Curran's first-half thoughts from Pats-Saints

Curran's first-half thoughts from Pats-Saints
October 13, 2013, 6:15 pm
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FOXBORO -- The Patriots have jumped to a 17-7 lead over the unbeaten Saints, frustrating the New Orleans offense over the first 30 minutes. A few ruminations.
 
GRAHAM CRACKER IS TALIB
Nobody’s been able to slow down Jimmy Graham this season as his 593 receiving yards on 37 catches has shown. But so far, Aqib Talib’s size and hand-fighting have been too much for the 6-foot-7 Graham to extract himself from. Graham’s been targeted four times and has no catches. It’s unrealistic to think he’ll be silent all game, but the performance so far on Graham has been all the Patriots could have hoped for when they drew up their game plan.
 
USAGE OF TE
Michael Hoomanawanui had four catches coming into this game. He’s got three in the first half for 53 yards already in this game. Not sure if he was the first option on any of the throws but the fact he’s been generally left to his own devices left him completely unguarded on at least one of the completions.
 
RED ZONE
The Patriots are 2-for-3 scoring touchdowns on trips to the red zone. The return of Stevan Ridley has definitely helped down there as he busted in for both scores. The Patriots have carried 21 times for 97 yards in the first half with Ridley leading the way 11 for 61. The Saints could be more ground-oriented in the second half. They’ve only run the ball six times -- tough to swallow against a team without its defensive line depth.
 
PROTECTION LAPSES
The Patriots blitz pickup has been spotty and Brady -- even when he’s gotten the ball out -- has gotten bashed on a few throws. Brady was sacked four times in the first half.