Quick-hit thoughts after third quarter

October, 13, 2013
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Entering the final quarter of play, the New England Patriots lead the New Orleans Saints 20-17. Passing along quick-hit notes and observations from the third quarter.

1. Talib dinged up. Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib, a critical player in the team's effort to slow down Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, is dealing with a hip issue and has received medical attention from the team's trainers. In his place, the Patriots have used Devin McCourty as a cornerback and brought on rookie Duron Harmon at safety. Talib is questionable to return.

2. Connolly downgraded to out. Patriots starting right guard Dan Connolly, who was injured during the first half, was downgraded to out after sustaining a head injury. Marcus Cannon has been called upon to step up in his place.

3. Saints even game at 17, Gostkowski kicks Pats back into lead. The Saints got points on each of their first two drives of the second half, first making a chip-shot field goal from 28 yards and then knotting the game at 17 on the strength of a Khiry Robinson three-yard touchdown run. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski put the Patriots back up 20-17 with a career-best 54-yard field goal late in the quarter.

4. Edelman triggers incentive clause. Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman hauled in his 40th catch of the season in the third quarter, triggering a $70,000 incentive clause in his contract. With 70 catches this season, Edelman would earn a total of $250,000 in bonuses.

5. Penalty box. The following Patriots were flagged for penalties during the third quarter: wide receiver Aaron Dobson (offensive pass interference), safety Duron Harmon (illegal block in the back) and wide receiver Aaron Dobson (holding).
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.



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