FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Sharing some thoughts at halftime as the Patriots lead the Jets, 16-10:
Not a sharp half offensively for the Patriots. A lot of missed opportunities.
The running game isn't generating enough positive momentum and there have been too many drops, as the Patriots have squandered chances to put more distance between themselves and the offensively challenged Jets. The frustration is evident with quarterback Tom Brady, who lit up his teammates on the sideline at one point.
In particular, the Brady-to-Brandon Lloyd connection is way off. It doesn't seem as if Patriots have settled on a matchup that they truly like. Their lone touchdown drive came primarily out of the 1 WR/3 TE/1 RB grouping, in which the Jets matched with their base defense and the Patriots spread the field and had success with the pass. The Jets quickly adjusted on ensuing drives to play nickel against that grouping, and the Patriots couldn't run against it, which got them out of that grouping.
Devin McCourty's 104-yard kickoff return was a crucial play because it decisively answered the Jets' first touchdown in the first quarter (in which the defense had just 10 players on the field). The Patriots have struggled in the kickoff return game for almost two years, and so the spark came from an unexpected place.
The defense got off to a tough start, but settled down, even putting points on the board with a safety on a Jets sloppy exchange on a handoff. The unit isn't playing the run as tough as we've seen this season, and has had some struggles against the pass as well, but quarterback Mark Sanchez has helped them out (an underthrown interception was extremely poor).
Moving cornerback Devin McCourty to safety, and having Alfonzo Dennard and Kyle Arrington at cornerback, has seemed to help the back end.
An injury to linebacker Jerod Mayo late in the second quarter, which looked like an arm/shoulder type of deal, could be big for the Patriots. Mayo is their defensive signal-caller, a three-down player who is a "glue" guy ensuring everyone is lined up correctly.
The Jets get the ball to start the second half.