Quick-hit thoughts from the second quarter

December, 10, 2012
12/10/12
10:03
PM ET


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- At halftime, the Patriots lead the Texans 21-0. Passing along quick-hit notes and observations from the second quarter.

1. Hernandez, offense rolling. Tight end Aaron Hernandez caught his second touchdown of the night on the Patriots' opening drive of the second quarter, as quarterback Tom Brady found him virtually unaccounted for as the ball was snapped. The versatile playmaker has done well to both beat man coverage and find space against zone coverage tonight, reminding many of the form he showed in 2011.

2. Wilfork dominating. The talk this week centered around a particularly disruptive defensive lineman. And he wasn't named Vince Wilfork. But the Patriots' defensive anchor has been sensational thus far with a sack, forced fumble, tackle for loss, and a number of space-clogging plays. As usual, he has led the way for the Patriots' defense.

3. Defense gets key fourth-down stops. The Texans crept into Patriots territory with just under five minutes to go in the half, but a pass break up from cornerback Kyle Arrington (the play could also have been classified as a drop by Kevin Walter) gave the Patriots the football back. Minutes later, the Patriots stopped the Texans again on fourth down, this time when quarterback Matt Schaub made a poor throw under pressure from linebacker Jerod Mayo.

4. Talib goes down. Cornerback Aqib Talib went down on the first play following the two-minute warning, but was able to walk to the sidelines on his own power. Tough to tell exactly what happened and what part of his body is banged up, but we'll keep an eye on this one going forward. As of this writing, the Patriots had not issued any formal statement on his status.

5. Penalty box. The following Patriots were flagged for penalties in the second quarter: tight end Aaron Hernandez (offensive pass interference), defensive end Trevor Scott (neutral zone infraction).
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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