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Patriots Live Blog: Pats Beat Buccaneers 25-21 In Home Preseason Debut

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
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Tom Brady (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Tom Brady (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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Final, 25-21 Patriots: A nice run by Tebow is followed up by two kneeldowns, and this one is history.

Fourth quarter, 2:00, 25-21 Patriots: Tebow may have just made his best play of the game, a five-yard scramble after handling a high snap. On the first play of the drive, he was hit as he threw a deep pass to Dobson, who was double covered. The wobbly duck got deflected by the Bucs and nearly into the arms of Dobson, but alas, Tebow’s magic apparently doesn’t work in the preseason.

Fourth quarter, 3:59, 25-21 Patriots: Mike Rivera comes through with a big play on fourth-and-1 near midfield, stopping Mike James short of the sticks to force a turnover on downs.

Fourth quarter, 25-21 Patriots: A 25-yard run by Bolden goes for naught, as Tebow throws incomplete on second down (no clear intended receiver) and can’t hit Bolden on a little screen when facing some pressure on third down.

Tebow is now 1-for-6 for negative-1 yards passing. Eek.

Fourth quarter, 8:34, 25-21 Patriots: The Bucs couldn’t get into the end zone, but another field goal by Derek Dimke cuts the Pats’ lead to four points. Another Tebow interception, and the Bucs could steal this one.

Fourth quarter, 11:17, 25-18: Tim Tebow is not having a good night. Nope.

On the second play of the drive, he handled a high shotgun snap and overthrew Kenbrell Thompkins by about eight yards. The pass went right to Mason Robinson, and he returned it to the New England 29. Not a good night for Tebow.

Fourth quarter, 12:11, 25-18 Patriots: Jamie Collins and Marquice Cole combined on consecutive plays to make goal line stops, which came after Marcus Forston got huge penetration up the middle and tackled Peyton Hillis for a loss of six.

However, the fourth down stop was negated by a defensive holding call on Tavon Wilson. Glennon hit Douglas on second down for a touchdown, and following an encroachment penalty on New England, the Bucs converted their two-point conversion. Hopefully, for the sake of everyone, they’ll go for two again if they score. Nobody needs preseason overtime. Nobody.

End of the third quarter, 25-10 Patriots: The Bucs are in the midst of a long drive here as the third quarter comes to a close. They’ve picked up 67 yards already, with Peyton Hillis finding some space to run.

Here are Levan Reid’s third quarter highs and lows:

Bucs with the ball to start the quarter and they move the ball but get nothing. Pats secondary is still pretty weak but Mike Glennon can’t hit any of the Tampa receivers, so they have to punt. Tim Tebow makes his way onto the field and people are cheering. Mallett was 12-for-20 for 137 yards and a touchdown.

Tim in and the Pats go 3 and out. He has a terrible pass that I guess was meant for Aaron Dobson. He was nowhere near it.

Bucs second possession of the quarter and the Pats defense comes up hard. Logan Ryan with the interception and he takes it 53 yards for a touchdown. He read the route and took it to the house.

This game now is just about watching Tim Tebow. He’s running his offense and sometimes it looks good and other times it looks terrible.

Third quarter, 5:00, 25-10 Patriots: It’s another three-and-out for Tebow, but not without a flash of Tebow. The QB scrambled on third-and-11 for about 18 yards, but it was wiped out by a holding call. On the ensuing third-and-long, he ran it up the middle (the second time this quarter) for an 11-yard gain, 10 yards shy of the sticks.

Tebow Time has decidedly not been a good time tonight.

Third quarter, 25-10 Patriots: Hey! It’s Tebow Time again!

A long pass to Derek Hagan was wiped away by a somewhat ticky-tack but understandable offensive pass interference penalty, and the Bucs ended up punting.

Third quarter, 8:47, 25-10: Logan Ryan just introduced himself to the Gilette fans by stepping in front of a deep out pass intended for Derek Hagan and taking it 53 yards to the house. The third-round pick out of Rutgers showed good instincts to jump that route, and from there it was a wide open path to the end zone. Nice play.

Third quarter, 10:01, 18-10: What an unforgettable 55 seconds of football, as Tebow’s first drive is a three-and-out.

