Final, Patriots 26-24: That’s all she wrote. The Saints couldn’t stop the clock on their last gasp to get the end zone, and the Patriots win 26-24 on a 35-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski.
Jimmy Garoppolo impressed, going 28 of 33 for 269 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Tom Brady finished 2 of 5 for 13 yards.
Fourth quarter, :14, Patriots 26-24: Give Jimmy G a game-winning drive.
A long completion to Jonathan Krause put the Patriots in field goal range, then Gostkowski hit from 35 yards out.
Fourth quarter, 2:00, Saints 24-23: Jimmy G has one last chance to complete the comeback after the Patriots’ defense forced a three-and-out. Fletcher ended the series with another impressive pass breakup, then Harper brought back the punt 28 yards to give Garoppolo decent field position.
Fourth quarter, 3:21, Saints 24-23: The Patriots are back down by one late in the fourth quarter. Garoppolo had completions to Mundine, Harper, Krause and Gibson before Gostkowski kicked a field goal.
Gibson took a shot to the knee on third down then limped off the field. He’s having a great, consistent summer, so hopefully the injury isn’t serious.
Fourth quarter, 8:46, Saints 24-20: Jimmy has another shot at leading the Patriots down the field. The Patriots held the Saints to a field goal after consecutive pass breakups inside the red zone — Logan Ryan on second down and Bradley Fletcher on third.
Fourth quarter, 10:36, Saints 21-20: Nope.
Garoppolo immediately came on the field and threw an interception. Saints ball in the Patriots’ territory after a long return.
Fourth quarter, 10:54, Saints 21-20: Jimmy Garoppolo has a chance to complete the comeback here. The Patriots forced the Saints to punt after rookie QB Garrett Grayson came into the game. He immediately hit wide receiver Willie Snead on consecutive completions for 31 yards, then the Patriots forced three incompletions.
Fourth quarter, 13:36, Saints 21-20: The Patriots scored and did everyone a favor by going for two. There’s no reason for ties in preseason.
James White scored on a 3-yard run. He showed some nice footwork in the backfield before exploding in for the TD. Garoppolo hit Krause and tight end Asante Cleveland to get to the 3-yard line.
End third quarter, Saints 21-14: The Patriots are driving again as we enter the fourth quarter. The Patriots have the ball on the Saints’ 21-yard line.
Garoppolo hit Harper, Gibson, Krause and running back James White for completions. White showed off some nifty footwork on a 20-yard gain.
Harper and Gibson are standing out with Aaron Dobson, Julian Edelman, Brian Tyms and Brandon LaFell out with injuries. Harper has four catches for 59 yards, while Gibson has six receptions for 58 yards.
Third quarter, 4:40, Saints 21-14: The Patriots have a chance to tie this game up. The Saints were driving down the field, but linebacker James Morris forced Josh Morgan to fumble, which wound up right in safety Jordan Richards’ arms.
Cornerback Daxton Swanson took a terrible route on Morgan’s reception, but the play worked out for the Patriots.
The Patriots were going to force a three-and-out, but defensive tackle Sealver Siliga was flagged for encroachment, giving the Saints a new set of downs.
Third quarter, 5:57, Saints 21-14: The Patriots’ offense is looking much better midway through the second half. Dion Lewis just sped through Saints defenders for an 11-yard touchdown.
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Garoppolo had a solid drive and now is 14 of 17 for 134 yards. He had completions to Chris Harper, Jonathan Krause and Jimmay Mundine.
Lewis is making a push for the Patriots’ third-down back job. He’s been one of the Patriots’ best players tonight.
Third quarter, 11:37, Saints 21-7: The Saints tried to settle for a 55-yard field goal and missed. Sheard forced a third-down incompletion when he quickly got in QB Ryan Griffin’s face. Patriots linebacker James Morris showed up nicely twice in run defense. Ryan was beat on a 28-yard catch by Josh Morgan. Ryan’s certainly had better games.
End half, Saints 21-7: Some excitement for the Patriots!
Jimmy Garoppolo just evaded pressure, escaped from a Saints pass rusher, then found Chris Harper wide open in the end zone.
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Garoppolo is 11 of 13 for 113 yards with a touchdown so far. Harper now has two catches for 45 yards. The undrafted free agent is having a nice summer.
Dion Lewis continues to impress, as well. He has four catches for 34 yards. He made a one-handed catch on this drive, then used a shimmy and a shake to get a first down.
Second quarter, 1:08, Saints 21-0: Not a great night for Rutgers defenders. Logan Ryan was beat by Brandin Cooks for another big play. Cooks now has four catches for 117 yards on the night. McCourty, Harmon and Freeny also have given up big plays.
The Saints scored on a 6-yard touchdown pass from McCown to tight end Josh Hill.
Second quarter, 1:52, Saints 15-0: The Patriots looked slightly better on that drive, but just barely.
Garoppolo hooked up with Gibson and Harper, and the Patriots picked up 26 yards on the ground. They went for it on fourth down, and Garoppolo’s throw was tipped at the line of scrimmage.
Second quarter, 7:00, Saints 15-0: Now that McCown is in the game, there’s little happening on offense from either side.
The Saints moved the ball just 5 yards on that drive. Patriots defensive end Jabaal Sheard made a nice run stuff on first down. McCown’s third-down pass was incomplete.
Second quarter, 7:54, Saints 15-0: The Patriots’ offensive line is looking in rough shape for the second consecutive week. There’s no push up front from rookies Shaq Mason, David Andrews and Shaq Mason. The Patriots desperately need Bryan Stork and Ryan Wendell to get healthy.
The Patriots have 11 carries for 0 yards so far.
