One half is in the books, and it's all systems go for the New England Patriots in Nashville, Tennessee. After giving up a field goal to open the game, Tom Brady and the Pats rattled off 21 unanswered points to take a 21-3 lead over the Tennessee Titans into halftime.
Rob Bironas connected on a 28-yard field goal with 8:47 left in the first quarter, putting Tennessee on top after a 12-play, 70-yard drive that was highlighted by a conversion on fourth down and inches in Patriots territory by Titans second-year quarterback Jake Locker, who successfully targeted Nate Washington on a 24-yard pass.
That would be all the offense for the Titans, however. New England, after coming up empty on its first offensive possession, put together its first scoring drive late in the first quarter. Brady (10-for-13, 123 first half passing yards, two touchdowns) found Aaron Hernandez for a 23-yard touchdown pass with 2:05 left in the quarter.
New England's defense stepped up to the call in the second quarter, as rookies Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower teamed up for the forced fumble and recovery for a touchdown, respectively, at the 11:16 mark. At the end of the first half, Brady again led the Pats on a lengthy drive, this time 12-plays, 67 yards, and found Rob Gronkowski (three catches, 37 yards) for a two-yard score, capping off the first-half scoring.
Brady played well in the first half, but so did Stevan Ridley, who racked up 58 rushing yards on nine carries. Brandon Lloyd, who dropped a wide open pass on the Patriots' first drive, made up for his miscue with a nice diving catch later in the first quarter and finished with 36 receiving yards.
Jake Locker threw for 126 passing yards in the half, but was picked off by rookie defensive back Tavon Wilson. Locker threw passes to eight different receivers and led the rushing game with 11 yards on the ground. Chris Johnson had nine rushing yards on nine carries.