Curran: Quick hits from first half

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Curran: Quick hits from first half

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO -- Five thoughts from the first half:

Definitely an interesting half for Aaron Hernandez as he comes back from his MCL. Tom Brady targeted him a team-high six times and it was the last pass in his direction that was the most impactful. On a play that started with 9 seconds left in the half, Brady had Hernandez at the goal line and fired a pass that clanged off his hands and was picked off by Antonio Cromartie. He finished the half with 3 catches for 26 yards. He doesn't have the same bounce and escapability pre-injury but he is a big part of this plan. That half-ending pick hurt a little bit more when the Patriots - who deferred the decision to the second half - got the ball back and rammed it down to the Jets goal line. A prospective 24-7 lead went by the boards. The Jets struggled mightily on third down in the first half, going 1 for 5. They failed on each of their first three third-down situations and they were a total of 12 feet long. The Jets certainly didn't go to school on the Pats' weaknesses through the first four weeks. They threw four balls to outside receivers, completing three. One of them was a crossing pattern Plaxico Burress caught in the middle of the field. Joe McKnight was a beast on returns for the Jets. New York had 156 return yards on three kickoffs.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran