By: Steve Balestrieri
The New England Patriots ended their preseason on a high note with a 28-20 win over the New York Giants at Foxboro. The Patriots finished the preseason at 3-1 and now most importantly head to Buffalo healthy next week to begin the regular season.
Here are some quick observations from the game:
Ryan Mallett Still Inconsistent- Mallett got the start as Tom Brady got the night off and finished 11-16 for 117 yards 1 TD and 1INT. Mallett in early action badly overthrew Leon Washington who was wide open. Then he threw a beautiful 40 yard touchdown to Josh Boyce who blew by his defender.
Josh Boyce hauls in a touchdown against the New York Giants. AP photo
On another play in the end zone, Mallett again badly underthrew a jump ball to Aaron Dobson that gave Dobson no chance to make a play on. But later on a third down throw, Mallett responded with a laser in tight coverage to pick up the first down.
It was the preseason for Mallett in a microcosm, some great, some not-so-great.
Michael Buchanan Has Big Night- The 7th round pick from Illinois really stepped up and had a big game and made a huge push for a roster spot. Buchanan had 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
But more importantly, he was consistently providing pressure all game on the Giants QBs and was a disruptive force on the edge. Buchanan has great length and was able to also bat down a pass at the line of scrimmage.
Quentin Sims Makes a Push- The rookie wide receiver has been buried all summer taking reps mainly with the third string group but got to showcase some of his talents with a nice effort on Friday night. Sims all summer has been the favorite receiver for QB Tim Tebow and hauled in the Patriots biggest pass play of the preseason, a 52 yard catch and run for a touchdown on a third and 10 in the fourth quarter.
Sims finished the night with three catches for 72 and another touchdown, this one a nine yard score with just a few seconds left on the clock also from Tebow and made a nice case for the practice squad.
George Winn Finally Gets a Chance- The UDFA running back from Cincinnati has had little chance to show what he can do this summer. But he started tonight and played very well, showing good toughness and vision and ran the ball very well both inside and outside.
Winn came into the game with only one carry this preseason but made up for it and made a strong push for the practice squad and carrying the ball 14 times for 54 yards and added a 1 yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Let the Bubble Watch Begin- Much was made all evening about veteran players such as Adrian Wilson playing late into the second half as speculation that it isn’t boding well for his chances to make the team.
But on the flip side…what does it say for young players such as 2nd year safety Tavon Wilson who has been sliding down the depth chart all summer to sit and watch from the sidelines until the fourth quarter?
Other veterans playing late into the game were TEs Daniel Fells and Jake Ballard and RB/KR Leon Washington.
Michael Buchanan- It was a great night for the rookie who had 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a batted down pass. Solid game across the board and Buchanan has definitely made a case for the 53 man roster.
Josh Boyce- All summer long we’ve seen Boyce show some incredible wheels and run some crisp routes. But he hasn’t had the chance to show much what he can do during the preseason games. Tonight he was able to flash that speed blowing by a defender and catching a highlight reel 40 yard touchdown that was perfectly thrown by Mallett.
Leon Washington- Washington finally got a little running room on a punt return and responded with a nice 43 yard return up the right sideline that set up the Mallett to Boyce pass.
Leon Washington- Washington gets on each list, late in the game while trying to field a bouncing punt, Washington fumbled the ball and turned it over to the Giants on a move that perhaps should have been let alone.
Offensive Line- The second unit tonight did Tim Tebow no favors early in the third quarter as the Giants overpowered them at the point of attack. Tebow was sacked four times in the first few series in the third quarter.
Aaron Dobson- The big rookie WR again had some struggles breaking the jam at the line of scrimmage and had a few drops. Known for his sure-handedness in college, it is something that must be worked upon now that the games are for real.