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Quick-hit thoughts on second quarter

12/30/2012

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

1. Ridley plunges in for score. The Patriots twice have gone for it on fourth down, and on their second attempt it resulted in a 1-yard touchdown run from running back Stevan Ridley, his 11th of the season. The Patriots have been mixing in a variety of running backs, with Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead also playing a fair share of snaps, but Ridley was called upon for the short-yardage situation, a role he has filled throughout the season.

2. Ninkovich, Fells go down. Defensive end Rob Ninkovich was off to a hot start before going down with 6:28 remaining in the half. The team announced that Ninkovich has a hip injury and is questionable to return. Tight end Daniel Fells, who like Ninkovich left the field and went to the locker room area, also is questionable to return with a hand injury.

3. Wind continues to play a role. In the first quarter, the Patriots opted to go for it on a fourth-and-6 situation from the Dolphins' 24-yard line toward the north end zone of Gillette Stadium rather than attempt a normally makable field goal. The decision was charged by boisterous winds in the Foxborough area, but they didn't stop the Dolphins from attempting a field goal in the second quarter from nearly the exact same spot (the line of scrimmage was the 23-yard line toward the same end zone). The result? A kick from Nate Kaeding that looked like an errant drive on the golf course, as the ball hooked right-to-left and missed by several yards.

4. Ridley scores again. With exactly one minute to play in the half, Ridley cruised in from two yards for his second score of the day. It was actually Vereen and Woodhead who did most of the heavy lifting on the drive, but Ridley once again was called upon to finish the job near the goal line.

5. Penalty box. The following Patriots were flagged for penalties in the second quarter: tight end Aaron Hernandez (false start), linebacker Dont'a Hightower (roughing the passer), guard Logan Mankins (false start).