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Thursday, November 22, 2012
Sharing some halftime thoughts

By Mike Reiss

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Sharing some thoughts at halftime as the Patriots lead the Jets 35-3:

This is a stunning turn of events.

In one respect, credit to the Patriots for making it happen. In another respect, this is an embarrassment for the Jets, who at 4-6 are basically playing for their season (what does this say about them?).

Let’s focus on the Patriots.

After a scoreless first quarter, they exploded in the second (3 touchdowns in 52 seconds). Overall, they were sparked by creating four turnovers, and this is a big part of their identity –- their ability to take the ball away (they entered with a plus-20 differential, the best mark in the NFL).

The turnovers:

1. Steve Gregory interception.

2. Brandon Spikes forced fumble, recovered by Gregory.

3. Gregory fumble recovery for a touchdown on a Mark Sanchez fumble in which he ran into his own player after a miscommunication on a handoff (tremendous push by Vince Wilfork).

4. Julian Edelman fumble recovery return for a touchdown on a fumbled kickoff return (big hit by Devin McCourty).

From an X’s and O’s perspective, the Patriots are staying primarily in their 2 TE package, even without Rob Gronkowski. Six-year veteran Daniel Fells is getting the majority of the snaps alongside Aaron Hernandez. Also, second-year running back Shane Vereen has made his biggest impact as a Patriot, taking a third-down pitch and converting in the first quarter, and then racing with an 83-yard touchdown catch in the second.

The Jets were hanging tough early, and after a scoreless first quarter, the thought here was that it was an early victory for them.

But that changed quickly -- thanks to a combination of Patriots playmaking and Jets ineptitude -- and had the fans at MetLife Stadium chanting for Tim Tebow.

The Jets get the ball to start the second half ... but will anyone be in the stands to see it?