Third quarter, 3:43, Patriots 34-17: The Bengals are chipping away at the Patriots’ lead. Green caught a long pass over Revis and the Patriots cornerback came out of the game with a left hamstring injury.
On the next play, Dalton hit Green for a touchdown over Logan Ryan. It appeared that Ryan jarred the ball loose, but the play stood.
The Patriots have a 34-point lead.
Third quarter, 6:00, Patriots 34-10: The Patriots kicked off, former-Patriot Brandon Tate took it out 15 yards and Brandon Bolden forced it out with a well-timed hit. Arrington picked it up, took it in for a TD and did a double somersault.
Third quarter, 6:06, Patriots 27-10: Something tells me Brady won’t be at odds with his coaches after this one.
Brady drove the Patriots down the field on a five-plus minute drive and hit Gronk with a 16-yard TD pass.
Gronk has six catches for 100 yards and a TD, and Wright has five catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. New two-tight end offense?
Third quarter, 11:27, Patriots 20-10: The Patriots are allowing costly penalties to prevent them from closing out this game. They got stuck in a third-and-21 scenario after a false start and two terrible runs.
The Patriots allowed a 46-yard punt return, then Dalton hit Sanu for a 37-yard touchdown pass.
The Bengals are down two scores.
Third quarter, 13:56, Patriots 20-3: The Patriots’ defense shut down the Bengals on the first drive of the second half, despite the fact that Devin McCourty was on the sideline and Easley never came out of the locker room.
Dalton threw two incomplete passes and Bernard picked up 5 yards on the ground.
The Patriots have the ball at their 31-yard line after safety Don Jones was called for holding on the punt return.
End half, Patriots 20-3: After all that craziness, the Patriots settled for a 19-yard field goal from the 1-yard line.
Brady hit Gronk for a big gain on the first play of the drive.
Brady is 11 of 19 for 153 yards with a touchdown so far. The Patriots have 110 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown. Gronk and Wright each have 60 yards receiving.
The Patriots’ defense allowed just 121 yards in the first half.
Devin McCourty is questionable to return with a rib injury. Dominique Easley is dealing with a shoulder ailment.
Second quarter, :49, Patriots 17-3: The Patriots had to settle for a field goal after Brady couldn’t convert on third and 3. Stephen Gostkowski nailed it from 48 yards out.
Brady targeted Gronk on third down, but the big tight end slipped and couldn’t haul in the pass.
On the Bengals’ first offensive play, Dalton hit Green for a first down, but Revis knocked the ball out. It was recovered by Jamie Collins, who then fumbled it, and it was recovered in the air by Dennard. Because there’s fewer than two minutes left in the half, the ball goes back to the spot of Collins’ fumble.
Second quarter, 4:33, Patriots 14-3: That was a very eventful drive — by the refs.
The Bengals drove down the field thanks to penalties and kicked a 23-yard field goal.
Alfonzo Dennard was called for holding twice, and Easley was flagged for an illegal block.
Second quarter, 9:07, Patriots 14-0: The Patriots had to punt on their second consecutive drive. A costly chop block by Dan Connolly pushed them back 15 yards after a first down.
Linebacker Jamie Collins was called for a personal foul on the punt, and the Bengals have the ball at their own 38-yard line.
Second quarter, 11:58, Patriots 14-0: Many predicted this would either be a Bengals blowout or a close Patriots win. New England is dominating Cincinnati so far.
The Patriots forced another three-and-out and have the ball at their own 26-yard line.
Second quarter, 13:53, Patriots 14-0: The Patriots’ offense was finally stopped by the Bengals thanks to some costly penalties.
Danny Amendola took a helmet-to-helmet shot on an incomplete pass from Brady. He’s questionable to return to the game with a head injury.
The Bengals have the ball at their own 26-yard line.
End first quarter, Patriots 14-0: The Patriots are looking like a different team after one quarter. They’re playing with aggression, grit and toughness.
It’s second and 17 from the Patriots’ 26-yard line.
First quarter, 1:45, Patriots 14-0: The Patriots stopped the Bengals on a three-and-out and forced the punt.
Dalton had Gio Bernard wide open, but overthrew the talented running back on third down.
First quarter, 3:12, Patriots 14-0: Whoa.
The Patriots REALLY aren’t messing around. Brady hit tight end Tim Wright for a touchdown, and the Patriots lead the Bengals 14-0.
