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Sunday, September 29, 2013
Quick-hit thoughts from first quarter

By Field Yates

ATLANTA -- Following 15 minutes of play, the New England Patriots trail the Atlanta Falcons 3-0. Passing along quick-hit notes and observations from the first quarter:

1. Falcons start fast, settle for field goal. As has been the case throughout the season, the Falcons started fast, taking the ball down on their opening drive and advancing to the Patriots' 5-yard line. That was the extent of their success, however, as the Patriots clamped down and limited the Falcons to a field goal. Considering the ease with which Atlanta made it to the red zone, holding the Falcons to a field goal was a win for the Patriots' defense.

2. Wilfork shaken up. The heart and soul of the Patriots' defensive line, nose tackle Vince Wilfork, was shaken up on a play on the opening drive and forced to leave the game. Members of the Patriots' medical staff examined Wilfork's right ankle before taking him on a cart to the locker-room area. The team later announced that he is questionable to return.

3. Jones drawing steady dose of Talib. It hasn't been exclusively Aqib Talib on Falcons receiver Julio Jones, but we've seen quite a bit of the Patriots' top cornerback shadowing Jones around the formation. That's something we saw last week with Talib following Vincent Jackson around. Thus far, Jones has just one catch.

4. Ridley shoulders load early. Last week, Brandon Bolden got the early touches and LeGarrette Blount finished with the most rushing yards, but thus far it's been Stevan Ridley leading the way from the backfield. Ridley already is at 59 yards of total offense.

5. Penalty box. The following Patriots were flagged for penalties during the first quarter: Bolden (illegal shift) and safety Kanorris Davis (illegal formation).