By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers looked like Adam Sandler in The Waterboy for a second there, and that’s a good thing. His fourth-quarter strip-sack of Saints quarterback Luke McCown in Thursday’s Patriots preseason opener at Gillette Stadium started with a leap that somewhat resembled the outrageous jump-tackles that Sandler repeatedly made throughout the movie.

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Flowers’ scoop n’ score to put the Patriots up 31-22 was more of the real-life variety – plus it came against a third-string lineup – but it was impressive nonetheless, and he even got the Waterboy reference when asked about it.

“Yeah, I think he did one of those [sacks] in the movie so I was trying to do my best impression (laughs),” Flowers told reporters after the game.

Flowers certainly made a good impression in his preseason debut, even before the touchdown. He generated good pressure on the quarterback whenever he was on the field and consistently forced rushed throws. His strip-sack, however, was easily his biggest highlight of the night.

In his postgame comments to reporters, Flowers sounded like a guy who kicks his game up a gear when getting into a real game situation, which can only mean good things for a Patriots defense with plenty of depth but a bit of uncertainty at the defensive end position entering the season.

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“It felt good,” Flowers said when asked about making the hit on McCown. “Since I was young, I’ve always loved contact so when the lights came on and it was live, it felt pretty good.”

Flowers also credited All-Pro linebacker Jamie Collins for setting the tone with his pick-six in the first quarter on just the second possession of the game for the Saints.

“When [Collins] got that one, there were other fumble and turnover opportunities, so I just said I need to do my part and I’m blessed I was able to do it,” said Flowers.

Flowers finished with one total sack, two QB hits, and six total tackles, which tied for the team lead. With the departure of Chandler Jones and early-season loss of Rob Ninkovich, if Flowers can make plays like he did Thursday night in the regular season, it would make a huge difference for the Patriots’ defensive front.

Trey Flowers #98 of the New England Patriots recovers a fumble as Luke McCown #7 of the New Orleans Saints looks on in the second half of a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2016. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Trey Flowers #98 of the New England Patriots recovers a fumble as Luke McCown #7 of the New Orleans Saints looks on in the second half of a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2016. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Trey Flowers #98 of the New England Patriots recovers a fumble with Luke McCown #7 of the New Orleans Saints in pursuit in the second half of a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2016. Flowers scored on the play. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Trey Flowers #98 of the New England Patriots recovers a fumble with Luke McCown #7 of the New Orleans Saints in pursuit in the second half of a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2016. Flowers scored on the play. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Trey Flowers #98 of the New England Patriots recovers a fumble and scores against the New Orleans Saints in the second half of a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2016. Flowers scored on the play. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Trey Flowers #98 of the New England Patriots recovers a fumble and scores against the New Orleans Saints in the second half of a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 11, 2016. Flowers scored on the play. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.