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Halftime notes: Patriots hold 21-10 lead on Jets

10.20.13 at 2:30 pm ET
By

EAST RUTHERFORD — After two quarters at MetLife Stadium. the Patriots hold a 21-10 lead on the Jets. Tom Brady is 11-for-18 for 102 yards, while Rob Gronkowski has four catches for 54 yards in his return. On the other side of the ball, Geno Smith is 10-for-18 for 159 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

Here are a few quick notes:

‘€¢The Jets got things started early with a 25-yard connection from Smith to Jeff Cumberland, kickstarting an opening drive that ended with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Jeremy Kerley that made it 7-0 with 9:43 left in the first quarter. New York was 3-for-3 on third downs on its first drive, and on the touchdown pass, it was a well-executed play where cornerback Kyle Arrington played the inside, and Kerley went out.

‘€¢On defense, the Patriots are shuffling up their defensive fronts, trying to disguise some of their deficiencies. They’ve had Chris Jones, Marcus Forston and Joe Vellano up front in a 3-4 with Chandler Jones standing up, and Chris Jones and Vellano as the defensive tackles in a more traditional four-man front that had Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich at their traditional defensive end spots.

‘€¢ For New England, the defensive highlight of the first half came late in the first quarter when Patriots rookie cornerback Logan Ryan jumped in front of a Smith pass and took it back 79 yards for the touchdown to make it 14-7 New England. Despite the pick — which marked the 34th straight game the Patriots have forced a takeaway, and the eighth interception of the season — it’s clear the New England secondary is having some issues without Aqib Talib in the lineup. The Jets were able to convert on their first six third-down chances, thanks in large part to impressive pass plays between Smith and his receivers. It’s clear Smith is a better quarterback than what he showed in the Week 2 matchup between the Patriots and Jets in Foxboro.

‘€¢ It’s also clear the offense missed Gronkowski — the big tight end, with a big black wrap on his left arm, accounted for 42 of the 80 yards on the first drive of the game, including a big catch in Jets territory that set up the Patriots first touchdown of the game, a 1-yard plunge for Brandon Bolden that tied the game at seven late in the first quarter. While it’s clear his snaps are being monitored in his first game back (not unlike how the Patriots utilized Danny Amendola in his first game back against the Bengals a couple of weeks ago), his impact is undeniable. He’s consistently drawn double coverage, and his left arm has held up well to this point in the game.

‘€¢ Give Julian Edelman credit for the third touchdown of the day — even though he didn’t catch a pass on the drive, he had a sweet 38-yard punt return that set the Patriots up in excellent position. And thanks to a key third-down penalty against the Jets, New England was able to punch it in on a 17-yard run for Stevan Ridley, his third touchdown of the season. That made it 21-10 late in the second quarter.

‘€¢ There were no major injuries in the first half.

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