Some highlights from the second quarter:
Branch helped get New England started to begin the second quarter. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
– Deion Branch opened the second quarter with a 45-yard reception catching a quick out route and then taking it up into Dallas territory.
– Brady found Branch again on the next play on a no-huddle pass for 12 more, with New England going into high gear for seven straight no huddle plays. Â They drove down to the Dallas 7 after BenJarvus Green-Ellis picked up 11 on a 3rd and 18, but they were eventually forced to kick a 26-yard field goal, giving them a 6-3 lead with 12:10 to go in the half. Â The reason for the third and long was a holding penalty on rookie Nate Solder, which unfortunately put them in that situation.
– Following that drive Brady was spotted on the sideline with an ice wrap on his right elbow/wrist. Â He would return on the next series after the defense held Dallas. Â Brady would hit Rob Gronkowski on a tight end screen on the first play of that series.
– Danny Woodhead had his first carry since being injured and spending last week inactive. Â He gained one yard on the play.
– Big play later in that drive, with Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker catching a pass inside the Cowboys 5 yard line, and taking the ball in for a touchdown after getting down near the goal line and then reaching the ball across the line. Â Welker got knocked out of bounds, but the replay clearly showed he reached across and the call was over turned, giving the Patriots a 13-3 edge with 8-minutes to go. Â The play came after 6 straight no-huddle plays, as New England once again turned it up tempo and prevented the Cowboys from adjusting.
– ChadÂ Ochocinco’s presence was scarce once again on Sunday, with the receiver seeing just four first half plays. Â Probably not the game he was hoping for going into the Bye week, and worse – it makes you wonder if Bill Belichick wasn’t impressed by the fact he was promoting the fact he’s been a non factor on Twitter yesterday by offering up T-shirts that said as much. Â His involvement in the second half should be something to watch.
- Dez Bryant made a good play against Patrick Chung, faking Chung out and picking up 33 yards on the play. Â On the play Bryant had to pull his pants up on the tackle, marking the second straight week fans have had to turn their heads thanks to a players butt being exposed. Â Last week was Green-Ellis getting that honor, and it was captured by several photo agencies.
- Kyle Arrington took a tough shot off of Tashard Choice after the runningback slammed into him and the two bashed helmets on the play.Â Arrington recently suffered a concussion early in the season, so hopefully he doesn’t suffer any setbacks thanks to that play. Â He was spotted on the field after the play and didn’t appear to miss any time.
– Dallas closed out the half on a high note, with the Cowboys scoring on a touchdown pass to tight end Jason Witten, his first reception of the afternoon. Â On the drive Dallas had the ball for 11 plays and 93 yards, holding the ball for 7:01. Â That closed the gap to 13-10 with the Patriots taking a 3-point lead into the locker room at the half.
– Some first half numbers: Â The two quarterbacks are nearly dead even thus far, with Tony Romo finishing 13-of-19 for 138 yards along with one touchdown, and an interception for a QB rating of 85.0. Â Tom Brady meanwhile is 10-of-14 for 138, 1 touchdown, and also has an interception, which came as the result of a tipped pass back in the first quarter on an attempt to Branch. Â His QB rating is 96.7.
Your leading receivers through two quarters of play are tight end Aaron Hernandez, who has 3 catches for 31 yards, followed by Deion Branch (2 catches for 57 yards), Rob Gronkowski (2 receptions for 21 yards), and Wes Welker (2 catches for 18 yards and a touchdown). Green-Ellis also had one catch for 11-yards.
– The Patriots were in the shotgun on 14 first half plays, and were in the no-huddle on 13. Â Those numbers exclude penalties.
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