He made a nice little cut on a designed QB run on the first play for a gain of four, and after Bolden lost three yards on a rush to the right side, Tebow threw a pass to nobody on third down. He locked in on one receiver, ignoring Aaron Dobson, who was open on a curl route in the right seam. Tebow just threw it into an empty area along the right sideline. Punt.

Third quarter, 10:56, 18-10 Patriots: The defense made a stop and forced a punt, and Tim Tebow now comes out for his first series as a Patriot at Gillette Stadium. A roar from the home crowd welcomes No. 5 into the game.

Third quarter, 15:00, 18-10 Patriots: The third quarter is under way, with the Bucs taking over at their own 21-yard line.

Here are WBZ-TV’s Levan Reid’s highs and lows from the second quarter:

Mallett gets the call to start the second quarter and the Pats go 3 and out.  Malllett with a low throw on 3rd down.  On the punt though some good news.  Zoltan Mesko with a hanger and Matthew Slater with a big tackle.

Bucs first possession of the quarter and the Pats defense is swallowing them up. Chandler Jones with another big play and Rob Ninkovich with a sack.  That’s 4 sacks on the game so far for the Patriots.

Pats second drive of the quarter and Mallett is better.  They moved him more in the pocket and with the use of short throws, they get the ball down the field.  The drive stalls but Stephen Gostkowski nails a 39 yard field goal and the Pats are up 11-0.

Bucs 2nd possession of the quarter and they get on the board.  The Pats second string defense struggles.  Kevin Ogletree of Tampa, kind of has his way with the Pats secondary.  Mike Glennon to Ogletree for 13 yards and a touchdown.  It’s the end of an 8 play drive.

Pats third possession of the quarter and they hit the end zone.  Mallett moves the ball down the field and then he hits Zach Sudfeld for 22 yards and a touchdown. Shane Vereen huge on that drive.

Bucs third possession of the quarter and the Pats defense hold.  Quick set of downs, the Pats get the ball back.

Pats final possession of the quarter and the Pats mess it up.  Shane Vereen and Ryan Mallett move the Pats in position for a 35 field goal.  A holding call and a false start call moves it to a 50 yard field goal and Gostkowski puts it off the upright.

That leads to a 41 yard passing play from Mike Glennon to Tiquan Underwood.  The Bucs convert on a 37 yard field goal to end the half.  Pats special teams has been terrible by the way.

Halftime, 18-10 Patriots: Tiquan Underwood — remember him? — found space up the right seam, and Glennon hit him perfectly for a 41-yard gain on the Bucs’ first play of the drive. That set them up for a short field goal before halftime.

It should be Tebow Time when the teams emerge from the locker rooms.

Second quarter, :23, 18-7 Patriots: Mallett looked good for a bit during that drive, but he then missed Sudfeld badly over the middle, made a bad decision to throw to a blanketed Josh Boyce on the right sideline, and then threw behind Shane Vereen on third down. It was a pass that Vereen got his hands on, but it wasn’t a good pass.

Gostkowski then hit a 34-yard field goal but it was called back due to holding on Hoomanawanui. Following a timeout, Chris McDonald got called for a false start, leading to a 50-yard field goal attempt. Gostkowski got plenty of leg into it, but his kick boinked off the right upright.

Second quarter, 2:00, 18-7 Patriots: Mallett hit his first two passes, connecting with Dobson for seven yards and Edelman for five more.  It’ll be first-and-10 from the New England 37-yard line after the two-minute warning.

Second quarter, 2:38, 18-7 Patriots: Bill Belichick called a timeout after a defensive stop in order to get Mallett and the offense some situational work here. They take over at their own 25 with 2:38 to play before halftime.

Second quarter, 3:48, 18-7 Patriots: Zach Sudfeld just made an unbelievable 22-yard touchdown pass over the middle of the field. Mallett threw it up there for the big-bodied tight end to get, and he did, though it wasn’t easy. Sudfeld had the ball knocked out of his hands by Najee Goode, but he showed incredible concentration to haul it back in on his way falling to the turf. That was a prime-time play.

Sudfeld spent a minute down on the turf, and I’m guessing it’s because he landed with the ball in his gut. Getting the wind knocked out of you is a small price to pay for a touchdown, though.

Mallett’s also settled down very nicely and looks a lot better. Forget all those bad things I said about him earlier, please.

