Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New England Patriots [Print without images]

Sunday, December 23, 2012
Quick-hit thoughts on third quarter

By Field Yates

Entering the final period of play, the Patriots lead the Jaguars 16-13. Passing along quick-hit notes and observations from the third quarter:

1. Patriots open scoring with field goal. It wasn't a touchdown, but the Patriots kickstarted the second half with a solid opening drive that resulted in a 38-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski to give his team its first lead of the day. On the drive, receiver Brandon Lloyd was targeted on three of the first five snaps and looked to be in a better rhythm with quarterback Tom Brady than in the first half. Lloyd was the intended target on Brady's second interception and leads all Patriots receiver in targets on the day.

2. Cole makes big play. Veteran defensive back Marquice Cole came up with the first turnover for the Patriots defense on the day, intercepting Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne. The interception gave the Patriots a turnover forced in 26 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL. It was Cole's first interception as a Patriot.

3. Jags picking up defensive pressure. The Jaguars entered Sunday with a league-low 15 sacks, but have done well in the third quarter to disrupt Brady. Former Patriot Jeremy Mincey was able to get to Brady for a sack, but was flagged for a personal foul call for helmet-to-helmet contact. The Jaguars sacked Brady again on the very next play and have landed eight quarterback hits on Brady.

4. Offensive driving, defense stifling. The Patriots will open the fourth quarter knocking on the door to open up their lead to 10 points, and the offense finally seems to be gaining traction. Defensively, the Patriots have tightened up, not allowing the Jaguars to make much progress since surrendering 13 early points.

5. Penalty box. The following Patriots were flagged for penalties in the third quarter: cornerback Kyle Arrington (pass interference).