Curran: 5 from the first

Curran: 5 from the first
October 16, 2011, 9:50 pm
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FOXBORO -- Five thoughts from the first half:
Pretty sloppy first half with eight penalties, two fumbles and two interceptions. Sometimes it looks a little ragged when two teams who haven't faced each other in a while try to feel each other out. That seems to be the case here.
After two games in which they kept outside receivers relatively (RELATIVELY!) quiet, Dez Bryant has gotten after the Patriots' secondary with four first-half catches for 78 yards. On one third-and-8 reception on the Cowboys' first drive, Devin McCourty - singled up on Bryant - gave a wide cushion that was slow to close on a deep in-cut that went for 21 yards. Bryant also had a terrific catch-and-run on which he made a catch on the sideline, deked Gary Guyton and Patrick Chung to the ground then rumbled for extra yards. The Patriots have been bringing extra blitzers at Tony Romo today. The first-half pick by Romo was aided by a pressure from Brandon Spikes. Blitzes by Kyle Arrington and Guyton didn't yield positive results, though. So far, it's hard to say definitively that Rob Ryan's edge as the Cowboys' defensive coordinator has carried over too drastically. The Patriots have gone up-tempo to take advantage of the Cowboys personnel changes on a couple of plays. They also schemed up a tight end screen to Rob Gronkowski that gained 20. Brady's been sacked twice and has had to deal with pressure. Not a good half for rookie Nate Solder and Logan Mankins had an uncharacteristic missed block on one of the sacks. Good half for veteran defensive tackle Gerard Warren. He had a tackle-for-loss and a rush tht resulted in a big holding call on Kyle Kosier that wiped out an end zone pass interference on McCourty (McCourty seemed to be expecting safety help from Chung on the play and was forced to run into the intended receiver). Chad Ochocinco's been a non-factor. Just like the t-shirts say.