Second quarter, 5:05, 11-7 Patriots: With most of the Pats’ starters on the sidelines and done for the night, the Bucs’ offense operated with a bit more ease, driving 65 yards in 4:09 to get on the board with a Mike Glennon-to-Kevin Ogletree touchdown pass.

Second quarter, 9:14, 11-0 Patriots: Aided by a post-whistle 15-yard penalty on Ahmad Black, the Patriots were able to get into Tampa Bay territory, and Gostkowski made his 39-yard field goal attempt look like a piece of cake.

Mallett completed three passes on that drive, an improvement from his first drive, when perhaps he was nervous and misfired badly on two throws. He still doesn’t look nearly as consistent as the team might want at this point, and any thought of another team being interested in acquiring Mallett via trade should be put on hold.

Second quarter, 11:37, 8-0 Patriots: The Bucs changed their quarterback, but the results were the same: Sack.

This time it was Rob NInkovich wrapping up Mike Glennon on third down, leading to another Tampa punt.

Julian Edelman ran for about 40 yards on the return, but none of them were forward. First-and-10 upcoming from the Bucs’ 31.

Second quarter, 13:36, 8-0 Patriots: The offense looks just a little bit different with Ryan Mallett at the helm instead of Brady, and it really showed on third-and-6, when Mallett threw a soft lollipop of a pass to Kenbrell Thompkins to bring on the punt unit. That punt unit, by the way, had Mesko back there, and Matthew Slater was able to close in on Eric Page as soon as he caught the ball. First-and-10 for the Bucs at the Pats’ 23-yard line.

Pats get the ball first and they score.  Tom Brady led them on a 15 play drive.  There were a couple of offensive line penalties but in the end, Brady to Danny Amendola for 26 yards and a touchdown.  They then went for a 2 point conversion and got it.  Brady to Zach Sudfeld.  Brady wasn’t touched at all on the drive.

Here are WBZ-TV’s Levan Reid’s highs and lows from the first quarter:

Pats get the ball first and they score.  Tom Brady led them on a 15 play drive.  There were a couple of offensive line penalties but in the end, Brady to Danny Amendola for 26 yards and a touchdown.  They then went for a 2 point conversion and got it.  Brady to Zach Sudfeld.  Brady wasn’t touched at all on the drive.

Buccaneers first possession and the Pats defense does a good job and they had to, Tampa had a 63 kickoff return.  Brandon Spikes with a sack on the first play and the defense holds there after.  Pats force the Bucs to punt.

Pats second possession of the quarter and they looked like they were going to do something.  Brady to Amendola was working.  9 yards here and then 14 yards there. All of a sudden the drive stalled.  LeGarrette Blount got in on  that drive, 3 carries for 10 yards and a catch out of the backfield for 12.

End of the first quarter and the Pats defense is just hammering Josh Freeman.  He’s been sacked 2 more times on  this drive and they are ready to punt the ball away.  Brandon Spikes is a one man wrecking crew.

End of first quarter, 8-0 Patriots: Another Tampa Bay punt is upcoming, thanks to sacks by Chandler Jones and Brandon Spikes. They deserve credit, particularly Jones for his tenacious rush through Donald Penn, but Freeman has been taking forever to get rid of the ball.

Doug Martin also left the game with what looks like a head injury after he took a knee to the head making a low block on Jones.

First quarter, 2:36, 8-0 Patriots: The first punt of the night comes, interestingly, from Ryan Allen instead of Zoltan Mesko. That’s one roster battle going on right now, so the coaching staff likely wants to see what Allen can do. They’re pretty familiar with Mesko’s work at this point. The punt bounced right on the goal line and into the end zone for a touchback.

The drive was working out before a third-down incompletion to Amendola. LeGarrette Blount got most of the work at running back, and he picked up 12 yards after making a catch in the left flat. He also lined up wide left, with James Develin wide right, on one play, leaving the middle of the field wide open for Amendola to pick up a big chunk of yards.

First quarter, 6:32, 8-0 Patriots: The Pats’ defense showed up from the get-go, with Spikes and Tommy Kelly getting in the backfield on the first play from scrimmage after a monster return by Michael Smith. Spikes got the sack, and after a short run by Doug Martin on second down, Freeman’s pass to Ogletree was just out of the receiver’s reach along the sideline.

