Final, Patriots 36-20: How’s that for a bounce-back game?
After falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in embarrassing fashion in their season opener, the New England Patriots responded by torching the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Week 2.
Tom Brady completed 30 of 39 passes for 447 yards and three touchdowns, all of which came in the first quarter. It was the third-highest single-game yardage total of the Patriots quarterback’s career.
Injuries continued to mount for New England, however, as tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Rex Burkhead, wide receiver Phillip Dorsett and cornerback Eric Rowe all left the game and did not return.
Next up for the Patriots: the Houston Texans, who will visit Gillette Stadium next Sunday.
Fourth quarter, 5:04, Patriots 36-20: The Saints found the end zone for the first time since early in the second quarter, with Drew Brees hitting Coby Fleener for a 4-yard score.
More injury news for the Patriots: wide receiver Phillip Dorsett spent time in the medical tent with what appeared to be a knee or leg injury.
Fourth quarter, 8:49, Patriots 36-13: Mike Gillislee appeared to score his second touchdown of the game, but an illegal shift penalty nullified it. A hold on Marcus Cannon pushed the Patriots’ further back, and they settled for another Stephen Gostkowski field goal.
The Patriots also lost another skill player to injury, as running back Rex Burkhead headed to the locker room with a rib ailment. He’s questionable to return.
Phillip Dorsett caught two passes on the drive, including an acrobatic 38-yarder.
Fourth quarter, 14:19, Patriots 33-13: After a Saints three-and-out, it’s Patriots ball once again. Chris Hogan is in the game after getting dinged up earlier, but Rob Gronkowski is not.
The tight end has a groin injury and is questionable to return, per the team.
Third quarter, 0:40, Patriots 33-13: The Patriots padded their lead with a 24-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski, but they could have a problem on their hands.
Rob Gronkowski was slow to get up after a 21-yard reception, and he’s been receiving medical attention on the Patriots’ bench. The Pats really cannot afford to lose another offensive weapon, especially one as talented as Gronkowski.
Third quarter, 4:55, Patriots 30-13: Wil Lutz clanged a 49-yard field-goal attempt off the right upright, keeping the Patriots’ lead at 17 points.
Jonathan Jones stepped up again during the Saints’ latest drive, breaking up a long pass intended for Brandon Coleman. The backup cornerback now has two pass breakups on the day.
Third quarter, 7:34, Patriots 30-13: The Saints intercepted Tom Brady twice in four plays, but both were wiped away because of penalties.
New Orleans had 12 men on the field on the first, and Vonn Bell grabbed the back of Rob Gronkowski’s jersey on the second.
The Patriots’ drive ultimately wound up stalling, resulting in a Ryan Allen punt.
Eric Rowe, who left the field during the Patriots’ last defensive series, is questionable to return with a groin injury.
Third quarter, 11:09, Patriots 30-13: Deatrich Wise is really causing problems for the Saints’ offensive line. The rookie sacked Drew Brees on third down to force a New Orleans punt.
Wise is up to four quarterback hits already.
Cornerback Eric Rowe left the field midway through the series and was taken to the medical tent for evaluation. He later jogged down the tunnel toward the locker room. We’ll keep you updated on his condition.
Halftime, Patriots 30-13: The Patriots had to settle for a Stephen Gostkowski field goal on their final possession of the first half after Rob Gronkowski dropped what would have been his second touchdown of the game.
Other than that, Gronkowski was dominant in the first half, catching five passes on seven targets for 95 yards and one score. Tom Brady was, as well, completing 19 of 25 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns.
Second quarter, 2:23, Patriots 27-13: Drew Brees and the Saints have racked up plenty of yards this afternoon, but the Patriots are doing a nice job of keeping them out of the end zone.
New Orleans’ latest drive ended when Brees failed to connect with Ted Ginn Jr. on fourth-and-3.
Deatrich Wise was a force for the Patriots on that series, stuffing Adrian Peterson for a 1-yard loss and nearly sacking Brees on the following play.
Second quarter, 8:23, Patriots 27-13: After going three-and-out on the last drive, Tom Brady got right back to buisness, hitting Rob Gronkowski for 17 yards, Chris Hogan for 27 yards and Brandin Cooks for 22.
Mike Gillislee finished things off with a 2-yard touchdown run, his fourth of the season.
All four of Gillislee’s touchdowns have come from inside the 2-yard line.
Second quarter, 8:23, Patriots 20-13: A long completion from Drew Brees to Brandon Coleman gave the Saints possession deep in Patriots territory, but they settled for a field goal.
Reserve cornerback Jonathan Jones broke up what would have been a touchdown pass from Brees to Ted Ginn Jr. on third down.
Coleman was wide open on his completion, which went for 42 yards. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore got knocked down at the line and was down on a knee when Coleman caught the ball.
Second quarter, 10:31, Patriots 20-10: A sack on third down forced the Patriots to punt for the first time today. Linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha beat left tackle Nate Solder and buried Tom Brady.
