BOSTON (CBS) — The biggest “up” of Thursday night is the preseason is over, and we’re on to football games that count.
The Patriots lost to the Giants Thursday night, 17-9, to finish the preseason 3-1, but all of that will soon be forgotten. We’re just 10 days away from the regular season opener against the Cardinals in Arizona, with Jimmy Garoppolo set to make his first career start.
But before we get too excited about the very near future, we’ll take a quick look back at what went right and wrong for New England in Thursday night’s preseason finale.
First of all, the name Barkevious Mingo is awesome. Second, the versatile linebacker was everywhere in his Patriots debut, finishing with six total tackles, including a takedown of Giants running back Paul Perkins for a three-yard loss. He had a strip sack and forced a fumble (one was called back due to a New England penalty) and was harassing the quarterback, running back and anyone else who had the football in their hands throughout the game.
The former sixth-overall pick couldn’t be happier to be off the Browns and in the mix on New England’s defense.
Brady Finds A Rhythm
It was a shaky start, but Brady played the entire first half and found the rhythm he had been hoping for. He finished 16-of-26 for 166 yards, a touchdown and an interception during his 39 snaps on the field.
His four-game suspension begins on Saturday at 4pm, so you can understand why Brady seemed a little sad after the game.
D.J. Foster Makes His Case
The undrafted running back made his bid for a roster spot. He ran for just 22 yards on nine carries, but hauled in a game-high nine receptions for 110 yards, including a nice 30-yard wheel route from Brady.
It wasn’t all great for Foster, but if he doesn’t land on the 53-man roster he could find his way onto the New England practice squad.
Another Long Return For Jones
Rookie Cyrus Jones had some issues in coverage, but he dazzled again in the return game. Jones fielded a punt at the New England six-yard line early in the fourth quarter, made some nice cuts to allude defenders and danced 34 yards to the New England 40. He had an impressive preseason as a punt returner, and should have that job locked down for the regular season.
Nate Solder Among The Wounded
The biggest concern about starters playing in the fourth preseason game is the risk of injury. That fear came true early Thursday night.
New England’s starting left tackle left in the first quarter with what looked like a left hamstring injury. It sounds like he avoided anything major, but any kind of injury to Solder would be terrible news for the already-thin New England offensive line.
Running back Tyler Gaffney suffered a foot injury and receivers Keshawn Martin and Devin Lucien also had to leave the game early. Martin suffered an apparent left leg injury in the third quarter, and Lucien reportedly went for x-rays after taking a late hit to the back/torso from Mark Herzlich.
Rookie linebacker Elandon Roberts was also banged up during the game, but continued to play.
It wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops for Foster, who coughed up a red zone fumble early in the second quarter. He got a stern talking-to from Bill Belichick on the bench, and the good news is he didn’t let the miscue get to him the rest of the way.
Still, you have to hold on to the ball if you’re battling for a job.
Bennett Gets Benched
Martellus Bennett saw the field for 14 snaps, but did not play after losing a fumble of his own on New England’s third offensive drive of the game. He finished with two catches for three yards.