The Good Four-year veteran Dion Lewis officially stated his case in the competition to replace Shane Vereen as the team’s pass-catching back. He played the majority of snaps in that role after missing the preseason opener, showing a notable burst after the catch, determination in the red zone (11-yard TD run in the third quarter) and willingness to step up and pick up the blitz. He’s making a run at 2014 fourth-round pick James White, who took the majority of snaps last week but also flashed a bit against the Saints as well.
We learned that new addition Jabaal Sheard is a Jabaaler. He could be a nice addition to this team.
Garoppolo shows growth: A week made a big difference for Garoppolo, who was confident, decisive and accurate for most of the game in finishing 28-of-33 for 269 yards with one touchdown and one interception. One highlight was a 24-yard touchdown to rookie receiver Chris Harper, escaping the grasp of a defender clinging to his ankle, to cap off a two-minute drive at the end of the second quarter. This was the type of game Patriots fans could look at and have confidence that Garoppolo would be capable if he’s called upon should Tom Brady not be available for the first four games of the regular season due to suspension. (Which is looking like it might be over turned..)
When it was starters vs. starters the Patriots looked… Not very good. Brady played three series and they were all three-and-outs. Negative running plays on first down on two of the drives didn’t help. Brady is zero cause for concern for me, I expect him to unload on the league once the season starts… On defense, the Patriots were mostly carved up by Saints quarterback Drew Brees. It was 21-0 until the Patriots scored with 14 seconds remaining in the second quarter. No reason to be concerned…
One reason to be concerned: The secondary, which was experimenting with Devin McCourty at right cornerback and Duron Harmon replacing him as the center-field type safety, gave up a 45-yard touchdown pass from Brees to Brandin Cooks. Overall, coverage wasn’t good early in the game. After the game, McCourty expressed his frustrations on the move to cornerback…
Devin McCourty called the move to cornerback “frustrating” but added it really doesn’t matter what he thinks or feels. It’s up to coaches
— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) August 23, 2015
Who got hurt? The most notable injury was with veteran receiver Brandon Gibson, who limped off and appeared to be in some pain late in the fourth quarter.
Also, it’s notable that tight end Rob Gronkowski and starting linebackers Jerod Mayo and Dont’a Hightower were held out as healthy scratches. Bill Belichick wasn’t taking any chances with them and rightfully so… WR Josh Boyce saw no action and after last weeks poor performance, that could have been the end for him..
Gostkowski kicked the game winner from 35 yards to give the Patriots a 26-24 win.. Overall as bad as the Patriots started the game, they looked equally as good in the second half… Another step in the right direction for this team.
Next Game: Friday 7:30 PM VS. The Carolina Panthers