The Green Bay Packers defeated the Patriots last night in both team’s preseason opener in front of a packed Gillette Stadium.
The final score was Green Bay 22, New England 11.
Pre-season games don’t mean much to starters, it’s mainly for the backups and players looking for a roster spot, but last night everybody wanted to see the starting secondary and I feel like a lot of people walked away comfortable with what they saw. Of course, it’s pre-season, but holding Aaron Rodgers and company to 3 points is still impressive. Even more so, the defense made two 4down stands against Rodgers and the Packers offense and also held for a 2nd time in the game on the goal line to hold the Pack attack to three points. It was nice to see.
Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Dobson, LeGarrette Blount, Scott Chandler, Dont’a Hightower, Jerod Mayo, Travaris Cadet, and Brandon Bolden all were among players who did not play.
Go HERE to see everybody who did not play last night.
Malcolm Butler was tested by Aaron Rodgers and I was thankful for that because we need to see how he handles it now that he’s the number one corner. He certainly has the swag of a number one corner which after winning the Super Bowl in February I guess you would, and he’s certainly playing like a number one corner. Butler was the best corner on the field and showed he could handle man-to-man coverage. Rodgers was only 1-3 when targeted Butler for 10 yards and that completion was followed by a very hard hit. He also broke up a pass in the end zone. After one defensive series Butler was pulled from the game with all of the defensive starters.
Rookie corner Darryl Roberts and former Falcon corner Robert McClain got the start at secondary along side Butler and looked good against the Packers receivers. They made some plays and looked very good in the game. This could be the Pats starting lineup, but we all know Tarell Brown has been playing well and so has Bradley Fletcher. Both could have a say in the matter.
CB Bradley Fletcher had a good night. He had a few pass breakups and was tough to shake in a coverage for most of the game. He will make a strong push for a starting role in the Pats secondary. He, McClain, and Ryan will compete for the slot corner.
CB Logan Ryan did not have the best night. He was up and down, giving up a 26 yard touchdown pass to a backup WR named Janis on a nice pass from a backup QB. He was beaten badly too, the WR was wide open in the corner of the end zone for an easy score. Not exactly what you want to see in a starting corner. He did recover later on to make a nice breakup on a pass. He jumped the route for an almost interception, something he’s always been good at doing.
RB Jonas Gray stood out with Blount out for this game. He got to carry the rock a few times and boy did he make the most of it. He busted out for a 55 yard touchdown run to score the Pats first points of the pre-season. He followed that up by running wide to the left and into the end zone for the two point conversion. Gray finished with 7 carries for 74 yards and one touchdown.
RB James White made the most of Brandon Bolden’s absence. He was decent in blocking and was explosive in the passing game. He caught 4 passes for 52 yards. He is continuing to make a strong push to win the 3rd down back role and he certainly took a big step forward last night. I was impressed with him. He was fast and explosive and showed some sweet feet.
QB Tom Brady was 1-4 for 10 yards with only 7 snaps last night. His three incompletions were to Josh Boyce and his one completion was to Brandon Gibson. Tom Brady was just shaking off the rust and getting into a game feel, but he was playing behind an inexperienced line, so the Pats got him out of there.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo was solid in his first showing of the 2015 season. He was up and down, but nothing horrible and nothing great. He targeted Josh Boyce far too often, 7 of his 10 incompletions were to Josh Boyce. He finished the night 20-30 for 159 yards and 1 interception. His interception was behind Boyce a bit, but Boyce could have made much more of an effort than he did to attack the ball. He took too long to throw the ball during a few plays and had some under throws. He was far from perfect, but showed a lot of promise. He threw some beautiful deep throws and showed off his big arm and made some accurate passes. He has NFL talent, no doubt about it.
WR Brandon Gibson looked really good. He is big, has nice hands, and a good route runner. He proved himself on the field and is likely ahead of Brian Tyms and Josh Boyce. He’s probably ahead of Dobson, since he’s having a tough time staying healthy. WR Chris Harper also had a really good night, catching everything thrown to him.
WR Josh Boyce will probably be cut if he doesn’t pick it up in the 2nd preseason game. The Pats and their Quarterbacks gave him every chance to succeed, but he couldn’t come up with the plays. He had several drops and bad plays all around. He also didn’t attack a Garoppolo pass that led to an interception. He had the worst night.
The DL looked really nice last night, especially for the starters. They had pretty consistent pressure on the GB Quarterbacks. The front line provided plenty of QB hits, hurries, and sacks. Trey Flowers looked great and had a nice sack on Aaron Rodgers. Jabaal Sheard looked like an absolute beast in the run and passing game. He was explosive, causing several hurries. Chandler Jones got in on the fun with a sack and hurry. Grissom looked really good last night and was moved around the line.
DT Malcom Brown and Dominique Easley played together last night and looked awesome! Easley was always the first to jump the snap and so explosive. He had several QB hurries, he’s looking very strong. Brown did everything right a DT is suppose to do. He held at the point of attack and ate up blocks. He’s still working to get better and comfortable, but so far so good.
The Pats have depth issues at Linebacker and OL. Linebackers had a rough, rough night without Mayo and Hightower and Collins who played one series. It doesn’t look like the Pats have much behind them so any injury to those three could hurt the Patriots. The OL needs their starters back, Vollmer, Wendell, and Solder were all out and the rookies and youngster just didn’t fare very well. Mason and Jackson did pretty good though, and David Andrews wasn’t awful, but other than that, no depth.
Linebacker Dekoda Watson was the only linebacker who did really good last night and he will make a push for that number 4 LB spot especially since Jonathan Freeny did not have a good night.
Stephen Gostkowski made a 56 yard field goal right before half time to bring the Pats to the final score of 11.
That kick was very impressive.
After the Garoppolo interception in the 3rd, a Green Bay RB named Harris ran in for a 25 yard touchdown, making the run defense look embarrassed.
Later on, in the 4th, Brett Hundley threw a 10 yard touchdown pass to bring the Packers to their final score 22.
The game ended, and the Pats will move on to week number two of preseason.