Quick-hit thoughts on third quarter

October, 14, 2012
10/14/12
6:26
PM ET
Entering the final quarter, the Patriots lead the Seahawks, 20-10. Passing along notes and observations from the third quarter:

1. Defense starts strong. The Seahawks deferred after winning the coin toss prior to the game, giving them the ball to start the second half. The Patriots' defense was smothering on the opening drive of the second half, with Brandon Spikes taking Marshawn Lynch down for a loss, followed up by another sack from Chandler Jones. A draw play on third down halted the Seahawks' effort, giving the ball back to Tom Brady and his offense, who marched down the field and added another Stephen Gostkowski field goal.

2. Bolden injures knee, questionable to return. Running back Brandon Bolden, who limped off after covering a kickoff in the second quarter, has a knee injury and is questionable to return, the team announced. He was limited in practice throughout the week with a knee injury, although it is unclear if he injured the same knee during the game. The Patriots appeared to lean more heavily upon Stevan Ridley in the third quarter, as well as using Danny Woodhead on occasion.

3. Brady makes rare mistake. Quarterback Tom Brady threw just his second interception of the season, as Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman made him pay for a poor throw toward Deion Branch. Brady had gone 179 straight passing attempts without throwing a pick, the best in the NFL. Sherman, a collegiate wide receiver, is known for his strong ball skills and highlighted those on the play.

4. Defense forcing Wilson to struggle. After starting the game with seven completions in eight attempts, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has completed just four of 10 passes since. Wilson looked out of sorts during the third quarter, misfiring on some throws he is capable of making and struggling to get much going for his offense during the period. Credit the Patriots for picking it up in the second half, as well as doing strong work against Lynch.

5. Penalty box. No Patriot players were called for a penalty during the quarter.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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