- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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SEATTLE, Wash. -- Sharing some thoughts at halftime of the Patriots' road game against the Seahawks (New England leads 17-10):
How tough is Wes Welker? That's the first thought that comes to mind after what we watched in the first half.
He took a clean, crunching hit in the second quarter that clearly shook him up. After missing three plays, he was back on the field, making a big catch.
The other main thought: How the Patriots wasted a golden opportunity at the end of the second quarter. They took a risk and it backfired.
Offensively, this has been a game to attack through the air. Tom Brady is getting all kinds of time, as the vaunted Seahawks defense isn't generating much pressure. Nice work by the Patriots' blockers up front, and the ball is often coming out quickly as well.
The struggles in the secondary are evident. Cornerback Kyle Arrington, in particular, had a tough start (he was replaced on the third series).
From a strategy standpoint, the Patriots entered the game with the idea of matching the Seahawks' three-receiver offense by staying in their base 4-3 but subbing out safety Tavon Wilson for cornerback Alfonzo Dennard. In theory, that should provide more of a cover-like element, but the Patriots were hurt in that matchup. Credit to the Seahawks' pass-catchers for making the play when the ball was in the air, for sure, but you'd also like to see more playmaking skills from the Patriots' defensive backs.
On the positive side defensively, a unit that has thrived off turnovers got a big one on a strip sack by Chandler Jones (did the Seahawks really think blocking Jones with a tight end would be effective?) in the second quarter.
Also, linebacker Brandon Spikes showed up with a crunching first-quarter hit on third down in the red zone. The Seahawks entered the day as the NFL's worst red-zone offense (in terms of TD percentage -- 4 of 14). The Seahawks got a red-zone stop of their own in the second quarter, which kept the score within a touchdown.
The Seahawks get the ball to start the third quarter.