After an Edelman fair catch at the 12, Brady and the offense gets back to work.

First quarter, 8:12, 8-0 Patriots: Tom Brady started, and Tom Brady excelled.

The quarterback was perfect on the long opening drive, and for good measure, he completed a picture-perfect pass to Zach Sudfeld for a two-point conversion.

Brady was 8-for-8 on the 80-yard drive, completing passes to Shane Vereen, Josh Boyce, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, who hauled in another beauty of a pass for the touchdown.

A key play on the drive came on a third-and-11 near midfield, when Brady patiently waited in the pocket before delivering a pass perfectly into the hands of Amendola, who caught it in stride and ran for the first down.

First quarter, 15:00: Leon Washington caught the touchback, and this one’s under way. Time for Tom Brady to get to work.

8:08 p.m.: Prior to the national anthem, Gillette Stadium held a moment of silence to honor slain MIT police officer Sean Collier, with dozens of members of law enforcement on the field.

Now, it’s time for football.

The Buccaneers called tails on the coin flip, which came up heads, and the Patriots elected to receive.

7:36 p.m.: UFC president Dana White was spotted on the sidelines, and he was sporting a Chandler Jones jersey. Jones’ brother, Jon, is a UFC fighter, so that makes sense.

7:23 p.m.: The blaring of “Allow me to reintroduce myself my name is Hov” over the Gillette PA means only one thing: Tom Brady is here.

No. 12 is out on the field for warmups, making passes and shaking hands with referees. He’s fully dressed, so it looks like he will indeed be playing.

6:46 p.m.: Many players have been out there on the field getting in some extra warmups, including Tim Tebow, who was one of the first guys to take the field for the Patriots and continues to throw passes to receivers. The fans are trickling in as well, and we’re 75 minutes from football in Foxboro.

One player notably absent thus far has been Tom Brady. That doesn’t mean much at this point.

5:30 p.m.: Obviously, things change year to year, and you can’t base a 2013 team based on what it did in 2012. Nevertheless, there’s only so much to go on at this point of the preseason. All of that is to say that it will be interesting tonight to watch the Patriots’ running game go up against the Bucs’ defense, which allowed the fewest yards per rushing attempt last year at 3.5. Not surprisingly, the Bucs also allowed the fewest rushing yards per game at 82.5, a full 7.5 yards better than the second-best team.

Last week, the Patriots running backs ran wild, amassing 248 yards on 31 carries for 8.0 yards per attempt. LeGarrette Blount ran for 101 on 11 carries, Stevan Ridley ran for 92 yards on just eight carries, and Brandon Bolden and Shane Vereen combined for a modest 26 yards on seven combined carries.

While the total numbers in a preseason game may not mean everything, it’ll at least warrant watching tonight when the first teams are up against each other what the Patriots can do on the ground.

5:08 p.m.: It’s a beautiful night for football. Well, it’s a beautiful night for anything, really, but if you had to play football, you could do worse than this weather. The sun is shining, the sky is clear, and in just a few hours, we’ll be under way.

And lucky for us, Tom Brady is going to play, according to reports, which obviously adds a whole lot more excitement here in Foxboro.

If you’re desperate for this game to get under way, you can pass some time by checking out our What To Watch For feature. You can also read who Levan Reid will be watching tonight.

4 p.m.: Good evening from Gillette Stadium, where we’re ready to see our first football of the year in New England.

It may not be real football in the sense that it’s still the preseason, of course, but the 68,000 or so fans who will fill this place in a few hours will be happy just to see the home team with their own eyes again.

They’ll be most happy to see No. 12 on the field, after the knee injury scare on Wednesday had scores of fans worried about Tebow Time or the Ryan Mallett Era. Fortunately for all involved, it is still Brady’s time, and it sounds like he’ll be playing tonight.

It may seem like too much risk to put Brady out there, when he could be resting his bone bruise, but he and Bill Belichick know a lot of work must be done before Week 1 rolls around in getting on the same page with the young and new receivers. Even if it’s just for two series, the value of that game experience outweighs the risk that, frankly, is always there for a quarterback.

But there will be much more to watch tonight, and I’ll have live updates right here in the live blog from pregame through the fourth quarter, when your uncle and cousin may be out there on the punt team.

Read more from Michael Hurley by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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