The Patriots’ offense got off to a great start in their first preseason game on Friday night, getting just about everyone involved in the action.
Stevan Ridley kicked the night off with a bang, busting a 62-yard run through the Eagles defense and eventually punching in a one-yard touchdown to get the scoring going. The third-year running back continued that success throughout the first half, running it eight times for 92 yards before heading to the sidelines for the night.
Tom Brady followed Ridley’s lead on the next drive, completing 7 of 8 passes and leading the Patriots on a 65-yard drive down the field before hitting Shane Vereen on a 13-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone for another score.
He quickly got into rhythm with some of his rookies on the drive. Undrafted rookie Kenbrell Thompkins was steady on the drive, as he’s been all training camp, catching four passes for 27 yards and continually keeping the drive alive. Second-round pick Aaron Dobson highlighted the drive, too, running a crisp route down the field and coming back to haul in a 23-yard pass from Brady.
After taking the 14-7 lead, Ryan Mallett took the reins but struggled to find the same sort of success. Mallett completed just 8 of 16 passes for 75 yards in the first half, still showing some growing pains as he failed to link up with receivers on a pair of third downs and overshot Dobson on a go route in the end zone. Mallett did leave the field briefly at the end of the second quarter after suffering a minor injury, but he appeared fine on the sidelines.
LeGarrette Blount picked up the slack for Mallett and the second team, though, changing direction a few times and rumbling down field for a 51-yard touchdown to give the Patriots a 24-14 lead. Blount rushed four times for 63 yards in the half, seemingly making the most of his opportunities early.