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Why Ryan Mallett felt ‘a lot better’ about his night than preseason opener

08.16.14 at 11:24 pm ET
Ryan Mallett scrambles for a touchdown Friday night against the Eagles. (Getty Images)

Ryan Mallett scrambles for a touchdown Friday night against the Eagles. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — After a 5-for-12 effort against the Redskins in the preseason opener, creating more speculation about his future in New England, no one needed a pick-me-up on Friday night at Gillette Stadium than Ryan Mallett.

Sure, the speculation will continue, even after his 7-of-11 effort in a 42-35 win over the Eagles. Mallett passed for 92 yards while registering a team-high 120.3 quarterback rating. His touchdown pass to Brian Tyms in the back corner of the end zone was the kind of touch pass that raises scouts eyebrows.

So was his 23-yard pass over three defenders into the arms of Josh Boyce along the right sideline that led to a a Roy Finch touchdown run.

Mallett’s first drive of the game came with little advance warning, when Duron Harmon intercepted Mark Sanchez on the second play of the third quarter. Mallett opened with a short pass of six yards down the the Philadelphia 6. That was followed by an incompletion. Right off the bat, Mallett faced pressure. Third and 4 and a field goal would be a big disappointment. He dropped back in shotgun. No one broke open so he broke free of the pocket and scrambled for a touchdown.

All told, Mallett led the Patriots to 21 points in a third quarter that might – at least for now – change how Mallett is viewed.

“€œYeah we had the momentum all game,” Mallett said. “I feel like we played well throughout the game and it continued throughout the second half and we still got some little things to overcome, but it was a lot better.”

This was a different kind of week for Mallett. He was given two “maintenance” days off from practice. He was not the first quarterback off the bench after Tom Brady.

“€œI get to play in the game and that’€™s all that matters. That’€™s all,” Mallett said. “I just want to get out there and try to get better as a player and I felt like I did that tonight and I just got to keep building on it.”

Yet, Mallett played Friday like a quarterback that still had confidence, and Tyms making circus catches was a big part of that.

“€œYou build confidence in practice,” Mallett said. “We’€™ve been watching [No.] 84 do that all camp. He’€™s been making plays and he got one-on-one coverage, so I’€™m going to let him make a play and just try and get it close to him.”

Mallett did take two sacks in the second half and couldn’t put points on the board in the fourth quarter but overall, still a very good night against an Eagles defense that provided different looks.

“It’€™s a totally different defense; you know. They’ve got a good team,” Mallett said. “It was close there at the end and we got a stop and then we moved the ball and ran the clock out. The offensive line did a great job right there during that last series as far as moving the ball. There were big holes for the running backs to see and get through. It’€™s a credit to them.”

But the biggest credit goes to Mallett who put the rumors of his future on the back burner, at least for one night.

“I don’t worry about that stuff,” Mallett said to a reporter asking him if he’s trying to make a point to his doubters. “I leave that to all you.”

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