Curran's first-half thoughts from Pats-Browns

Curran's first-half thoughts from Pats-Browns
December 8, 2013, 2:45 pm
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FOXBORO -- Another week, another stagnant start from the Patriots offense which managed just eight first downs and 129 yards with 10:10 in time of possession. Drops, protection issues and a Tom Brady interception marred the Patriots first half performance. For all the times we’ve heard, “This can’t continue…” we’ll see if this is the week the flatness extends into the second half. This isn’t really rabbit-out-of-a-hat stuff in the second half, it’s simply catching the ball, protecting the quarterback, and making the throws when they are there.
* The Browns’ first drive appeared to be poised to end with a fumble when Dont’a Hightower, playing with more vigor than normal, hauled down Greg Little on a short crossing pattern and seemed to force a fumble. Bill Belichick was ready to challenge but was advised that forward progress for Little had already had his forward progress stopped prior to the fumble. Seemed a tough ruling that, had Little wriggled free and continued downfield, would have set the stage for howling from the Cleveland side. Referee Jerome Boger is presiding.
* Stevan Ridley re-emerged after his exile that dated back to the first quarter two weeks ago against Denver. He had three carries for 4 yards in the first half.
* The drops in the first half were epidemic. There was one on a long throw to Julian Edelman that nicked off both his hands, one by Josh Boyce, one by Shane Vereen, one by Rob Gronkowski, an overthrow of Gronkowski, another one to Gronkowski that had a miscommunication and a scramble by Brady when he expected more work from Danny Amendola to uncover, amounted to a 7-for-19 for 95 yard first half for Tom Brady.
* Alfonzo Dennard left the game with a limp left arm in the first quarter but was back on the field before the end of the half.