Quick-hit thoughts after third quarter

CINCINNATI -- Entering the final quarter of action, the New England Patriots trail the Bengals 6-3. Passing along quick-hit notes and observations from the third quarter:

1. Offense sputtering. It hasn't been pretty for the Patriots' offense, with nothing doing through three quarters. As the fourth quarter begins, quarterback Tom Brady has just 15 minutes to extend his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass. He's currently at 52. If he manages one in the fourth quarter, he'll have a chance to tie Drew Brees' record against Brees and the Saints next Sunday.

2. Rookie Jones shining. If one were to guess a Patriots defensive lineman with the last name Jones to record 1.5 sacks, most would go with Chandler Jones, their standout defensive end. But it's been the other Jones, Chris, who has shined thus far. Playing his most significant reps of the season, Chris Jones already has 1.5 sacks. He's held up well as one of the players charged with replacing Vince Wilfork.

3. Strong day for Allen. Credit rookie punter Ryan Allen for a strong start to the day, perhaps the best of his young career. He's placed three straight punts within the Bengals' 10-yard line. His punt late in the second quarter actually helped the Patriots get a shot to have the ball back at the end of the half to get their first three points.

4. Defense holding up its end of the bargain. As tough as it's been for the offense today, the defense has been very good. With just six points surrendered and three sacks, it's been another productive effort thus far. Top Bengals receiver A.J. Green largely has been held in check, and the run defense didn't allow a big play until the final snap of the quarter.

5. Penalty box. No Patriots were flagged for penalties during the third quarter.