Curran: Six thoughts from the first half

Curran: Six thoughts from the first half
September 22, 2013, 3:00 pm
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(AP Photo)

FOXBORO -- Six quick thoughts from the first half of Patriots-Bucs . . .

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The Patriots showed sparks of offensive efficiency, which is the big-picture story. But the story of the first half is Tampa Bay’s inability to finish drives offensively and the Patriots ability to capitalize.

On the first drive of the second quarter, Tampa Bay went for it on fourth-and-5 from the Patriots 34. Mike Williams got his feet tangled with Alfonzo Dennard and the ball fell incomplete. On the Bucs' last drive of the half, Josh Freeman got picked off on first-and-10 from his own 31 when Aqib Talib undercut a Vincent Jackson route and the Patriots turned that into a 52-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal.

Mixed in were two Vincent Jackson drops -- one on a deep ball over Talib that would have been a touchdown -- and a semi-drop by Tim Wright on a ball into the end zone. The Bucs also missed a 38-yard field goal at the end of their first drive.

Freeman is 9-for-20 for 124 yards.

Other assorted observations . . . 

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Brandon Bolden’s first half is not going to look great on tape. He messed up in blitz pickup, allowing a sack that ended the Patriots' first drive. And he gave up on a play down the right sideline, thinking the play ended when Brady had directed a deep ball in his direction that bounced about five yards ahead of him.

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Talib is shadowing Jackson around the field and getting by with the help of some Jackson drops. Jackson has two catches for 22 yards.

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Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins have 6 catches for 56 yards and Thompkins has two touchdowns. They’ve seen nine passes directed their way. They’d caught 9 of the 31 balls they’d seen prior to today.

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That doesn’t mean that all is well with the passing game quite yet. Dobson had a drop when he settled in a route and Brady threw inside. He also tried to one-hand an end zone throw that Brady could have thrown high and completed to the taller wideout. Brady had two short-hop throws (one wiped out by penalty) and missed a downfield throw to tight end Zach Sudfeld when both Thompkins and Josh Boyce were running free as well.

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Jerod Mayo’s had a nice half with a sack and a key stop on a Doug Martin third-down reception.