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Sunday, October 28, 2012
Quick-hit thoughts from 1st quarter

By Field Yates

After one quarter of play, the Patriots are tied with the Rams 7-7. Passing along some notes and observations from the opening frame.

1. Rams strike first. In a fashion that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick likely least-preferred to see, the Rams struck first on a 50-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Chris Givens. Givens navigated behind safety Tavon Wilson, earning his fifth straight game with a reception over 40 yards. The Patriots' secondary has endured obvious struggles in recent weeks, and that is not at all the start the group hoped for. Of note, Givens left the game and went to the Rams' locker room with roughly four minutes to play in the quarter. He is questionable to return with a toe injury.

2. Patriots return the favor. It didn't take long for the Patriots to even the tilt, as quarterback Tom Brady hooked up with former Ram Brandon Lloyd for a 19-yard score on the Patriots' opening offensive drive. It was Lloyd's second touchdown reception of the season, and a welcomed start after a Week 7 performance during which he hauled in just one pass on eight targets.

3. Arrington leaves game. On the Patriots' second defensive series, starting cornerback Kyle Arrington was replaced by reserve Sterling Moore. The Patriots announced that Arrington left the game with a head injury, and is now questionable to return. With Ras-I Dowling being placed on injured reserve on Friday, the Patriots are growing thin in the secondary. Practice squad defensive back Malcolm Williams was promoted to the active roster on Saturday afternoon.

4. Slick conditions. It's hard to gauge this precisely, but it sure looks like the playing surface is slick at Wembley Stadium. Receiver Julian Edelman took a screen pass and looked like he had a fairly direct path for a first down, but slipped without being contacted yards shy of the first-down marker. The stadium is predominantly the site of soccer matches, which typically are played on a shorter pitch.

5. Penalty box. The following Patriots were called for penalties in the first quarter: nose tackle Vince Wilfork (encroachment).