- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots lead the Baltimore Ravens, 13-7, at halftime.
Here are some notes at intermission:
Injuries are becoming a factor for New England. Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib strained his hamstring in the first quarter and didn't return. He is New England's best cover corner and his return was announced as questionable. But it wouldn't be shocking if Talib is done for this game. Patriots defensive lineman Kyle Love also left the game in the first quarter with a knee injury and didn't return in the first half. His return was announced as questionable. New England rookie defensive end Chandler Jones (ankle) dressed for the game but hasn't played in the first half.
New England receiver Brandon Lloyd had one of his best first halves of the season. Lloyd has four receptions for 40 yards. Someone had to step up in the absence of Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is out for the postseason with a broken arm. Brady and Lloyd haven’t been on the same page for much of the season, but that wasn’t the case in the first half. Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez also has six receptions.
The Patriots used some trickery in the first quarter. New England put quarterback Ryan Mallett on the field in what appeared to be a fake punt on fourth-and-2. It was a play the Patriots haven’t used all season. Baltimore blew a timeout after seeing the unfamiliar alignment.
Overall, it was an ugly first half by both teams. Neither club really got its offense going and both teams struggled on third-down conversions. The Patriots even botched some clock management before halftime and settle for a field goal. Expect a better played second half by both teams.