Although this was a game for the backups, it was impressive to see the Patriots' second-stringers really take it to the Giants' second unit, particularly after New York's first team built a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer had himself a fine performance, and he was backed by running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis's three-touchdown night. According to a couple of reporters who ran into quarterback Andrew Walter in the locker room, the veteran quarterback was visibly unhappy, likely because he didn't get a chance to play all night. Walter walked away after just a few questions.
Additionally, Matthew Slater's left arm injury, which looked really ugly, should open a spot on the roster for a bubble player, possibly wide receiver Terrence Nunn.
As always, check back to NESN.com Friday for more Patriots coverage, including tight end Ben Watson's thoughts on Saturday's roster cuts, which could signal the end of his career in New England.
11:54 p.m.: Patriots safety Brandon McGowan, who returned an Andre Woodson pass for a second-quarter touchdown, said he was surprised Giants quarterback threw the pass toward the left sideline because he thought Woodson looked right at him. "Obviously, he gave me a gift," McGowan said.
McGowan added, "Whenever the ball is in your hands, you've got to think six points."
11:52 p.m.: Patriots wide receiver Robert Ortiz on the next couple of days before roster cuts: "I'm just trying to enjoy the ride. It's not every day you get to play for the New England Patriots, so I'm just going to enjoy it. Hopefully, it all works out in the end."
11:50 p.m.: Patriots safety Pat Chung on recovering after he got beat for two touchdowns on the Giants' first two possessions: "You've got to bounce back, man. You've just got to work hard. Coach tells you to settle down and just play ball."
11:31 p.m.: Brian Hoyer completed 18-of-25 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown against the Giants. His reward? The Patriots wouldn't allow him to speak to the media.
Final score: Patriots 38, Giants 27. The Patriots closed the game on a 38-6 run to finish the preseason with a 3-1 record. I'm heading down to the locker room, and I'll check in afterward.
1:06: That's why you stay in the end zone, kid. Herana-Daze Jones picked off Rhett Bomar and then got knocked out "Friday" style trying to return the ball. A few kneel downs, and this thing will be in the books.
2:39: Patriots take 38-27 lead. BenJarvus Green-Ellis burst through the line and raced to a 32-yard touchdown run, his third score of the game, to give the Patriots a two-possession lead. Even against the Giants' backups, Green-Ellis has played on a different level Thursday night.
4:54: The Patriots' defense, which has allowed just six points in the last two and a half quarters, forced a three-and-out. This is the first time in the game the Patriots have had the ball with the lead.
5:53: Rhett "Not the Terrier" Bomar has replaced Andre Woodson at quarterback for the Giants.
5:53: Patriots take 31-27 lead. BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored on a one-yard touchdown run, carrying Giants linebacker Clint Sintim on his back for much of the way. It was another strong run from the second-year running back, who has two touchdowns Thursday night, and this one came on a fourth-and-goal.
7:59: Brian Hoyer hits Sam Aiken for 48 yards down to the Giants' 6-yard line. Nice downfield throw from Hoyer, and a couple of nice moves from Aiken to keep the play going. The Patriots are just a few yards away from claiming their first lead of the game.
10:10: Tight end Ben Watson certainly needs the reps because he's been battling an injury this summer, but it's surprising to see him in the game in the fourth quarter against the Giants. The fourth preseason game, particularly the fourth quarter, is typically for younger players who are battling for roster spots. This might not be a great sign for Watson's immediate future in New England.
10:55: Giants take 27-24 lead. Lawrence Tynes hits a 25-yard field goal to give the Giants the lead. The Gillette Stadium crowd is thinning out as the game is getting better, which I can't really comprehend.
13:37: Andre Woodson just hit Derek Hagan for an eight-yard completion on fourth-and-7 from the Patriots' 37-yard line.
15:00: If the Patriots can pull this one out, they'll finish the preseason with a winning record (3-1) for the first time since they went 4-0 in 2003.
End of third quarter: Patriots 24, Giants 24.
0:52: Patriots tie game at 24-24. Stephen Gostkowski drilled a 46-yard field goal to knot the game in the third quarter. Nice recovery for the Patriots after falling behind, 21-0, in the first quarter.
2:00: Rookie offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger, who is currently playing center, goes consecutive plays with a bad snap and a holding penalty.
6:13: Brian Hoyer and the Patriots take over with a chance to take the lead for the first time in the game. Who could have thought this when the Giants had more points than the Patriots had offensive plays in the first quarter?
7:14: Patriots rookie safety Pat Chung has had himself a tough night and just drew a 23-yard pass interference penalty. So far, Chung has been a rock on special teams but unspectacular on defense.
9:06: Patriots cut lead to 24-21. Brian Hoyer hits wide receiver Robert Ortiz for an eight-yard touchdown pass on a really nice throw across the middle and an equally nice grab by Ortiz.
11:22: Get ya' popcorn ready. This press box popcorn is better than what they serve at most movie theaters.
13:43: Brian Hoyer has hit Terrence Nunn for a pair of passes totaling 34 yards midway through the Patriots' initial drive of the second half.
15:00: Let's see if the Patriots can keep the momentum going. Their backups have outplayed the Giants' backups, outscoring them so far in this game.
End of the second quarter: Giants 24, Patriots 14. The Patriots recovered nicely in the second quarter after a flat first quarter. Quarterback Brian Hoyer has shown an ability to move the offense when he's gotten some help from his offensive line, and wide receiver Greg Lewis had the play of the half with a great catch while getting leveled down by the goal line.
