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Snap Judgments: Patriots put wraps on preseason with 28-20 win over Giants

08.29.13 at 10:42 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The Patriots brought down the curtain on the preseason Thursday night at Gillette Stadium with a 28-20 win over the Giants.

For the Patriots, Tom Brady didn’t start — instead, it was Ryan Mallett, and he went 10-for-16 for 117 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Meanwhile, rookie running back George Winn added a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and third-string quarterback Tim Tebow added a 52-yard touchdown pass to Quentin Sims in the fourth quarter, and a nine-yard scoring strike to Sims at the end of the contest.

New England finishes the preseason at 3-1, and open the regular season on Sept. 8 against the Bills in Buffalo.

Here are a few quick notes on what happened:

WHAT WENT RIGHT

‘€¢Rookie wide receiver Josh Boyce showed some great speed with a deftly executed reverse midway through the first quarter which ended with an 18-yard gain. He was also on the receiving end of the nicest play of the evening for the New England offense when — after an impressive 43-yard punt return from Leon Washington — Mallett reared back and found Boyce on a 40-yard touchdown strike (the longest pass play of the preseason for New England) to make it 14-7 midway through the second quarter.

‘€¢Marquice Cole had a nice pass breakup midway through the second quarter on a deep ball from New York backup quarterback Ryan Nassib and another at the end of the game against Eternal Manning Backup Curtis Painter. And rookie defensive end Michael Buchanan had a forced fumble, a sack and knocked down a pass at the line of scrimmage from York backup David Carr shortly before halftime. (He added a second-half sack of Painter in the fourth quarter.) A good night for the seventh-round pick out of Illinois.

‘€¢With Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden and LeGarrette Blount all sidelined, Winn saw a lot of work, and the undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati — who would made a nice practice squad addition, in my opinion — ended the night with 14 carries for 54 yards to lead New England.

‘€¢If this was his farewell to Foxboro, Tebow had a good night, with his highlight coming when he hit his buddy Sims with a 52-yard scoring strike to help give the Patriots a 21-20 fourth-quarter lead, and added to that with a 9-yard TD pass to Sims with six seconds left. This summer, it was really something extraordinary to see — almost every time Tebow completed a nice pass, it was Sims on the other end of the delivery. (Almost predictably, Tebow followed up his first touchdown pass with a badly underthrown ball to Aaron Dobson on the next series.)

‘€¢Kenbrell Thompkins drew a pair of pass interference penalties early that helped keep the chains moving early, and had another good night, finishing with two catches (on four targets) for 24 yards. No reason to think he won’t be the No. 2 receiver when the opener rolls around next month in Buffalo.

‘€¢No one was hurt over the course of the evening, which means New England got out of the preseason without suffering a serious injury.

(This isn’t necessarily right or wrong, but the sight of veterans Adrian Wilson, Daniel Fells, Jake Ballard and Leon Washington playing late in Thursday’s game is certainly … interesting. The sight of rookies and other relative youngsters cooling their heels on the sidelines late in a fourth preseason game is an odd one, especially at the expense of players like Wilson and Fells. With final cuts looming on Saturday, we’re not sure what it means for their futures to be playing so late into a meaningless preseason game.)

WHAT WENT WRONG

‘€¢There will be a lot of talk about Tebow’s final line, but his offensive line — with the exception of Marcus Cannon at right tackle, all third-teamers — did him zero favors on the night. Tebow, who got the start to open the third quarter, was on the run on a consistent basis, and sacked four times.

‘€¢Mallett missed a connection on the Patriots first drive of the night when he overthrew a wide-open Washington on a wheel route out of the backfield on a third-down pass play that would have almost certainly reached the sticks.

‘€¢One of the nice things about Dobson’s game is his ability to go up and get the ball at its highest point — flash some basketball-type skills that allow him to wrestle the ball away from an opposing defender. On a Mallett pass for the end zone midway through the second quarter — at the end of a nice drive for the Patriots — Mallett lofted a jump ball for the end zone. But the ball was underthrown, and when faced with the prospect of having to knock the ball down, he didn’t do enough to prevent the pick. Simply poor execution on both ends of the play. The call was overturned — the Patriots got the ball back and eventually scored on a 1-yard touchdown run from Winn to make it 7-3 with 9:50 left in the second quarter. But Dobson bobbled another first-half pass from Mallett, and while it wasn’t a cleanly thrown pass by any means, it’s still on the receiver to be able to bring in a bad ball. He bobbled it, and the Giants came away with the pick.

Read More: 2013 training camp,
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