Second quarter, 10:29, Saints 15-0: Now that Drew Brees is out of the game, the Patriots’ defense will have it a little easier. Luke McCown came into the game, and the Saints went three-and-out. The Patriots only allowed a 3-yard completion to Watson. Safety Patrick Chung was impressive in coverage, bringing down the big tight end.
Second quarter, 12:03, Saints 15-0: The Patriots tried to settle for a 57-yard field goal, but Stephen Gostkowski’s kick went wide left.
The Patriots offense continues to do nothing. They got a first down on a penalty by Saints safety Kenny Phillips, but they didn’t get any momentum off the first yardage.
End first quarter, Saints 15-0: The first quarter was ugly on both sides of the ball for the Patriots. Their offense has just 23 total yards, and they’ve allowed 186 to the Saints.
Lewis has one carry for four yards and two catches for 13 yards. He’s the only player standing out for the Patriots on offense.
First quarter, 1:50, Saints 15-0: The McCourty-cornerback experiment isn’t going great so far.
Cooks just ran past McCourty and free safety Duron Harmon for a long 45-yard touchdown. The Saints lead 15-0 now. It appeared McCourty tried to pass off Cooks to Harmon, but he was too fast for both players.
First quarter, 3:01, Saints 9-0: Yikes. The Patriots’ offense looks rough so far.
They went three-and-out again, only gaining yards on a second-down dumpoff to running back Dion Lewis.
First quarter, 4:29, Saints 9-0: The Saints drove down the field easily on their second offensive series. Quarterback Drew Brees found Brandin Cooks over McCourty for a big gain. Ben Watson hauled in a 10-yard touchdown over Patriots linebacker Jonathan Freeny.
Sealver Siliga made an impressive run stuff early in the drive, and cornerback Malcolm Butler came away with two impressive tackles.
First quarter, 8:40, Saints 3-0: Another drive for Tom Brady, another three-and-out for the Patriots.
LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis received carries, then Brady failed to hit Danny Amendola on third down. Lewis showed impressive burst on this second-down 4-yard carry.
First quarter, 9:55, Saints 3-0: Devin McCourty is starting at right cornerback for the Patriots. He showed up early with a pass breakup over 6-foot-6 wideout Brandon Coleman on third and 5 near the goal line. Coleman beat McCourty, but the defensive back made up for it by getting his arm in to knock out the ball.
The Saints had to settle for a field goal after McCourty’s play. The Patriots allowed 51 yards through the air to Saints running backs. Linebacker Jamie Collins was beat badly on a 29-yard catch by running back Mark Ingram.
First quarter, 13:22: The Patriots went three-and-out to begin the game. Tom Brady started, and undrafted free agents Jimmay Mundine and Chris Harper are getting early work with the first-team offense.
The drive ended on a bad drop from tight end Michael Hoomanawanui on third and 8.
7:35 p.m.: The game is about to kick off. Stay here for updates and analysis throughout the game.
7:07 p.m.: Devin McCourty is lining up at right cornerback during pregame drills, CSNNE.com’s Mike Giardi reports. He’s been practicing at cornerback since last Saturday, but team rules preclude the media from reporting position changes.
Butler and McCourty have lined up at corner, Tarell Brown has been in the slot, Duron Harmon has played free safety and Patrick Chung has been at strong safety. Belichick could just be looking to find his best five defensive backs, regardless of ideal position.
6:57 p.m.: Running backs Brandon Bolden, Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount, all of whom didn’t suit up last week, are in uniform, according to reports from New Orleans. Cornerback Tarell Brown reportedly also is on the field.
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Marcus Cannon isn’t on the field in uniform, Howe reports. Edelman, Dobson, LaFell, Roberts, Kettani, Cadet, Fletcher, Martin, Wendell, Stork, Hauptmann, Johnson, Vellano, Flowers, Tyms, Bequette, Chandler and Chris Jones also won’t play, according to Howe.
6:28 p.m.: Or perhaps we won’t see Gronkowski at all tonight.
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5:50 p.m.: We might not see much of Rob Gronkowski tonight.
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5:45 p.m. ET: Injuries continue to ravage the New England Patriots’ roster as they prepare for their second preseason matchup of 2015.
There are 19 players not expected to suit up against the New Orleans Saints on Saturday night. Wide receivers Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson, Brandon LaFell and Brian Tyms; cornerback Darryl Roberts; fullback Eric Kettani; running back Travaris Cadet; linebacker Dane Fletcher; defensive linemen Eric Martin, Rufus Johnson, Joe Vellano, Trey Flowers and Chris Jones; offensive linemen Marcus Cannon, Ryan Wendell, Bryan Stork and Caylin Hauptmann; and tight ends Jake Bequette and Scott Chandler haven’t been practicing fully and aren’t expected to get in on the action.
We could see preseason debuts from linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Jerod Mayo; quarterback Ryan Lindley; running backs LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis and Brandon Bolden; offensive linemen Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder; tight end Rob Gronkowski; and defensive linemen Sealver Siliga and Alan Branch, all of whom missed last Thursday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. It’s possible the Patriots could give players like Hightower, Blount, Vollmer and Solder another week to recover from injuries before going full contact in a game, however.
Quarterback Tom Brady is expected to play against the Saints, the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reported Saturday. Brady only played two series’ against the Packers. He usually plays more in the Patriots’ second preseason game, so we could see more of the starting QB tonight.
Here are 10 players to watch, based on the Patriots’ first preseason game and training camp practices, in tonight’s matchup.
The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET. It airs on WBZ in Boston. Find out how to watch the game here.
Thumbnail photo via Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports Images