Through one half of play, the Patriots are in control, leading the Titans 21-3. Here are five observations from the second quarter of play.
1. Brady bloodied, but okay. Quarterback Tom Brady took a big hit on a third-down play, as Kamerion Wimbley tracked him down for a sack, and inadvertently hit Brady's nose with his leg at the conclusion of the collision. Brady's nose was bloodied and he received medical attention from Patriots staffers, but he was okay, and re-entered the game on the next drive.
2. Early impact from rookies. The play of the quarter was a strip sack by top draft choice Chandler Jones, who turned the corner on Titans left tackle Michael Roos. The loose football was scooped by fellow first-round pick Dont'a Hightower, who returned it for a score. Not to be overlooked, second-round pick Tavon Wilson forced the first turnover of the season for the Patriots, with an interception of Jake Locker in the end zone. Wilson made the play off of a tip by cornerback Kyle Arrington, a classic example of executing the "tip-drill." Impressive early returns from the Patriots' rookies.
3. Cannon sees time in lieu of Vollmer. Patriots right tackle Sebastian Vollmer was listed as questionable entering today's game, although he was on the field with the Patriots' starters as the offense took the field for the first time. He's spent the offseason nursing ankle and back injuries, and second-year tackle Marcus Cannon entered the game on the team's third series. This could be as a precautionary measure to afford Vollmer some rest, or also as a result of the injuries flaring up. The pair was alternated throughout the balance of the quarter.
4. Loose ends. Running back Stevan Ridley was a workhorse, and has been very impressive. He's looked decisive and quick. ... Wes Welker didn't haul in his first catch of the season until there were roughly four minutes remaining in the first half. ... Tight end Aaron Hernandez was used from the backfield on occasion, taking one carry for five yards. ... By this count, we saw newly signed running back/fullback Lex Hilliard in for just one play. On the Patriots' third-score of the half, right guard Dan Connolly shifted back to fullback, with Donald Thomas taking his spot on the interior of the line. ... The Patriots defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage, both against the run and in rushing the passer. ... Wilson earned some snaps in the Patriots' base defense. ... One theme of the offseason for the Patriots has been speed on defense. That was evident in the first half.
5. Penalty box. The Patriots did not commit a penalty in the second quarter.