At halftime of their Thanksgiving night game in New York, the Patriots lead the Jets 35-3. Passing along quick-hit notes and observations from the second quarter.
1. The rout is on. After entering the second quarter tied at zero, the Patriots scored 28 points in just over seven minutes (including 21 in 52 seconds), highlighted by scores on consecutive fumble recoveries returned for touchdowns. First it was Steve Gregory rerturning a fumble by Mark Sanchez, and on the ensuing kickoff Julian Edelman returned a Joe McKnight fumble for a score. Several Jets miscues left the fans at MetLife Stadium heartily sharing boos for the home team.
2. Another big play from Spikes. The action really picked up when linebacker Brandon Spikes kept up his forceful ways, dislodging the football from Jets running back Shonn Greene on a fourth down play and giving his offense the football back, ahead 7-0. Safety Steve Gregory came up with the loose ball, and as has been the case throughout much of the 2012 season, the Patriots offense made their opponent pay following a turnover...
3. Vereen turns on the jets. Running back Shane Vereen took what looked like a harmless pass out of the backfield and turned it into the biggest offensive play of the game thus far, sprinting down the left sideline for an 83-yard touchdown. The speed and natural receiving skills showcased on the play were both factors the Patriots saw in the second-year player prior to the 2011 NFL draft. Vereen has been limited by injuries to start his career, but showed his play-making ability in a single play.
4. Wilfork destroys Moore, forces turnover for TD. Nose tackle Vince Wilfork played his part in the sudden turn of events, as he manhandled Jets guard Brandon Moore, shoving him into quarterback Mark Sanchez and forcing a fumble that was picked up by Gregory and returned for a score. Wilfork's overwhelming strength really showed up on that play, as he fought off a double team to put himself in a position to disrupt Sanchez.
5. Edelman gets two more scores. Beyond the aforementioned fumble return for a touchdown, Julian Edelman also played an offensive role for the Patriots, catching a 56-yard score after beating the Jets' secondary over the top. Edelman continues to show up in recent weeks, and looks like he will be a pivotal player within the Patriots offense in the absence of tight end Rob Gronkowski.
6. Penalty box. No Patriots were called for a penalty in the second quarter.