The New England Patriots defeated the Chicago Bears with a final score of 23-22. This is what we learned.
Jimmy Garoppolo looks like he can win in the NFL
Garoppolo was on fire and finished the night 16 of 21 for 181 yards and a touchdown. He had one bad passing decision on the night, with the others either throwaways or right off the hands of the receiver. If he can play with the confidence and poise that he showed against the Bears, I don’t see why the Patriots couldn’t go 3-1 over the first quarter of the season.
Tyler Gaffney looked good, but LeGarrette Blount looked better
The Patriots running back competition is heating up and Gaffney is doing everything he can for a roster spot. Don’t look at the statline for Gaffney; he did well with what he was given. Blount just turned up his performance another gear. Now Gaffney plays special teams and can catch the ball, but Blount’s a special runner when he’s trying. The real question is whether or not the coaching staff can get Blount to try in the regular season.
AJ Derby adds to his claim for a roster spot
Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett are roster locks, but Derby is competing with Clay Harbor for the final tight end job. Derby collected 6 receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown, including a circus grab down the sideline. Like Gaffney, Derby is doing everything he can to win a roster spot- and I think Derby just might do it.
Joe Thuney continues to look amazing and settles the entire line
The Patriots have been looking for an answer on the offensive line and Thuney has been everything the team has needed and more. He was the best run and pass blocker on the field and he helped left tackle Nate Solder settle down and regain the franchise left tackle form he showed back in 2013.
Anthony Johnson comes out of nowhere to compete at defensive tackle
Anyone know a thing about this guy? Johnson came on the field with the second team defense and wreaked havoc on the Bears offensive line. He collected a sack, a QB hit, and a tackle for loss. He made noise in the backfield of the Bears on numerous plays and could build himself a role in the Patriots defensive front. The 6’2, 310-pound defensive tackle could adopt the role of Dominique Easley on pass rushing downs.
Darryl Roberts is still competing for a roster spot
The top four cornerback roles are locked up with Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Justin Coleman, and Cyrus Jones. The fifth and likely final roster spot will go to Roberts, Jonathan Jones, or Cre’Von LeBlanc. Jones and LeBlanc entered the game ahead of Roberts, but a trio of pass defenses by Roberts showed why everyone loved him in the 2015 preseason. This competition is far from over.