the first half, and added a nice tackle for loss. Meanwhile, Mayo (who came away with a sack of his own) also had an impressive afternoon, scooping up a fumble that was forced by Devin McCourty late in the fourth quarter. Some of the success the Patriots had was due in part to offensive struggles from Cincy, but it was one of the better defensive performances of the last year-plus for New England.

‘€¢ The Patriots special teamers had a good afternoon all the way around. Punter Ryan Allen had a stretch of three consecutive punts dropped inside the 10-yard line. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski connected on a 42-yarder at the end of the first half, added a 19-yarder in the fourth and knocked the majority of his kickoffs into the end zone. Punt returner Julian Edelman was impressive, and pressed into service as kick returner after Leon Washington went down with an ankle injury, Devin McCourty provided relatively good field position.

WHAT WENT WRONG

‘€¢ There was a lot of offensive inconsistency for the Patriots, who weren’t able to get much of anything going for large portions of the afternoon. New England was 1-for-12 on third down, turned the ball over twice and couldn’t get into the end zone. While there was a lot to like about the work of Blount, he also lost his first fumble of the year when he couldn’t keep control of the ball on a first-half drive that looked like it could have ended in a New England score. Fellow running back Brandon Bolden also lost the handle on a screen pass that ultimately forced the Patriots to punt on a first half drive. And Brady was under fire most of the afternoon against one of the better young defensive lines in football — the quarterback was sacked four times.

‘€¢ Veteran running back Leon Washington went down in the first half with an ankle injury. The team announced that he was questionable to return, but he didm’t return for the second half. The Patriots also lost defensive tackle Tommy Kelly in the fourth quarter — while he returned a few plays later, he later went off, and his absence was felt immediately, as the Bengals punched it on on 4th and goal from inside the 1-yard line. Cincinnati was able to get a good push up front and knock back youngster Joe Vellano and the rest of New England’s defensive front. If the Patriots are without both Vince Wilfork and Kelly for an extended stretch up front, it will be difficult to fill their shoes. The team announced in the fourth quarter than Kelly had a knee injury and his return was questionable.

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