MIAMI -- At halftime of their AFC East contest, the Patriots lead the Dolphins 17-10. Passing along quick-hit thoughts and observations from the second quarter:
1. Another special-team miscues boosts Pats. The Dolphins stopped the Patriots on their first drive of the second quarter, but a roughing the kicker penalty gave the Patriots a fresh set of downs. It also gave quarterback Tom Brady and his offense new life, as they navigated down the field on 14 plays and eventually came up with their second touchdown of the day, from Brady to receiver Wes Welker.
2. Welker on fire. Speaking of Welker, the gifted slot receiver is on fire, with 10 catches and 89 yards to go along with his touchdown. With the Patriots a little thin at the skill positions due to the absence of Rob Gronkowski and short numbers at receiver, Welker continues to step up and play with tremendous toughness and grit. He has given various Dolphins defensive backs fits in man-to-man situations.
3. Brady extends TD streak. After Saints quarterback Drew Brees had his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass snapped on Thursday night, Brady became the active leader at 43 games. He extended that on Sunday with the aforementioned throw to Welker and is now 10 shy of the record set by Brees, and just three shy of the record that Brees broke that was held by legendary quarterback Johnny Unitas.
4. Scott forces huge turnover. Defensive end Trevor Scott earned his first start of the season and came through with a forced fumble on a sack of Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The ball set up the Patriots in Dolphins territory, and kicker Stephen Gostskowki later connected on a 43-yard field goal to extend his team's lead to 17-3. It was Scott's first sack with the Patriots and 15th in his NFL career.
5. Penalty box. The following Patriots were flagged for penalties in the second quarter: safety Nate Ebner (false start; on a punt), team defense (12 men on the field).