Here are some observations and highlights from the first quarter:

The Patriots defense got off to a tough start, with the Jets getting in position for a field goal on their opening drive after easily moving down the field during an 8 play 61-yard drive.   They lucked out after the Jets missed the field goal wide left, but they definitely looked a little shaky. The key play of this drive was a 27 yard reception by Santonio Holmes, who beat Devin McCourty on the play.  The ugly part came when on the same play safety James Idehigbo took a bad angle and knocked McCourty out of the play, allowing Holmes to take the ball down to the Patriots 9-yard line.

– Uglier play of that drive: Jets fullback¬†John Conner absolutely leveled Patriots defensive end¬†Andre Carter. ¬†That’s one he’ll likely hear about in the film room this week


Andre Carter had two big first quarter sacks Sunday night. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

On offense, the Patriots suffered a tough early blow in this game, with offensive guard Brian Waters going down on the second play from scrimmage following a run by BenJarvus Green-Ellis.  He was replaced by Ryan Wendell.  He was seen laying on the ground with trainers working on what appears to be a leg injury.  They were seen putting a brace on his left knee, and it appears he could be returning to the game.

The Patriots got down to the Jets 27 yard line thanks to a 21 yard grab by Rob Gronkowski, along with a 12 yard catch by Chad Ochocinco. ¬†Unfortunately New England was called for an illegal substitution after Green-Ellis didn’t get off the field in time, which put the Patriots in a 3rd and 17 they couldn’t convert. ¬†They would be forced to settle for a 50 yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski, putting them up 3-0 with 8:10 to go in the first quarter after a 9-play 48 yard drive.

On the next drive the Patriots defense stepped up, with Carter sacking Mark Sanchez to force a punt, giving New England the ball at their own 27-yard line.

It was Ochocinco who put the Patriots deep in Jets territory thanks to a 53-yard reception by the veteran receiver, who Brady found up the right sideline.  On the play Ochocinco caught the pass at about the Jets 48 yard line, and took it down to the Jets 18.   From there they ran for no gain with Ridley, followed by two incompletions to Gronkowski and Woodhead.

That would lead them to settle for a 36-yard field goal by Gostkowski, giving them a 6-0 lead with 2:31 to go in the quarter.

– One observation made by WEEI’s Mike Petraglia on Twitter was the fact that Brady seems to not have quite the same zip on his throws tonight, especially on throws to the deep left. ¬†Something to keep an eye on.

The Patriots closed the quarter with another sack by Carter on Sanchez, who got him for a loss of eight yards on a 2nd and 6 at the Jets 34.  That will bring up a 3rd and long to start the second quarter.

Stats of note:

– The Jets are 0-2 on third down through one quarter.

РThe Patriots have 108 yards of total net yards on 14 plays, with the Jets having accumulated 82 yards on 16 offensive plays.  New England has 4 first downs, while the Jets have 5.

– So far Brady is 4-of-8 for 98 yards, while Sanchez is 4-of-7 for 63 yards and has been sacked twice, both by Andre Carter.