The Patriots opened up the preseason by scoring 26 unanswered points against the Washington Redskins to go from being down 17-0 in the 2nd quarter to a 26-17 win. A pair of rushing touchdowns in the 4th quarter proved to be the difference. Here are some of the winners and losers from the Patriots’ win.
Winner: RB Jeremy Hill. The Patriots RB had an opportunity along with Mike Gillislee to showcase themselves with the first team offense. Gillislee struggled to get any traction going in the 1st quarter, so they put in Hill. Hill led the team with 51 yards on 11 attempts (4.6 YPC) and a 3rd quarter TD run from 1 yard out. He also caught 2 passes for 14 yards. In the tight competition for the early down RB with 1st rounder Sony Michel on the mend, Hill has definitely gotten ahead here. Hill fits the mold of Patriots bruiser RBs that come in on early downs to churn yards out in between tackles.
And also this little blitz pickup highlight where he combined with center Cole Croston to knock down a blitzing LB.
Jeremy Hill clearing real estate in blitz pickup. pic.twitter.com/qPqPpW5wPs— Oliver Thomas (@OliverBThomas) August 10, 2018
Winner: Ralph Webb. Webb might not make the roster, but he certainly turned some heads in this game. Webb played in the 2nd half and late into the game and saw 14 carries for 46 yards (3.3 YPC) with 2 TD while scoring on both 2-point conversion plays, 1 receiving and 1 rushing. After going undrafted out of Vanderbilt, Webb has shown early on that he could be a practice squad candidate for either the Patriots or someone else.
Loser: Mike Gillislee. As I mentioned earlier, Gillislee struggled to get any traction going early. He finished the day with 43 yards on 14 carries (3.1 YPC). In a heated competition for possibly one roster spot between him and mostly Jeremy Hill, who had a good day, that’s not a good development for a back who got a significant investment last offseason.
Loser: 1st Team Defense. 3 Drives: Midfield punt, TD, and long FG. The Patriots starting defense struggled to keep Colt McCoy and the Redskins offense from driving down the length of the field. The Patriots edge run defense was a bit leaky at times, but the bigger concern was secondary play. Preseason matchups for the most part are very vanilla offense/defense, so you’d like to see more effort from this group next week.
Winner: Ja’Whaun Bentley. Bentley came in with the 2nd Team Defense in the 2nd quarter and looked solid overall. He led the team with 6 tackles (5 solo), with a couple ending drives on 3rd down. He was targeted two times on the day in coverage, allowing both passes to be completed for 10 yards and no first downs, and delivered a QB hit in the 2nd quarter to McCoy. On the 2nd team defense, Bentley got the green dot as the defensive signal caller, which may or may not be a significant development in terms of his overall roster standing.
Winner: Trent Harris. Harris came in the game late, but flashed a bit. In the 4th quarter, he took advantage of a blown protection call that left him unimpeded to the QB and strip-sacked Kevin Hogan. Geneo Grissom recovered the ball and returned it inside the Redskins’ 1 yard line. On the next drive, Harris recorded a run stuff for a loss of 2 yards on a first down that started the series of downs that would end that drive after an Eric Lee sack and a short completion on 3rd down. It’s nice to see the undrafted FA out of Miami (FL) make an impact less than a week after the Patriots signed him.
Undrafted Miami product Trent Harris with the strip-sack and Geneo Grissom with the scoop and run. pic.twitter.com/E5FsLT4kdm— Oliver Thomas (@OliverBThomas) August 10, 2018
Winner: Derek Rivers. Rivers played semi-competitive football for the first time in his NFL. On the game’s opening play, he made the stop on a short run play from the backside and flashed pass rush ability. Here he punishes an offensive lineman with a bull rush for oversetting to the edge before he and two other Patriots meet at the QB.
Derek Rivers, playing in his first game in 364 days, off the left edge. pic.twitter.com/UhEAIRkZ80— Oliver Thomas (@OliverBThomas) August 10, 2018
If Rivers can stay healthy, he should make a large impact on the defense as both an edge setter and pass rusher.
Winner: Keion Crossen. In the crowded CB competition, the 7th rounder again continues to make plays. Crossen broke up a 3rd down pass in the 2nd quarter and got a QB hit on a nickel blitz. He was also in coverage on a 57-yard pass, although the gain would have been less severe if Jordan Richards didn’t whiff on the tackle attempt. Crossen though was able to stop the play at the 3 yard line to at the time keep Washington out of the end zone. His lack of height may limit him to slot duty in the NFL, but he has a solid skill set there with speed and quickness.