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Sunday, December 6, 2009
First-half analysis as Pats lead 14-10

By Mike Reiss

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Quarterback Tom Brady, and some poor pass coverage by both teams, are the stories of today’s first half, with the Patriots leading the Dolphins 14-10.

Brady, whose injured finger generated a buzz before kickoff, has been remarkable as the Patriots have dialed up the big play twice -- a 58-yard touchdown reception to Randy Moss on the team’s opening possession, and later connecting on a 58-yard catch-and-run with Wes Welker.

Brady is 13 of 14 for 196 yards and one touchdown.

Given the way the Patriots commanded the ball on offense, one would have expected them to be leading by more.

But their inability to convert a fourth-and-1 from the 6-yard line late in the second quarter kept the Dolphins within one possession, then the defense was shredded on the Dolphins’ ensuing two-minute drive.

Overall pass defense -- a combination of poor pass rush and shoddy coverage -- has been an issue for the Patriots throughout much of the game. The Dolphins' receivers are winning the one-on-one battles.

The Dolphins get the ball to start the second half.

The Patriots' inability to bury a team when the opportunity presents itself has resurfaced. What looked like it would be a blowout early is now a tight ballgame.