It hasn't exactly been a picture-perfect first half for the Patriots. They've struggled consistently - especially on offense. Yet after 30 minutes, they lead the Dolphins 17-10 in a game that could clinch them the AFC East division. Quick thoughts:
- Tom Brady has struggled in this one, missing on several throws, and forcing a throw to Aaron Hernandez that was intercepted by Reshad Jones. The pass-run ratio has been awful, with Brady throwing 26 times, and Stevan Ridley carrying the ball four times for four yards. Ouch.
- The bright spot on offense has been receiver Wes Welker, who has recorded 10 receptions for 89 yard touchdowns and a bubble screen that went for a touchdown. Tight end Aaron Hernandez is second with three catches for 41 yards, but also has two drops. Receiver Brandon Lloyd meanwhile, has yet to be targeted on Tom Brady's 26 pass attempts.
- On the injury front, right guard Dan Connolly went down, eventually going to the locker room. He was replaced by Nick McDonald, who allowed a sack to Paul Soliai (and looking pretty dreadful in the process).
- Defensively, things have been a little up and down. The unit started the game by forcing two three and outs, and also forced a second quarter strip sack of Ryan Tannehill (Trevor Scott with the sack/fumble, Vince Wilfork with the recovery). However, they let up a long touchdown drive to end the first half, and have struggled to slow down Reggie Bush.
- You can't help but wonder what the score of this game would be had a couple of breaks not gone the Patriots' way - such as the muffed punt by Dolphins punter Brandon Fields on the opening drive, and the late hit on Zoltan Mesko that extended an eventual Patriots scoring drive.
- The Patriots get the ball to start the second half, so they will have the chance to turn things around on offense.