The big question regards the health of Matthew Slater, who injured his left arm on a kick return. Whether it's broken or badly dislocated, things don't look good for the special teamer, and his injury likely opened up a roster spot for a bubble player.
0:30: Patriots cut lead to 24-14. BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored from a yard out to cap off a pair of nice runs from the second-year back. Brian Hoyer, Terrence Nunn, Greg Lewis and Green-Ellis really showed some life to gain a quick score before the half.
1:43: Giants take 24-7 lead. Lawrence Tynes knocks home a 46-yard field goal to extend New York's lead. (The time isn't a typo — the overturned play put 14 seconds back on the clock)
1:34: With two timeouts, the two-minute warning and a booth review all in the last 27 seconds of game action, this game has really slowed to a grinding, screeching halt.
5:00: If you like good punting, boy, is this the game for you.
8:14: Giants' lead cut to 21-7. Brandon McGowan intercepted Andre Woodson's pass intended for Mario Manningham and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown. McGowan has been the master of the big play this preseason, and he just gave some life to a secondary that has badly struggled against the Giants.
9:08: Andre Woodson has replaced David Carr at quarterback for the Giants. Carr and Eli Manning are a combined 9-for-9 for 229 yards and three touchdowns.
9:34: The Patriots just announced Matthew Slater has an arm injury and will not return. Meanwhile, I anticipate the sun will rise in a few hours.
12:28: Robert Kraft just announced linebacker Tedy Bruschi will be named the defensive captain of the Patriots' all-time team, and he'll be honored during New England's season opener against the Bills.
14:03: The Patriots' defense just forced the Giants to punt for the first time all game. By the way, the Giants out-gained the Patriots, 251-3 in the first quarter.
15:00: PA playing Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It," perhaps in reference to the Patriots' 21-point deficit through 15 minutes here at Gillette Stadium. It's a novel idea, a novel idea indeed.
End of first quarter: Giants 21, Patriots 0.
5:41: I'm not a doctor, but it looks like Matthew Slater just broke his left arm falling down on the kickoff return.
5:47: Giants take 21-0 lead. Pats cornerback Jamar Love was just beaten badly on a 64-yard touchdown pass from David Carr to rookie receiver Hakeem Nicks.
If you're keeping score, the Giants have three touchdowns, while the Patriots have run six offensive plays.
7:00: The CBS Scene next to Gillette Stadium once had the Sox-Rays game on its video boards, which can be seen from some seats inside the stadium. Now, it's showing the Pats-Giants game.
7:37: Patriots go three-and-out again. Through two series, we know this: The Giants' first team (the majority of it anyway) is 14 points better than the Patriots' second team.
9:01: Giants take 14-0 lead. David Carr hits Sinorice Moss in the back of the end zone for the wideout's second touchdown in as many drives. Once again, Moss beat Pat Chung for the score.
10:43: David Carr has replaced Eli Manning at quarterback for the Giants.
10:57: Patriots starters (who go three-and-out): Brian Hoyer, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Greg Lewis, Ben Watson, Alex Smith, Sam Aiken, Sebastian Vollmer, Rich Ohrnberger, Ryan Wendell, Billy Yates, Ryan O'Callaghan.
12:01: Giants take 7-0 lead. Eli Manning completes a 23-yard pass to wide receiver Sinorice Moss, who blazed past safety Pat Chung.
13:58: Patriots' defensive starters: Matthew Slater, Jamar Love, Pat Chung, Darryl Richard, Paris Lenon, Ron Brace, Eric Alexander, Stephen Williams, Rob Ninkovich, Roderick Rogers and Pierre Woods.
Eli Manning is running the show for the Giants' offense.
7:35 p.m.: The Giants won the toss and will receive.
7:32 p.m.: Among the Patriots jerseys below the press box: Mike Vrabel's No. 50, Ty Law's No. 24 and Corey Dillon's No. 28. There is also a Johnny Damon Yankees T-shirt and a No. 1 Dad shirt. In case you were wondering.
7:28 p.m.: The Patriots are running onto the field as we speak. Game time temperature is 70 degrees with clear skies and 5 mph winds coming from the south.
7:12 p.m.: Players for both teams have retreated to their locker rooms for their final pregame meeting. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:36 p.m.
7:06 p.m.: It looks like Tom Brady is wearing sneakers, which means he won't be playing in the preseason finale. Also, if this even means anything at all, Brady's socks aren't pulled up. If he was about to take the field for the first offensive series, I'd think he'd be completely ready to go with his uniform and all.
And according to colleague Chris Price, every player on the active roster is in uniform and on the field.
6:45 p.m.: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady just jogged onto the field wearing full pads.
6:03 p.m.: We're about an hour and a half before kickoff here at Gillette Stadium, and players from both teams have been scattered across the field warming up for a little while now. A few fans have also made their way through the gates to take in the pregame warmups.
The Patriots' logos have been painted onto the field for tonight's game, too, which gives it a different look from their game against the Bengals.
12 p.m.:It's still quiet around Gillette Stadium, but in about seven and a half hours, the New England Patriots will wrap up their preseason schedule when they take on the New York Giants. This has already been an emotional week for the Patriots, who lost linebacker Tedy Bruschi to retirement Monday, and the uneasiness won't subside too much with about 20 roster cuts coming between now and Saturday.
For those on the roster bubble, this game will mark their final chance to showcase their talents during live game action, so keep it here throughout the evening while I continue to provide live updates from Foxborough.
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