- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Sharing some thoughts from halftime of the Patriots’ game against the Bills, with New England leading 24-17:
It’s a close game, even though it doesn’t feel like it. The Patriots seemed to be in command, but the Bills’ offense came to life in the second quarter.
Some concern for the Patriots on defense that they couldn’t slow the Bills down -- tight end Scott Chandler hurt them down the seam and tackling in the running game was shaky (Dont’a Hightower didn’t wrap up Fred Jackson on a TD run).
It was 10-0 after the first quarter, and things looked good for the Patriots at that point. They started fast coming off their bye -- a stop on the Bills’ opening drive, followed by a 13-play drive that culminated in a field goal, then a turnover deep in Bills’ territory that set up a touchdown.
That’s the way you like to start a game, and it helped that the Bills shot themselves in the foot with penalties.
Bill Leavy’s officiating crew is calling it tight, but the Bills seemed to get the short end of the stick on one important call. The pass interference penalty in the end zone that set up the Patriots’ touchdown to go up 24-10 looked like a gift for the Patriots (Brandon Lloyd appeared to trip on TV replays).
Tight end Rob Gronkowski had a bloody elbow after his touchdown catch in the second quarter, but it doesn’t seem serious.
Overall, there were more good things than bad for the Patriots, but the feeling at halftime is that they had a chance to create more separation but couldn’t come up with the defensive stops to do so.
The Patriots get the ball to open the second half.