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Friday, August 16, 2013
Quick-hit Pats thoughts after first quarter

By Field Yates

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Following 15 minutes of play, the Patriots lead the Buccaneers 8-0 at Gillette Stadium. Passing along some quick-hit notes and observations from the first quarter:

New England Patriots1. Brady starts, plays full quarter. As expected, Tom Brady was under center for the Patriots, and, perhaps as we should've expected, he was locked in. Brady guided his offense 80 yards on a 15-play drive, connecting with Danny Amendola for a beautiful score. The drive was capped with a 2-point conversion on a throw from Brady to tight end Zach Sudfeld. A simply surgical opening drive from the 36-year old.

2. Defense holds following big Bucs return. The Patriots' kickoff coverage team allowed a 63-yard return following the Amendola score, but the defense had its back. On the first defensive snap, linebacker Brandon Spikes knifed through the line of scrimmage for a sack, and the defense forced a three-and-out for Tampa Bay. Better start than what they experienced last week against Philadelphia.

3. Amendola lights it up. Amendola was a busy man throughout the quarter, catching six passes in total and providing a mismatch against the Bucs linebackers in coverage. Some of Amendola's routes and catches were reminiscent of the way Wes Welker was utilized, though Amendola brings a little more of a vertical presence.

4. Allen gets first punt. Interesting special-teams note: It was rookie Ryan Allen, not Zoltan Mesko, who handled the first punt of the game for the Patriots. Allen skyed a plus-50 punt that eventually landed in the end zone for a touchback.

5. Pass rush clicking. The Patriots registered a trio of sacks, one apiece from Spikes, Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich. That's a key area of focus for the defense this season.

6. Penalty box. The following Patriots were flagged for penalties during the first quarter: guard Logan Mankins (unnecessary roughness) and center Ryan Wendell (false start).