|Quick hits: Giants 20, Patriots 17||09.02.10 at 10:01 pm ET|
The Patriots have wrapped up both a 20-17 loss to Giants and their preseason. Notable things included the return of a certain running back, Tom Brady playing, Zoltan Mesko pinning the G-Men deep multiple times, Tyrone McKenzie leading the team in tackles, and Brian Hoyer getting hit hard by the Giants reserves.
Up next is Week 1 against the Bengals on September 12, but first, here some observations from the Pats’ final tuneup:
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE PATRIOTS
- The Giants’ first drive was easier than Jerod Mayo’s pick on the corresponding PAT’s botched snap. Eli Manning threw on the Patriots, but there can’t be much blame placed on Darius Butler or Devin McCourty. Instead of picking on the cornerbacks, the Giants quarterback utilized his checkdown and threw over the middle a ton. With Manning constantly hitting receivers and tight end Kevin Boss underneath the safeties, the Giants were able to move down the field rather quickly.
The good you take from that is that there can’t be any jabber about how the Pats miss Leigh Bodden already. Talking about the linebackers on a night such as Thursday, however, would be completely different.
On two series, Manning completed seven of nine passes for 91 yards and a 13-yard touchdown to Boss. He had a quarterback rating of 145.8.
- Though it was good to see Maroney, not everything involving the Patriots’ running game was encouraging. With what appeared to be a very manageable 1st-and-goal from the 3 yard line late in the third quarter, the Patriots failed to run it into the endzone on four consecutive attempts and turned it over at the 1. Thomas Clayton picked up two yards on first down but the next three attempts between himself and BenJarvus Green-Ellis yielded nothing positive.
- Brady to Moss is a near sure-thing… except when it’s horribly underthrown, which Brady, Moss, and now Antrel Rolle can attest to. Brady wasn’t under much pressure on the first-down play, but he threw an absolute duck down the field that the safety picked off in front of Moss late in the first quarter.
Brady was out on the field for two series, completing four of the eight passes he threw for 51 yards. He had the touchdown to Gronkowski, the Rolle interception, and a quarterback rating of 70.3.
- Hoyer was pressured heavily and left the game late in the fourth quarter to get stitches on his face (he did take a beating, and at one point had his helmet on almost diagonally). Not much concern for injury, but if there is, that’s a big problem for the Patriots. Zac Robinson is nowhere near ready to be a No. 2 (or No. 3, depending on who you ask) quarterback. As was evident when he overthrew Taylor Price twice late in the game (the second pass of which the rookie reeled in for a phenomenal, though out of bounds, catch) his lack of accuracy absolutely cripples his game. Robinson is still young and can develop, but it’s far from unfathomable to suggest he threw his last pass as a Patriot on Thursday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE PATRIOTS
- Laurence Maroney played, and even though Bill Belichick said he would, there was still some question as to whether or not he’d be seen Thursday night. His numbers weren’t outstanding, as he went from having seven carries for 32 yards to having, well, nine carries for 32 yards.
Maroney entered into the game in the second quarter, with Fred Taylor getting the start. Assuming there are no issues with injuries or the head coach, Maroney figures to get a lot of carries after a season in which he scored nine touchdowns.
- More praise for Rob Gronkowski, because even though he only had one catch, it put an exclamation point on a very good preseason. Capping the Patriots’ first drive was Gronkowski on a play in which both he and his quarterback had to overcome Giants defenders that were closer than they would have liked. After Gronkowski was handled at the line by New York safety Antrel Rolle, an under-pressure Brady hit Gronkowski over the middle from five yards out for the score, the rookie’s fourth of the preseason.
The tight ends looked pretty good for the Patriots, though their first offensive play of the game wouldn’t have told you that. For a guy who made a great catch while staying in bounds last week against the Rams, Alge Crumpler sure didn’t look good dropping an easy pass in open space thrown in front of him. Carson Butler made two catches on the night for 23 yards.
- On a deep ball that Manning did throw down the sidelines in the first quarter on 3rd-and-8, Devin McCourty was so all over Hakeem Nicks that Manning deserved to be picked off by Brandon Meriweather (which he nearly was) for even throwing the ball. Quarterbacks are going to throw on the youngster, but he’s had flashes that suggest they could regret it.
People may be scared of a rookie starting, but let this be said: McCourty has a way of staying with his receiver so closely that its astonishing no contact is being made. Such was the case with Donnie Avery last week against the Rams and he kept it up tonight.
- Buddy Farnham, ladies and gentlemen. The rookie receiver out of Brown was seen playing defensive back in the first half, but he made his first noticeable statement of the game in the third quarter by breaking up a pass in the endzone from Rhett Bomar intended for former Dolphins receiver Derek Hagan.
Farnham was a very unlikely candidate to ever receive a Troy Brown comparison, but with the team thin at cornerback and the rookie fighting to make the team, the versatility could go a long way for Farnham.
The 2009 Ivy League Player of the Year is also capable of contributing in the return game, as he fielded the kick that followed the field goal caused by his nice defensive play. He picked up 15 yards on the return, though he did struggle with handling the ball.
- Speaking of receivers fighting for a spot, Darnell Jenkins was on the recieving end of the easiest touchdown of Brian Hoyer’s career. Jenkins took a screen pass from the backup quarterback and simply teleported into the endzone for a 66-yard score. He led the Patriots with four catches on 87 yards.
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