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Patriots vs. Panthers: Game Thread #2

First half thoughts as the Patriots lead the Panthers' 13-0 in their 3rd preseason game.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

If the first half of tonight's preseason game vs. the Carolina Panthers was a dress rehearsal for the Patriots' starters, it hasn't been a half-bad start.

On offense, the Patriots got off to a bit of a shaky start.  Brady missed a couple of throws early, the running game was uneven, and the protection was a bit suspect.   After briefly being subbed for Ryan Mallett, Brady was close to perfect the rest of the half.  He hooked up with Kenbrell Thompkins several times, and connected with Shane Vereen for a 40 yard touchdown to give the Patriots a 10-0 lead.

The unit also generated a nice two-minute drive that was capped by a 60 yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal to close the first half.

The big story thus far has been the play of the Patriots' defense.  Chandler Jones has been a one man wrecking crew with two sacks and several run stuffs.  The pass rush overall has been solid, but that's been in large part due to stellar work by the secondary.  Even when Cam Newton has had time, he hasn't had anywhere to throw.  Very encouraging stuff.

Feel free to keep it here for second half discussion!