Quick hit thoughts from second quarter

October, 21, 2012
10/21/12
5:56
PM ET
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Halfway through their Week 7 matchup, the Patriots lead the Jets 16-10. Passing along some notes and observations from the second quarter.

1. Defense puts points on the board. The Patriots recorded a second quarter safety to take a 16-7 lead, and credit nose tackle Vince Wilfork for forcing the error by Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and running back Shonn Greene. Wilfork overwhelmed Jets guard Matt Slauson, driving him into the backfield and right to the spot where Sanchez was attempting to hand the ball off to Greene. That forced a mishandle, and Sanchez wisely kicked the ball out of the end zone.

2. Dennard goes up for the pick. Rookie Alfonzo Dennard notched his first career interception on a poor throw from Mark Sanchez intended for Stephen Hill down the right sideline. Dennard went up and high-pointed the pass near the goal line, giving the Patriots the ball back on their own two.

3. Up-tempo a theme today. Much has been made of the tempo at which the Patriots' offense has operated during its first six outings, and today's first half is best described as a steady reliance on the fast-paced attack. That has forced the Jets into some personnel issues, having to mix and match one group that featured three tight ends from the Patriots. Nonetheless, the Jets have hung tough on defense, holding the Patriots to just one touchdown drive.

4. Hightower plays limited role. Rookie linebacker Dont'a Hightower, absent from the Patriots' past two games, has played a limited role thus far today. He continues to deal with a hamstring issue that limited him in practice this week, and the team is likely being mindful of his snap count this week as he returns to full-strength.

5. Offense failing to capitalize. The Patriots' offense has had it's share of opportunities to capitalize on mistakes by the Jets, but have failed to do so. The Patriots were stalled after a safety, couldn't make good on a second chance at a drive after the Jets committed a personal foul on a punt, and have had a couple of uncharacteristic drops. The entire unit needs to pick it up in the second half.

6. Penalty box. The following Patriots were called for penalties in the second quarter: offensive guard Donald Thomas (holding), linebacker Jerod Mayo (holding).
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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