The New England Patriots completed their fourth and final preseason game, as they were defeated (once again) by the New York Giants by a score of 6-3. Lawrence Tynes finished off the Pats with a late fourth quarter field goal from 39 yards out.
New England was first to get on the board midway through the second quarter, as Stephen Gostkowski chipped in 27-yard field goal after Ryan Mallett got the offense within his range. Tynes eventually tied it up with a 41-yarder midway through the third. It was an ugly game offensively, but there were some great signs from the defense.
Some quick hit observations:
- Brandon Bolden seems to have made a strong case for a spot on the 53-man roster. He finished the night with a very solid 59 yards and 15 carries. He saw some opportunities in the passing game as well, coming up with some nice grabs.
- Jeff Demps also had himself a good night as well. His stat line of just 15 yards on six carries leads you to think otherwise, but you have to keep in mind the quality of his blockers. When Demps was getting his carries, the third stringers were in play. Demps also had some solid runs on punts and a few kicks. He went down in the fourth quarter with an apparent knee injury, but he said post game that he's OK. All and all, a great performance from the former Olympian. Hopefully the injury isn't too serious
- As mentioned before, the offensive line started off solid, but became worse as the game went on. It was great to see Sebastian Vollmer, who looked pretty comfortable, get some reps. Marcus Cannon showed minimal improvement in his reps. Dan Koppen and Dan Connolly both were both impressive at center, while Donald Thomas impressed me once again at right guard. Good to see the starters like Vollmer and Logan Mankins get a few reps before the season starts.
- With Tom Brady and the starting tight ends and receivers not playing, we got a chance to see some guys make a list minute push for a roster spot. Brian Hoyer seemed to perform well enough to at least end speculation that he may not make the roster. Jesse Holley, who played most of the game, had a few nice grabs and a few drops. Jeremy Ebert, meanwhile seems to be Practice Squad bound. Alex Silvestro had a few nice grabs, but it may be too little to late given the competition at tight end.
- Jermaine Cunningham. WOW. Talk about coming up in the clutch. With his roster spot on the line, Cunningham had a terrific game--recording two sacks and several nice pass rushes. He was arguably the best player on the field for the Patriots Wednesday night, and should be a sure bet to make the roster at this point.
- The Sergio Brown factor creeped up on me this evening. I had written this guy off really all offseason, but he seemed to prove me wrong with his special teams play. He had some vicious hits on both kicks and punts, but his coverage still proved to be lackluster. I still have him off my roster, but his special teams play may have saved him. Not sure though
- As for other bubble guys on defense, there were some whose stock rose and fell. Trevor Scott, Alfonzo Dennard, Jeff Tarpinian, Mike Rivera, Nate Ebner were all among those who made a case to stick around. But guys like James Ihedigbo and Niko Koutouvides (who injured his wrist) may be finding themselves unemployed