Sunday, September 22, 2013
Quick-hit thoughts after third quarter
By Field Yates
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Entering the final quarter of play, the New England Patriots lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-3. Passing along quick-hit notes and observations from the third quarter:
1. Pass rush getting it done. Seemingly picking up where it left off last week, the Patriots' pass rush has been productive thus far, generating three sacks. Defensive end Chandler Jones has been a factor, registering two separate half sacks, with defensive tackle Tommy Kelly helping out for an opening drive sack to stop a Bucs drive.
2. Vollmer banged up. Starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer was replaced on the team's first drive of the second half by Marcus Cannon, with Vollmer spending time at the start of the half speaking with members of the team's medical staff. The Patriots announced that he is questionable to return with a foot injury. For the Bucs, star wide receiver Vincent Jackson is questionable to return with a rib injury.
3. Brady picked in the end zone. The Patriots had a razor-sharp drive going before an uncommon mistake from Tom Brady in the end zone: He threw an interception right into the hands of safety Mark Barron, resulting in a touchback. Brady and rookie receiver Aaron Dobson couldn't connect on what should have been a score just two plays earlier.
4. Defense tightening up. The Patriots defense has really settled in after allowing the Bucs deep into their own territory to open the game. They've forced two turnovers on downs and intercepted Josh Freeman on another play. Doug Martin has been held in check, limited to just 78 yards on 18 carries.
5. Penalty box. The following Patriots were flagged for penalties in the third quarter: right tackle Marcus Cannon (false start) and defensive end Chandler Jones (neutral zone infraction).