Second quarter, 11:52, Patriots 20-10: Drew Brees responded to Tom Brady’s latest touchdown pass with one of his own.
The Saints quarterback hit running back Alvin Kamara for a 38-yard gain, then found Brandon Coleman in the end zone five plays later for a 5-yard score.
Malcolm Butler was in coverage on Coleman but got caught up in traffic after the snap and couldn’t stick with the wideout. It was not a good look for a player who already appears to be in coach Bill Belichick’s doghouse.
First quarter, 0:16, Patriots 20-3: Tom Brady got his receivers involved as the Patriots marched toward another touchdown, completing a 23-yard pass to newcomer Phillip Dorsett and finding Chris Hogan for a 13-yard score. Both players were wide open.
Brady is having a phenomenal afternoon so far, completing 11 of his first 15 passes for 177 yards and three scores. How impressive is that? Consider this:
Yeah, that’s pretty good.
First quarter, 4:09, Patriots 13-3: The Saints picked up two holding penalties, one of which was declined, and were forced to punt. Patrick Chung fair-caught the boot from Thomas Morstead.
First quarter, 5:29, Patriots 13-3: An 18-yard completion to Rex Burkhead and a 53-yard catch-and-run by Rob Gronkowski helped the Patriots pad their lead.
On what initially appeared to be a broken play, Gronkowski beat rookie linebacker Alex Anzalone down the right side, hauled in a rainbow of a pass from Tom Brady and took off down the sideline, shaking a tackle at the 5-yard line on his way to the end zone.
It was the 69th receiving touchdown of Gronkowski’s career and his 70th overall.
First quarter, 7:38, Patriots 6-3: The Saints picked up two first downs in their first three plays, but their first drive stalled in Patriots territory, forcing them to settle for a Wil Lutz field goal.
Notably, cornerback Eric Rowe started over Malcolm Butler for the Patriots, with Butler coming off the bench three plays into the series. Defensive tackle Adam Butler also started over veteran Alan Branch.
First quarter, 10:31, Patriots 6-0: The Patriots are on the board.
Tom Brady marched his team 75 yards down the field in 10 plays, capping off the drive with 19-yard touchdown pass to running back Rex Burkhead.
Brady did not complete a pass to a wide receiver during the opening series, completing two to Burkhead, three to running back James White and one to tight end Rob Gronkowski. His lone incompletion came on a pass to Brandin Cooks, which was broken up by Marshon Lattimore.
Cooks picked up 13 yards on an end around, and the Patriots converted two third downs.
Stephen Gostkowski, who was uncharacteristically erratic last season, missed the extra point.
First quarter, 15:00, 0-0: The Saints won the opening coin toss and chose to defer. It’ll be Patriots ball to start the game.
Let’s get it on.
12:32 p.m.: Cornerback Malcolm Butler, who met with the Saints during his time as a restricted free agent this spring, did not line up with the Patriots’ starting defense during warmups. Eric Rowe took Butler’s usual spot opposite Stephon Gilmore.
That might not mean anything, but it was strange to see. Butler has struggled more than usual since the beginning of the preseason.
12:20 p.m.: We’re closing in on kickoff here at the Superdome. One note from pregame warmups: Patrick Chung, Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan practiced returning punts for the Patriots. Expect Chung to start in that role.
11:26 a.m.: The following Patriots players will be inactive today:
Wide receiver Danny Amendola
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower
Special teamer Matthew Slater
Special teamer Nate Ebner
Defensive tackle Vincent Valentine
Offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle
Offensive tackle Cole Croston
Patriots linebacker Harvey Langi and tight end Jacob Hollister will make their NFL debuts today after both were inactive in Week 1.
The Saints’ inactive list includes both of their starting offensive tackles (Terron Armstead and Zach Strief) and former Patriots receiver Austin Carr.
11:26 a.m.: As the Patriots and Saints warm up down on the field, Brandin Cooks has spent some time chatting with his former Saints teammates.
Another familiar face to Patriots fans is warming up in Saints gear. That would be wide receiver Austin Carr, who impressed for New England this preseason before being claimed by New Orleans following final cuts.
11 a.m. ET: The New England Patriots will look to get back on track today as they visit the New Orleans Saints for the first time since 2009.
The Patriots and Saints both dropped their season openers last week, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings, respectively.
This game will be a homecoming of sorts for Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who played his first three pro seasons with the Saints before being traded to New England earlier this year.
Cooks headlines an injury-riddled Patriots receiving corps that will be without Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Matthew Slater. New England enters today with just three healthy wideouts (Cooks, Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett) after declining to add another player earlier in the week.
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower and defensive tackle Vincent Valentine, both of whom are dealing with knee injuries, also did not make the trip.
Tight end Jacob Hollister, who was inactive in Week 1, is expected to make his NFL debut today, per a report from ESPN’s Dianna Russini. Hollister is third on the depth chart behind Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen.
Kickoff at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is set for 1 p.m. ET. Stay tuned in the meantime for pregame updates and analysis.
Thumbnail photo via Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports Images
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