Brady and the First String Offense Get into a Groove. Tom Brady made his preseason debut tonight, but he played like he was in mid-season form. The Patriots kicked things off with a dominant five play drive. In fact, Brady led the Patriots to touchdowns on the first three drives. Brady finished the night 11/19 for two touchdowns, although the stat line doesn't really give justice to how dominant he looked.
Andre Carter Makes an Impressive Debut. By most accounts, Andre Carter had a very impressive week of training camp leading up to his debut in tonight's game. The strong practices really paid off, as Andre Carter led a very impressive Patriots pass rush, lining up at both left and right end. He was a three down player as well.
Pass Rush in Full Force. The Patriots impressive pass rush went well beyond Andre Carter. Mark Anderson once again looked impressive, combining on a sack with Jerod Mayo. Mayo himself was all over the field. Playing the outside linebacker spot, the Patriots used the All-Pro on a variety of blitzes that gave him several free lanes at the quarterback. The Patriots also got some pressure up the middle from the likes of Gerard Warren, Myron Pryor, Vince Wilfork, and Kyle Love. Overall, it was a fantastic night for the Patriots front seven.
Green-Ellis and Woodhead Shine. When the Patriots' passing attack stalled a bit during the second quarter, Patriots' running backs BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead began to carry the load for the team. Green-Ellis carried the ball 11 times for 51 yards while Woodhead garnered 63 yards on just five carries.
1st Half Shut-out. The Patriots first string units really beat up on the Buccaneers tonight. At half-time, the score was 28-0. And the Patriots flat-out dominated on both sides of the ball. It's hard not to drink the kool-aid after the performance we saw tonight from the Patriots starters.
Ryan Mallett Sand reserve offense struggles. Perhaps the expectations were a little too high for Ryan Mallett in his second pro game (following a terrific debut against the Jaguars). Mallett really struggled with his accuracy tonight. The pick-six was the low point. Mallett did however have a couple of nice throws to Matthew Slater on a field goal drive in the third quarter.
Stevan Ridley's Performance a Bright Spot. As horrendous as the Patriots' second string offense looked in the second half, Stevan Ridley looked that impressive. He did have one lost fumble, but aside from that was running with a purpose for a second straight week. He really seems to excel on the stretch run, and also once again proved to be a capable receiver, bringing in 27 yards on three catches. On the ground, Ridley picked up 84 yards on 14 carries.
Raheem Morris' Bucs Talented, But Undisciplined. The Bucs are a young, talented team. They applied some good pressure on the second quarter and have good momentum following their 10-win campaign in 2010. However, I was a little bit surprised at how undisciplined they were as a team. The team had a boat-load of penalties, and really seemed frustrated at times. The two helmet-to-helmet hits on Chad Ochocinco and Danny Woodhead were pretty uncalled for. I saw a lot of players pushing and shoving after plays. At one point, the Bucs' reserve center (#68?) took off his helmet in frustration (should have been flagged), and on the ensuing play taunted Patriots defenders (on a five yard gain). Not a cool move when your team is down 24 points in a preseason game. The Bucs are talented and are definitely headed somewhere, but the 34-year-old Raheem Morris needs to make sure he has his team under control.