START OF THE 3RD QUARTER:
Patriots have the ball to start the second half. Devin McCourty wtih the kick return, and brings the ball out accross midfield. Finally knocked out of bounds after a 52 yard return.
1st & 10: Maroney now in the game, and picks up about five yards after a quick cut and a burst up field. So far I’ve only seen two carries, but he’s been pretty decisive.
2nd & 5: Hoyer may have just made the play of the night. Facing intense pressure and about to be taken down, he throws a perfect strike to Hernandez coming accross the field for a gain of about 20 yards.
1st & 10: Maroney stopped for a short loss. New Orleans defensive line saw that one coming and he had no chance.
2nd & 12: They run him again, this time Wendell and LeVoir make a hole for him to run through and he picks up about 6 on the play.
3rd & 5: Quick pass to Edelman who works his way inside the 5-yard line. It looked like the Saints were offsides on this play, and sure enough there’s the announcement. This should put New England down at about the three or so.
1st & Goal: Maroney again, but only gains a couple. Hoyer dodges a bullet when Gronkowski is in motion and bumps right into him after the snap.
2nd & Goal: Maroney gets another carry, and is stopped just short oif the goal line. Linebacker Thomas Williams in at fullback but gets completely blown up on the play in a not-so-impressive attempt at a lead block.
3rd & Goal: Maroney gets in, with Hernandez coming in motion and making the block. Williams also redeems himself with a good block on this play.
Patriots now lead 24-7 lead with 10:35 left in the quarter.
A bad sequence of events on the ensuing kickoff. Ross Ventrone gets completely obliterated as he tries to come up to make the tackle, with Darnell Jenkins not wrapping up Larry Beavers’ leg when he could have taken him down at around the 21 yard line and letting him take off. Gostkowski triedto get over to knock him out of bounds as he got close to midfield, but from there he was off and running. It’s the type of play that you know Belichick will be less than happy about when it’s discussed after this one’s over. Officially a 97 yard return. Ventrone is seen shortly after being attended to by trainers.
Belichick looks – well…less than happy.
Saints kick the extra point and lead 24-14 with 10:17 left in the quarter.
Short kickoff, with McCourty making the return. Unfortunately Aiken is called for holding – which is definitely a terrific way to follow up the last play. I’m sure Belichick is thrilled.
1st & 10: Hoyer hands off to Maroney, who heads right and cuts upfield for a gain of 13 yards or so. Good blocking by Price downfield. Thomas Welch at right tackle and also makes a good block.
1st & 10: Play action pass that should have been caught by Jenkins, but he drops it. Would have been a nice way to redeem his missed tackle had he caught it. Just moments after complementing Welch, Cross called him “Ed Welch”. I’m not impressed with the home broadcasting crew this evening.
2nd & 10: They tried to run another quick play to Hernandez, but Randall Gay breaks it up. Criqui calls him a “former Saint”. Maybe he knows something Gay doesn’t….
3rd & 10: Saints get pressure in from the right side, with LaVoir giving Hoyer no shot at getting a throw off on this play. Gronkowski also pushed back.
4th & 10: Patriots punt, with Mesko trying to pin New Orleans in on the sideline. It’s a 52-yard kick with just a 2-yard return. It’s no wonder the Patriots are only carryone one punter on their roster – he’s definitely all they need.
1st & 10 w/8:39 left: A perfect throw down the center of the field to a wide open Saints receiver, who is in the middle of a zone that is surrounded by three Patriots, with Wilhite, Sanders, and Fletcher all missing him completely as he takes it down inside the Patriots 20 yard line.
1st & 10: Saints go back to the ground game, with Brandon Spikes making the tackle.
2nd & 6: Ramsay throws a perfect out pattern with Wilhite in coverage, which is caught and run out of bounds at the 2-yard line.
1st & Goal: Saints run right up the middle and dive into the endzone, and once again Pryor is pushed right out of the way.
Saints kick the extra point, and now the lead is just 24-21 with 7:15 left in the 3rd quarter.
McCourty takes the ball back on another huge kickoff return, bringing the ball out to the Saints 47 yard line. Criqui calls him “Darren McCourty” and is quickly causing me to want to hit the mute button.
1st & 10: Zac Robinson now in the game. Patriots run up the middle, with Chris Taylor getting the first carry of the night but doesn’t pick up much.
2nd & 9: Robinson rolls out and completes a good throw to Hernandez. This kid has a good arm and looks like he throws pretty well on the run.
3rd & 6: Robinson gets absolutely destroyed after Ghiacuic completely misses his block, and fumbles away the football. He fumbles, and the Saints pick up the football and take off with the ball. But the Patriots catch a break when the Saints defense gets called for “illegal use of hands to the face,” which negates the turnover.
1st & 10: Chris Taylor carries again, but goes nowhere. Hernandez gets called for holding and they lose 10 yards.
1st & 20: Taylor takes off and picks up 8 yards. Can’t really see the play because Steve Burton is interviewing Sam Cunningham.
2nd & 12: Taylor runs again and picks up 4 yards. Unfortunately on 2nd and 12 – 4 yards isn’t enough.
3rd & 8: Robinson in the shotgun throws quick to the right for a completion to Taylor, but he loses 7.
4th & 8: Mesko booms another punt down to the 10. This kid has such a huge leg…at least he provides a highlight to each time these second and third team offenses sputter.
1st & 10: Ramsay rolls out and completes a pass in front of Kyle Arrington. Tough play – it was a good route by the receiver.
1st & 10: Saints run the ball, but Tyrone McKenzie comes up and makes the tackle. One of the first times tonight I’ve noticed him.
2nd & 9: Saints run it again, this time it’s Pierre Woods that makes the tackle, but not until after they pick up about 7 yards.
3rd and 2: Another run, but McKenzie again stops them short and forces a punt. He actually looks like a first team player against these third stringers.
4th down: Saints punt, Taylor Price on the return but can’t get anything going.
Patriots 1st & 10: Chris Taylor makes a nice run up the right side. Gets some nice blocking by Welch on the play, who pushes his defender away from him to help spring him.
2nd & 3: Taylor again with a run up the middle for a couple for a first down. Just had to correct a typo where it came out “Christ” Taylor. I’m guessing if he ever becomes a full time player, I wouldn’t be the only one making that mistake by hitting the “t” twice.
END OF THE THIRD QUARTER.