Quick-hit thoughts after 2nd quarter

September, 1, 2011
9/01/11
8:59
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick-hit thoughts after the second quarter, with the Patriots leading 17-3:

1. Overall, this has been the type of performance the Patriots wanted to build some momentum heading into the regular-season opener. The top units got some time, stayed healthy, and were able to put the Lions' game behind them.

2. Receiver Matthew Slater followed up his 64-yard catch-and-run with strong special teams tackles on kickoff and punt coverage. If Slater was on the bubble, as some viewed him to be, this performance should further solidify his standing.

3. Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth played nine snaps in the quarter (including penalties) and looked winded toward the end of a stretch of five straight plays early. That upped his first-half total to 16 snaps played.

4. Total snaps for Tom Brady tonight (including penalties) -- 18. That is an indication of how Bill Belichick wanted the first-unit offense to get some work in this fourth and final preseason game. Brian Hoyer was the top backup, coming on with 7:03 remaining in the second quarter.

5. Tiquan Underwood, the Patriots' receiver, was penalized for not coming inside the numbers on a substitution on a punt. That negated a recovery by Gary Guyton. Tough call, and one that Underwood -- who faced an uphill climb for a roster spot -- figures to be kicking himself for tonight.

6. One day after getting claimed on waivers, cornerback Antwaun Molden is playing in sub packages.

7. Good snaps for rookie free agent Aaron Lavarias (Idaho) at linebacker, as he looks like a strong candidate for the practice squad.

8. Cornerback Ras-I Dowling had good coverage on receiver Devin Thomas on a route in the end zone, with the pass sailing incomplete. Dowling looks the part. Between him and Molden, the Patriots have a bigger look at corner when compared to a Darius Butler/Kyle Arrington combination.

9. Veteran defensive lineman Shaun Ellis picked up a sack late in the quarter on third-and-long.

10. The second unit offensive line looked like this: left tackle Nate Solder, left guard Jonathan Compass, center Rich Ohrnberger, right guard Thomas Austin and right tackle Steve Maneri.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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