Sunday, September 22, 2013
Quick-hit thoughts after first quarter
By Field Yates
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- After 15 minutes of play, the Patriots trail the Buccaneers 3-0. Passing along quick-hit notes and observations from the first quarter:
1. Bolden gets start at running back. In his first game of the season, Brandon Bolden opened as the starting running back when the Patriots got the football to begin the game. Bolden has been slowed by a knee injury thus far, but looks to be close to 100 percent. The Patriots opened in a four-receiver set, going no-huddle with Bolden alongside Tom Brady in the backfield. Stevan Ridley made his first appearance on the team's second drive.
2. Bucs miss field goal, later add one. After a decent opening drive, the Buccaneers kicked themselves in the shin with a missed field goal from Rian Lindell (just 38 yards). Tampa Bay had a costly false start and a dropped pass on the drive. Of note, the Patriots used cornerback Aqib Talib to match up against wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who often aligns in the slot for the Bucs. On their second drive of the day, the Bucs arrived in the red zone before having to settle for a field goal.
3. Offense off to a sluggish start. The offensive struggles from Week 2 have carried over to the start of today's game, as the offense wasn't able to muster much in the opening frame. The receivers had difficulties getting open against the Bucs' talented secondary and the offense managed just 48 yards in total.
4. Three-cornerback look. We've seen a new look from the Patriots in the secondary, as they've often deployed three cornerbacks on the field to go along with just one safety (Devin McCourty). This could be as a measure to focus on the Bucs' three-receiver sets and perhaps pay less attention to the tight end, as the Bucs have dealt with extensive injuries at that position this season.
5. Penalty box. The following Patriots were flagged for penalties in first quarter: safety Steve Gregory (too many men on the field) and cornerback Kyle Arrington (pass interference).