Quick-hit thoughts after first quarter
October, 7, 2012
By Field Yates | ESPNBoston.com
AP Photo/Steven SenneFOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Through one quarter of play, the Patriots lead the Broncos 7-0. Passing along some quick-hit notes and observations.
1. Moore bails himself, rookie Wilson out. The Broncos looked to be in business with a long throw from Peyton Manning to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas early in the game. Cornerback Sterling Moore was beaten clean on the play, as was safety Tavon Wilson. Wilson took a very poor angle in assisting Moore, finding himself entirely out of position. But a good catch-up effort and forced fumble by Moore of Thomas saved the day, halting the Broncos' opening drive.
2. Mankins back in starting lineup; other starters notes. Guard Logan Mankins was back in the huddle with his offensive teammates, a week after missing a game due to a hip injury. He was limited in practice this week, but looks to be a full-go today. Other notes relating to the starting lineups: the aforementioned Wilson started in place of Steve Gregory (who is out with a hip injury), and veteran Tracy White replaced rookie linebacker Dont'a Hightower (hamstring). The Patriots opened up the game in "11" personnel, with Danny Woodhead in at running back, Rob Gronkowski as the tight end, and Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and Deion Branch as receivers.
3. Offensive line strong up the middle to start. The Patriots offensive line has picked up where it left off a week ago in controlling the line of scrimmage up the middle, where running backs Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden have been strong in chunking up yardage.
4. Defense keeps Manning, Broncos' O off the board. Have to wonder if the Patriots' defense grew tired of answering questions about Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning this week, as the topic was discussed early and often. Through one quarter, the defense has done well to neutralize the Broncos' offense, holding them without a point. The big play of the quarter was the Moore forced fumble, which quickly turned the tides of the game.
5. Penalty box. The Patriots were not flagged for a penalty during the first quarter.