Brady is 5 of 6 for 98 yards. The Patriots have 40 yards rushing on 10 attempts.
Brady got over the 50,000-yard career mark on a long pass to Rob Gronkowski. The crowd erupted in loud “BRADY, BRADY, BRADY” chants.
First quarter, 6:35, Patriots 7-0: The Patriots forced a field goal, and the Bengals missed it.
Chandler Jones, who was limited all week with a shoulder injury, sat out the first drive in favor of rookie Dominique Easley. Deontae Skinner started in place of Dont’a Hightower and Alfonzo Dennard started opposite Darrelle Revis.
Revis shadowed A.J. Green and picked off QB Andy Dalton, but the interception was called back because of offsetting penalties. Revis was called for illegal contact.
The Patriots have the ball at their own 42-yard line.
First quarter, 10:03, Patriots 7-0: The Patriots’ offense is not messing around.
Tom Brady is amped tonight, and he played like the vintage version of himself on drive No. 1.
Brady went 2 for 2 for 50 yards and ran for 10 yards on three carries. Stevan Ridley took it in for the score.
First quarter, 15:00: The Bengals won the toss and chose to defer. The Patriots will take the ball first.
8:02 p.m.: Based on pregame warmups, Deontae Skinner will start at linebacker and Alfonzo Dennard will start at cornerback.
7:56 p.m.: Here’s the latest Patriots starting offensive line based on pregame warmups: LT Nate Solder, LG Dan Connolly, C Brian Stork, RG Ryan Wendell, RT Sebastian Vollmer.
7:50 p.m.: Bill Belichick hopes to reunite with wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins one day.
The Patriots head coach said that the team cut Thompkins on Saturday because they needed depth at linebacker.
“I enjoyed working with KT,” Belichick said on 98.5 The Sports Hub. “Hope we get an opportunity to work with him in the future.”
Belichick also said that Brandon Browner and Brian Tyms needed some more time after coming off suspension before playing in a game.
7:07 p.m.: Dobson is active for the first time since Week 2. He could silence a lot of critics with a big game.
Dennard hasn’t played since Week 1 and should help improve a pass defense that struggled in Week 4 against the Chiefs.
Jamie Collins, Dominique Easley and Chandler Jones will play after being questionable.
The Patriots’ run defense could struggle against Gio Bernard without Hightower on defense. Hightower was limited in practice all week with a knee injury.
7:00 p.m.: Safety Nate Ebner, offensive linemen Cameron Fleming and Josh Kline, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, running back James White, defensive end Zach Moore and cornerback Malcolm Butler are inactive for the Patriots.
That means that wideout Aaron Dobson, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and Buchanan are active. Defensive tackle Casey Walker is set to make his NFL debut.
5:44 p.m.: Julian Edelman already made his appearance on the field making one-handed catches. He has a pregame catching routine and arrives to the stadium very early.
Patriots defensive end Michael Buchanan is working out in front of the team’s training and medical staff. Buchanan was dealing with an ankle ailment earlier in the season, but he has been taken off the injury report.
Offensive lineman Josh Kline was on the field serving as a tackle, helping Buchanan go through his tests.
Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron, who is on the non-football injury list, made the trip and is throwing on the Gillette Stadium field.
5:30 p.m. ET: The New England Patriots have a prove-it game on Sunday night in front of a nationally televised audience.
The Patriots square off against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium, and if they don’t win this game, the season could spiral out of control. The Patriots are 2-2, and their schedule only gets more difficult as the season continues.
The Patriots seem to match up well against the Bengals, however, and New England usually plays much better in front of their home crowd. If cornerback Darrelle Revis can shut down Bengals receiver A.J. Green, and if New England’s interior offensive line can shut down Geno Atkins, the Patriots could take this difficult matchup.
The Patriots have to get off to a hot start, however, and if they go three-and-out to begin the game, they might as well just go back to the locker room. The Patriots have to get their running game in order, and quarterback Tom Brady needs to get trust that his offensive line can protect him, so he can stay in the pocket and find his open receivers.
I have confidence that the Patriots’ defense will get back in order tonight, though they didn’t activate Brandon Browner, and Jamie Collins, Chandler Jones, Alfonzo Dennard and Dont’a Hightower are banged up.
Photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports Images
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