Quick-hit thoughts after 3rd quarter

December, 18, 2011
12/18/11
6:39
PM ET
DENVER – Quick-hit thoughts after the third quarter of the Patriots’ game against the Broncos (New England leads 34-16):

1. The Patriots have to feel good about where things stand. Tim Tebow has been remarkable in the fourth quarter of games, but a 18-point deficit is asking a lot for him to overcome.

2. The Patriots established some control of the line of scrimmage on offense in the running game, something they struggled with in the first half.

3. Nice hard-charging running from rookie Stevan Ridley, and then BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead. That's the best Ridley has looked since Week 4 in Oakland.

4. Defensive end Mark Anderson has come to play. Impressive performance as he steps in for the injured Andre Carter, as he is standing up at times in an outside linebacker-type role.

5. Tight end Aaron Hernandez has been a presence even when he isn't catching the ball. He drew a holding penalty well down field in the quarter to add on to his solid day.

6. The Broncos look like they’re self-destructing. Too many mistakes to beat a team of the Patriots’ caliber.

7. An illegal hands to the face penalty on Broncos defensive lineman Robert Ayers, which came on third-and-24, was huge. It bailed the Patriots out after they had an awful series of three plays. That extended the drive and took life out of the stadium.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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