Quick-hit thoughts after 3rd quarter

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
10:50
PM ET


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick-hit thoughts after the third quarter of the Patriots’ game against the Chiefs (New England leads 27-3):

1. It’s all about tight end Rob Gronkowski.

2. With his second touchdown catch of the night, Gronkowski has now reached 20 TDs in fewest games (26) among tight ends in NFL history. The previous best was Mike Ditka (31 games). Gronkowski landed awkwardly on his neck as he soared into the end zone, but remained in the game on the Patriots’ next offensive series.

3. Julian Edelman is another big story tonight, between his work as a dime back and punt returner. His 72-yard punt return for a touchdown was dynamic. He made it possible by making the first Chief miss, then navigated through traffic to pick up some help from his blockers. The Patriots had Edelman and Wes Welker back on the punt return for a bit of a different look.

4. The punt return for a touchdown was the second of Edelman’s career (2009-present). Edelman is the fourth player in team history to return multiple punts for touchdowns, joining Troy Brown (3), Irving Fryar (3) and Mike Haynes (2).

5. Cornerback Kyle Arrington picked up his second interception of the game, and his league-leading seventh of the season. This pick, like his first tonight, came when a Chiefs receiver couldn’t corral a Tyler Palko pass and the ball popped into the air.

6. Still no catches for receiver Wes Welker.

7. Injured Patriots center Dan Connolly returned to the game in the quarter, but only as an extra blocker on the goal-line and on the field-goal protection unit.

8. The Patriots have taken control. The Chiefs hung tough early, but the difference in talent between the two teams showed up in the last 15-25 minutes of this game.

9. Possibility that we see backup quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett tonight if this keeps up.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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