Final, Patriots 30-7: Bill Belichick can’t complain about the Patriots’ performance in this game. The Patriots dominated in all facets, and their first-team offense and defense looked especially impressive, despite missing some key players, including Rob Gronkowski, Jerod Mayo and Dont’a Hightower — not to mention Aaron Dobson, Brandon Browner and Dominique Easley. Check out which Patriots starters shined against the Panthers.
Brady, Edelman, Revis and the rest of the Patriots starters probably won’t see much action in New England’s fourth preseason game against the New York Giants, but they’re going out on a high note after playing for nearly three quarters tonight.
Fourth quarter, 1:12, Patriots 30-7: Panthers QB Joe Webb was able to move the ball down the field on the Patriots’ third-string defense with ease. The Patriots still hold a commanding 30-7 lead.
Fourth quarter, 3:52, Patriots 30-0: Jimmy Garoppolo is making this whole NFL thing look pretty easy. He just threw a touchdown to linebacker/fullback Taylor McCuller.
Garoppolo’s best pass of the series came on a first down to wide receiver Brian Tyms. Garoppolo rolled out of the pocket and threw a dime to the 6-foot-3 wideout.
The Patriots lead 30-0 as their third preseason game is winding down to a close.
Fourth quarter, 9:52, Patriots 23-0: The Patriots forced another punt on defense, and Jimmy Garoppolo is coming out for his second drive.
The rookie quarterback was 3-for-4 for 17 yards on his first series.
Fourth quarter, 12:05, Patriots 23-0: Fans are starting to filter out of Gillette Stadium as the Patriots now have a four-possession lead over the Panthers.
Jimmy Garoppolo drove the Patriots into field goal range, and Gostkowski did the rest, hitting a 21-yard kick.
Third quarter, 1:26, Patriots 20-0: Everything’s coming up Milhouse for the Patriots right now. Beauharnais just picked off Derek Anderson in the red zone and returned the interception all the way to the Panthers’ 35-yard line.
Jerel Worthy got his first action for the Patriots and did a nice job holding his ground up front. Safety Duron Harmon and linebacker Ja’Gared Davis made big hits in the run game.
Third quarter, 8:25, Patriots 20-0: This one is looking like a blowout.
The Patriots scored again to open up the third quarter. Brady hit Vereen in the flag, and the Patriots third-down back cut to the corner and dove for the pylon. The official initially ruled that Vereen had stepped out of bounds, but Belichick (finally) challenged the play, and it was ruled a touchdown.
The drive almost ended when Brady and LaFell weren’t on the same page on a third-down pass. LaFell wasn’t looking and Brady’s pass careened off his hands. The Panthers were flagged for illegal hands to the face, and the drive continued.
Brady put the Patriots in red zone when he hit Edelman for an over-the-shoulder fade. Edelman has eight receptions for 99 yards on the game.
Third quarter, 12:57, Patriots 13-0: The Patriots’ first-team defense continues to look stout against the Panthers. Chandler Jones nearly sacked Newton again on third down as the Panthers QB could barely get the ball out on time.
Tom Brady is back on the field for the Patriots to start the third quarter.
End half, Patriots 13-0: Stephen Gostkowski just nailed a 60-yard field goal to put the Patriots ahead 13-0 going into the half.
Tom Brady, Shane Vereen and Julian Edelman have been on fire offensively. Brady completed three straight passes to Edelman to (barely) move the Patriots into field goal range.
Vereen has 18 yards on six carries and 51 yards and a touchdown on four receptions.
Second quarter, 1:53, Patriots 10-0: Revis got beat again by the rookie Benjamin. This one counted, too.
Rookie linebacker James Morris got some work on the first-team defense, along with Darius Fleming, who replaced Ninkovich.
The Patriots’ defense has the upside to be very, very good this season, especially when Mayo and Hightower are out there and healthy.
Second quarter, 4:50, Patriots 10-0: After a long, seven-minute drive, Brady found Vereen on a wheel route out of the backfield for a 40-yard touchdown. Vereen flashed his elite speed, out-running the Panthers’ defense into the end zone.
Brady hit Kenbrell Thompkins for two receptions earlier in the drive. KT also had a bad drop on a comeback route. Running back Jonas Gray got some first-team reps on offense, which is a good sign for the second-year Notre Dame product.
Second quarter, 12:14, Patriots 3-0: Revis allowed his first reception of the preseason, but the play was negated when Chandler Jones was flagged for holding. The Patriots were able to halt the Panthers, who had to punt to Danny Amendola.
Jones showed nice pursuit by tackling Newton from behind on a scramble. Newton is having trouble finding anyone open. The Patriots’ secondary has been very good so far.
End first quarter, Patriots 3-0: After a sloppy first quarter of offense, the Patriots lead 3-0.
Ninkovich continues to shine on defense, however. He’s such a solid defender from defensive end and linebacker, rushing the passer and setting the edge against the run.
First quarter, 2:11, Patriots 3-0: The drive wasn’t pretty, but the Patriots are the first to score on a 47-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski. The Panthers got flagged for illegal hands to the face and pass interference, allowing the Patriots to move up the field. Mallett overthrew LaFell on a pass down the sideline, but connected with Edelman.
Ninkovich handled long snapping duties on the field goal.
