The New England Patriots closed out the preseason with a 28-20 victory over the New York Giants. Here are some quick-hit thoughts to wrap up the game.
Strong showing for Ryan Mallett. Mallett had one of his strongest games in a Patriots uniform, finishing the day with 10 completions on 16 attempts for 117 yards, a TD, and a pick (although the interception wasn't really his fault)., He made good decisions, threw with purpose and accuracy, and led a few scoring drives. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Mallett has officially turned the corner, but it's good to see him finish the preseason strong.
Josh Boyce shines. We finally got the chance to see Boyce's speed on full display, and he didn't disappoint. He had a few nice catch and runs, a nice gain on a reverse, and a beautiful 40+ yard TD catch on a great Ryan Mallett pass. We haven't seen much from Boyce so far, and so it was good to see him get his reps.
Good day on defense. For the most part, the 2nd string defense played pretty well; even Marquice Cole had a pass breakup. Eli Manning saw some pressure, the other Giants QBs had to force some throws, and fringe players like Michael Buchanan and Steve Beauharnais showed flashes.
Jake Bequette a nonfactor. Bequette was one of the bubble players I was paying particularly close attention to tonight. He got the start and played for much of the game, yet did absolutely nothing with his opportunity. Granted, he was matched up primarily against 1st round pick Justin Pugh, but little if anything I saw tonight gives me any confidence that Bequette is worth a roster spot. The good news is that he may be able to clear waivers so the Patriots can stash him on the practice squad, where he can benefit from another year of coaching and strength training that could help him move some linemen.
End of the road for Adrian Wilson? Adrian Wilson played way more than any player guaranteed to make the roster did. He saw reps well into the third quarter, and got beat on a few throws to boot. I still say he makes the team, but I'm a lot less confident about that prediction as I was this afternoon.
Mixed bag for Leon Washington. Washington had a few good returns and a couple of decent runs, but he was also stuffed at the line or in the backfield a lot and had an absolutely boneheaded fumble on a 3rd quarter punt. The only thing that may be saving Washington was that nobody else on the team seemed to be able to get anything done in the return game either. Julian Edeleman should be assuming punt return duties, but if Washington isn't returning kickoffs I don't know who will be.
Injury free preseason. In a month that seemed to see an impact player go down for the year almost every day, the Patriots are fortunate to have gotten out of August relatively unscathed. of course, now that I've written that the entire team is going to come down with that staph infection the facilities management crew has been trying to prevent. But still, that the Patriots haven't been hit with the injury bug is something to be thankful for.
Tim Tebow. Need I say more? Horrendous. Don't be fooled by his TD passes.