Quick-hit thoughts after 1st quarter

November, 13, 2011
11/13/11
9:08
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Quick-hit thoughts after the first quarter of the Patriots’ road game against the Jets, with New England leading 6-0:

1. One aspect that stands out is that the Patriots have defenders Jeff Tarpinian, Sterling Moore, Tracy White and Phillip Adams in key roles. If they are to win, they will need these under-the-radar, lower-end-of-the-roster players to rise up. Tarpinian (linebacker) and Moore (safety) started.

2. Chad Ochocinco has two big catches in the game. This looks like his breakthrough, with a 53-yard catch-and-run (with cornerback Darrelle Revis the closest defensive back) a huge play in the opening 15 minutes, setting up the Patriots’ second field goal. Ochocinco stepped out of bounds after his first catch, costing him the chance to gain additional yardage.

3. Ochocinco played eight snaps over the team’s first two drives. He played 18 all last week, so this looks like a week where the Patriots plan to use him more.

4. Tom Brady with some dangerous throws on the first two drives. He could have had two passes intercepted.

5. The Patriots’ defense caught a break on the opening drive of the game when receiver Santonio Holmes stumbled on a potential catch-and-run touchdown, which set the Jets up in the red zone. That’s where the Patriots have done some of their best work this season, and they forced a field-goal attempt that was no good. It didn’t look pretty, but they’ll take the end result. They've gotten better from there.

6. Another 12-men-in-the-huddle penalty against the Patriots. There have been a lot of those in recent weeks, which highlights the need to tighten up from a coaching perspective.

7. The Patriots opened in what looked like more of a 3-4 defense, with Andre Carter standing up in an outside linebacker type role. Carter continues his strong play this season, ending the Jets’ second drive with a sack that looked like a result of strong coverage. He added another sack to close the quarter (6.5 on the season).

8. Rookie running back Stevan Ridley matched his playing time total from last week – four snaps – by rotating in behind BenJarvus Green-Ellis to assume lead duties on the team’s second drive.

9. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski hit from 50 and 36, bouncing back nicely from last week's uneven performance that included a missed 27-yard field goal.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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