First quarter, 5:00: Brady was only in for two offensive drives. Ryan Mallett now is in at quarterback.
First quarter, 5:33: It’s safe to say that Chandler Jones has been an early star of the game. He just recorded his second sack of the game. The third-year pro could be in for a big year.
Edelman just returned the Panthers’ punt 30 yards to the Patriots’ 49-yard line. Edelman’s first return was 21 yards.
Connolly is playing center for the second straight drive.
First quarter, 7:37: Well, the Patriots would probably like to have that offensive drive back. The first play was a 5-yard loss by running back Shane Vereen after Brady tripped over Devey’s feet. The Patriots couldn’t get first down after a hand off to Vereen and a completion to Edelman.
Zero flags had been called until both teams were penalized on the Patriots’ punt. The calls offset, and the Patriots punted again.
First quarter, 9:24: The Panthers couldn’t get too much going on their first offensive drive. Pass rushers Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones both came up with sacks as Panthers QB Cam Newton couldn’t find an open receiver with solid coverage.
Malcolm Butler allowed a reception to huge rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin, and linebacker Steve Beauharnais nearly got burnt by tight end Greg Olson, but Newton’s pass was off.
First quarter, 13:02: Tom Brady and Brandon LaFell hooked up twice on the opening drive, but the two weren’t on the same page on third-and-three. Nate Solder, Logan Mankins, Ryan Wendell, Jordan Devey and Marcus Cannon got the start on the offensive line.
On defense, Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Joe Vellano, Steve Beauharnais, Jamie Collins, Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Malcolm Butler, Darrelle Revis, Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty are the starters.
First quarter, 15:00: The Patriots won the toss and chose to receive. Here we go.
7:22 p.m.: Belichick said on 98.5 The Sports Hub that Brady will see “a good amount of playing time” tonight.
7:05 p.m.: Hightower and Mayo are, surprisingly, in uniform for the Patriots. Dobson, Gaffney, Bolden, Gordon, Hoomanawanui, Stork, Martin, Easley, Vollmer, Gronkowski, Chris Jones and Siliga are not on the field.
Gallon, Dennard, Bass and Worthy look set to make their preseason debuts.
6:48 p.m.: Rookie wide receiver Jeremy Gallon is in uniform fielding punts and kicks. It looks like the Michigan product will make his preseason debut tonight.
6:41 p.m.: Starting pass rusher Rob Ninkovich took the field early in full uniform to work on long snapping. He’s the Patriots’ backup long snapper behind Danny Aiken.
6:15 p.m.: It appears Mayo and Hightower won’t play based on this tweet.
Jamie Collins with a green dot for the defense tonight. http://t.co/5HOHLHyoNK—
New England Patriots (@Patriots) August 22, 2014
Mayo usually wears the green dot, and when he’s out, Hightower wears it. The green dot helmet has a communication device inside. That’s a lot of responsibility for Collins, a second-year pro.
6:08 p.m.: Defensive tackle Jerel Worthy looks like he’s ready to make his Patriots debut. The newly acquired defensive tackle is on the field in game pants. Kanorris Davis also is wearing game pants, so it looks like he’s good to go tonight, as well.
5:49 p.m.: Tavon Wilson and Alfonzo Dennard are warming up like they might be playing tonight. Neither player suited up last week against the Eagles.
Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports that Gronkowski and running back Brandon Bolden won’t play tonight.
5:08 p.m.: Gronkowski, Mayo, Vollmer, Stork, Easley, Dobson, Siliga and linebacker Dont’a Hightower just took the field to put in some conditioning work. It was interesting to see Hightower join a group with seven injured players. Hightower has practiced this week, and he didn’t appear to suffer an injury last week against the Philadelphia Eagles.
All eight players were wearing sweats and their workout lasted less than five minutes. Siliga had a brace on his left hand.
4:38 p.m. ET: The New England Patriots are set to take on the Carolina Panthers in a little less than an hour, but Julian Edelman already put in some early work down on the Gillette Stadium game field.
Edelman was catching passes from a Patriots equipment assistant. The Patriots wide receiver practiced one-handed grabs, over-the-shoulder catches and shoestring grabs.
Here’s a terrible picture I took using binoculars of Edelman’s early work:
Here's a binocular pic of Edelman working on the field. Terrific quality, I know. http://t.co/fP4OQ28Wfz—
Doug Kyed (@DougKyedNESN) August 22, 2014
Offensive lineman Chris Martin, who has yet to practice with the Patriots, and linebacker Cameron Gordon, who has been nursing an injury, also came onto the field to get in some early work jogging. Neither player will suit up for the Patriots tonight.
The Patriots starters, including Tom Brady, are expected to play half of tonight’s game. Starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and tight end Rob Gronkowski are among those not expected to play for the Patriots tonight. Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, defensive tackles Sealver Siliga and Chris Jones and running back Tyler Gaffney also didn’t practice this week and aren’t expected to suit up.
Wide receiver Jeremy Gallon, linebackers Ja’Gared Davis and James Anderson, safeties Tavon Wilson and Kanorris Davis, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, center Bryan Stork and defensive tackles Dominique Easley, Jerel Worthy and Ben Bass missed last Friday night’s game, which leaves their status up in the air against the Panthers.
Stay here for updates and analysis leading up to and through tonight’s game. Also make sure to check out which Patriots players to watch in the all-important third preseason game.