FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quick-hit thoughts after the second quarter of the Patriots’ game against the Cowboys, with the Patriots leading 13-10:
1. Not the way we expected this game to be played. A lot of mistakes. Low-scoring.
2. The Patriots are quickening the pace offensively at times, making it hard for the Cowboys to substitute. The Cowboys were penalized for 12 men on the field early in the second quarter. Going fast has limited the Cowboys’ ability to disguise before the snap.
3. Another successful challenge for coach Bill Belichick on Wes Welker’s touchdown. He was 2 of 2 last week. Welker had urged Belichick to dig the challenge flag out of his sock after the play, feeling he was in, and he was proven correct.
4. The Patriots’ defense, which started fast, struggled on the Cowboys’ final drive of the half. The first area of note was bad tackling. Linebacker Gary Guyton and safety Patrick Chung both whiffed on receiver Dez Bryant up the sideline. They weren’t alone when it came to struggles tackling.
5. Tom Brady was spotted wearing a wrap around the right throwing arm on the sideline (link here). Sure to be a lot of questions to Brady on why the wrap was necessary. Perhaps a sore arm.
6. Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has been quiet, his lone catch a 1-yard touchdown with 33 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Lot of physical play by the Patriots, jamming him off the line, but he has had some free releases.
7. Ditto on the flip side, as the Cowboys have been focusing a lot of attention on Welker. At one point, outside linebacker Anthony Spencer rocked Welker at the snap.
8. Just four offensive snaps for receiver Chad Ochocinco in the first half. He continues to be a niche player in the offense, the fifth pass-catching option behind Deion Branch, Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
9. The Patriots split the running back reps evenly – BenJarvus Green-Ellis (11), Danny Woodhead (9), Stevan Ridley (7), Shane Vereen (2).
10. The Patriots get the ball to start the second half after choosing to defer at the start of the game.
11. Colleague Mike Rodak notes that Tony Romo and Brady both have 138 yards passing, 1 touchdown and 1 interception at the half. You don't see the QBs match up like that often.
12. Belichick once again wearing the Reebok ZigTech’s with the pink soles today. He did it in Oakland, and the pink ties in to the NFL’s Breast Cancer Awareness drive.