Sunday, April 20, 2014
The Patriots lead the New Orleans Saints 17-7 at the end of the first half.
Here's a couple of observations:
1. Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, who had 37 catches coming in, was held without a catch. He was targeted four times. Cornerback Aqib Talib has matched up with him much of the time and is continuing his outstanding play this year.
Drew Brees' inability to get the ball to Graham has stymied the Saints offense, which had three three-and-outs in the first half.
2. The Patriots offense has been very balanced and very fast. New England is running a no-huddle most of the time to offset the Saints' aggressive defense. It hasn't always worked - New Orleans has four first-half sacks - but the Patriots have put together three nice scoring drives.
3. Stevan Ridley, who missed last week's game, brings another dimention to the running game. He has 61 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns. He's also caught one pass for 14 yards. That allows Tom Brady an extra second or two to find his receivers. And he's found seven this half.
4. The Patriots have lost only one home game in October since 2003, that a 41-17 rout to the Chargers. The San Diego quarterback that day? Drew Brees.
Sit tight, this one isn't over yet.Tweet
Mike Lowe has covered the New England Patriots since 1999 for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and has had a nice view of their emergence as one of the NFL’s premier franchises.
He’s been at the paper since 1982 and has covered everything from a Little League World Series to the Summer Olympics. He is married to Tracie and they have three children and two grandchildren.
Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeLowePPH.