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

Sunday, January 20, 2013
Quick-hit thoughts from third quarter

By Field Yates

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Entering the final period of play, the Patriots trail the Ravens 14-13. Passing along quick-hit notes and observations from the third quarter.

1. Still no Talib. It looks like the Patriots are going to have forge ahead without cornerback Aqib Talib, who was not on the field at all during the third quarter. With Talib dealing with a thigh issue, the Patriots turned to Kyle Arrington in his place, while veteran defensive back Marquice Cole was brought on as the team's nickel back. Rookie Alfonzo Dennard has emerged as the team's top cornerback tonight, with Devin McCourty and Steve Gregory remaining at safety.

2. Ravens score, take lead. The Ravens offense has been a little bit of a sputtering operation today, but two sustained drives have resulted in touchdowns, including a third-quarter connection from Joe Flacco to Dennis Pitta. The throw put an end to a drive that featured the Ravens doing well to expose the middle of the Patriots' pass defense, with linebackers and safety Steve Gregory struggling in coverage. The 10-play drive consisted of nine passes.

3. Welker makes huge catch, also has drop. Wes Welker may have made the play of the day in hauling in a pass up the seam thrown on a line by Tom Brady, which was followed by a crunching hit from Bernard Pollard that resulted in a personal foul penalty. Later in the drive, however, Welker had a critical drop on a third down play that led to a Patriots punt.

4. Patriots containing vertical passing attack. The Patriots have accomplished at least one of their defensive goals so far today: controlling the Ravens' vertical passing game. Torrey Smith has been unable to find space the football down the field, with credit due to both the Patriots cornerbacks and safety Devin McCourty, who has been involved in a number of downfield throws.

5. Penalty box. The following Patriots were flagged for penalties during the third quarter: cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (pass interference), offensive tackle Nate Solder (holding), team penalty (offsides).