Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC East [Print without images]

Sunday, December 29, 2013
Quick-hit thoughts after first quarter

By Field Yates

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- After 15 minutes of play, the Patriots lead the Bills 6-3. Passing along quick-hit notes and observations from the first quarter:

1. Solder returns, starts. The Patriots got their starting offensive line back intact, as Nate Solder returned and was immediately reinserted into the starting lineup. That moved Logan Mankins back to his normal spot at left guard, with rookie Josh Kline back in a reserve role.

2. Harmon starts as McCourty sits. As expected, with Devin McCourty sitting out due to a concussion, rookie Duron Harmon started at safety alongside Steve Gregory. Rookie cornerback Logan Ryan also started, as Alfonzo Dennard is on the inactive list with knee and shoulder injuries.

3. Slippery conditions a factor. A driving rain is coming down in Foxborough and the effects have been seen throughout the first quarter. Shane Vereen had a fumble, Danny Amendola dropped a wide-open pass and Bills quarterback Thad Lewis had a fumble that nearly knocked Buffalo out of field goal range on its first drive. The rain is expected to persist for much of the evening.

4. Edelman surpasses 1,000 yards. An incredible 2013 for Julian Edelman continues, as he surpassed 1,000 receiving yards for the season during the first quarter. He's now up to 99 catches. If he catches one more, he'll join Wes Welker and Troy Brown as the only players in team history with 100 catches in a season.

5. Penalty box. The following Patriots were flagged for penalties during the first quarter: tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (illegal motion; declined).