Quick-hit thoughts after 1st quarter


Quick-hit thoughts after the first quarter, with the Patriots leading 14-0:

1. Great start for the Patriots. Bill Belichick always stresses starting fast and the players have responded. Couldn’t have scripted it much better.

2. The Patriots ran 83 percent of their snaps with multiple tight ends in the first two games of the season, but with just one pure tight end on the roster (Rob Gronkowski), they are using more three- and four-receiver packages. Julian Edelman and Chad Ochocinco are splitting time as the third receiver option. Edelman had played eight offensive snaps in the first two games combined. He had eight by the end of the second drive (penalties included).

3. Kyle Arrington’s interception on the Bills’ second offensive play was a ball that should have been caught by receiver Donald Jones. Still, the Patriots capitalized, something the Raiders couldn’t do last week. Arrington is an early star of the game, with two first-quarter interceptions as the team's nickel back.

4. On the goal-line, the Patriots brought in offensive lineman Donald Thomas as an extra blocker, making offensive tackle Matt Light an eligible receiver. In that power package, linebacker Dane Fletcher was also used as a lead-blocking fullback.

5. The Bills’ offense struck for the big play on its first play from scrimmage, a long ball down the left side in which cornerback Leigh Bodden was in coverage. In an interesting wrinkle, the Bills had running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller in the game, and the Patriots countered with their nickel package (with cornerback Kyle Arrington the extra defensive back).

6. The Patriots’ defense is hardly substituting at all. It’s a spread game and they are mostly staying in nickel (5 defensive backs). Linebacker Brandon Spikes, who usually isn’t part of that package, is in the middle of it today.

7. The first defensive substitution came on third-and-9 when DE Mark Anderson, LB Gary Guyton and LB Dane Fletcher came on, with LB Brandon Spikes, DE Andre Carter and DE Shaun Ellis coming off.

8. The Bills helped the Patriots out on their second offensive drive, with center Eric Wood's chop block knocking them out of field-goal range and leading them to go for it on fourth-and-14. Seemed like a curious call there on fourth-and-14 (not a typo -- it was 14 yards to go).

9. Rookie running back Stevan Ridley got a carry at the end of the quarter, his first snap of the game. Ridley had played a total of two offensive snaps in the first two games of the season.