Quick-hit thoughts after 3rd quarter

December, 11, 2011
12/11/11
3:28
PM ET
LANDOVER, Md. -- Quick-hit thoughts after the third quarter of the Patriots’ game against the Redskins (New England leads 34-27):

1. A game like this reinforces the thought that if the Patriots are going to get where they want to go, it’s on the offense and quarterback Tom Brady to make it happen. Not a good day for the defense.

2. Rob Gronkowski keeps raising the bar. The way the Redskins are matching up, that’s where Tom Brady has wanted to go most as Gronkowski is getting single coverage from either cornerbacks or linebackers. Gronkowski’s 39-yard touchdown came against linebacker Ryan Kerrigan.

3. Most poorly officiated game I’ve seen this year. Jeff Triplette’s crew is over-officiating and a few calls haven't seemed close.

4. Long game. A lot of penalties. The Patriots had been called for just three accepted penalties apiece in each of the last three games.

5. Tom Brady is not having his best day, but his ability to fight through it and keep plays alive is impressive. His 24-yard touchdown strike to Wes Welker with 4:26 remaining in the third quarter was a perfect illustration of how Brady makes things happen when all hope seems lost. The pocket collapsed, the pressure baring down on him, but he stepped out of it and found Welker.

6. Welker’s touchdown catch is his ninth of the season. That establishes a new career high.

7. Veteran Nate Jones is getting more time at safety.

8. Devin McCourty made his best play of the game, breaking up a pass on the Redskins’ final drive of the quarter.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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