Final, Giants 31-29: Alonzo Russell beat Gunner Olszewski for a last-second touchdown to give the Giants the victory. That’ll do it for the 2019 Patriots preseason.
New England must trim its roster to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Next up: a primetime, season-opening matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.
Fourth quarter, 6:27, Patriots 29-25: Keion Crossen tonight: 11 tackles, one interception, five (!) pass breakups. That’s what you call making a strong push for a roster spot.
Fourth quarter, 13:27, Patriots 29-25: Undrafted rookie Malik Gant was carted off the field with an injury, exhausting the Patriots’ supply of available safeties.
That resulted in Gunner Olszewski, who’s made splash plays as a punt returner and receiver tonight, entering the game at his collegiate position: cornerback.
Olszewski made one tackle on the drive and was not targeted in coverage, but the Giants eventually found the end zone, with Wayne Gallman driving his way in from 6 yards out.
Kyle Lauletta did try to expose the undrafted rookie on the ensuing two-point conversion, but the try was unsuccessful after Olszewski forced receiver Reggie White Jr. out the back of the end zone, resulting in an illegal procedure call.
Third quarter, 2:45, Patriots 29-19: Touchdown, Giants.
Keion Crossen notched another pass breakup — he’s up to four on the night — and was in coverage on New York’s failed two-point conversion.
Third quarter, 9:40, Patriots 29-13: The Giants nearly gifted the Patriots another dropped-pass interception, but Keion Crossen was unable to hold on to this one after a deflection in the end zone. It would have been a nice feather in the cap for a player who’s gone from goat to standout over the course of this game.
Halftime, Patriots 29-10: The Gunner Olszewski Experience is one wild ride.
On the Patriots’ final possession of the first half, Olszewski flipped through the air on a punt return, caught passes of 29 and 6 yards and blocked two Giants defenders on one Jarrett Stidham scramble.
Unfortunately for the Division II longshot, officials ruled one of those blocks violated the NFL’s new mandate against illegal blindside blocks. The Patriots were penalized 15 yards and settled for a Stephen Gostkowski field goal.
Second quarter, 2:00, Patriots 26-10: Recently signed linebacker Scooby Wright brought down Alex Tanney for the Patriots’ first sack of the evening.
You could call it a …
*PUTS ON SUNGLASSES, EXITS PRESS BOX.*
Second quarter, 3:54, Patriots 26-10: A gift of an interception by Duke Dawson set up another Patriots score.
A Giants pass bounced off the hands of tight end CJ Conrad and directly to Dawson, who’s been squarely on the roster bubble since the start of training camp.
Dawson returned the pick to New York’s 20-yard line, and after Jakobi Meyers drew a pass interference call in the end zone, Nick Brossette sprinted around the edge for a 1-yard touchdown.
Stephen Gostkowski also added a field goal earlier after Crossen’s interception.
Second quarter, 7:16, Patriots 16-10: More redemption for Keion Crossen.
The cornerback hauled in an impressive interception along the Patriots’ sideline and immediately was mobbed by his teammates. He’s been lights-out since the end of the first quarter.
The Patriots also had their German fullback, Jakob Johnson, playing outside linebacker during the latest drive, because preseason.
Second quarter, 8:38, Patriots 16-10: Demaryius Thomas couldn’t have asked for a much better Patriots debut.
The veteran wideout has caught all but one of the eight passes thrown his way, totaling 87 yards and scoring two touchdowns. The second came on a red-zone scramble drill, with Jarrett Stidham finding him in the corner of the end zone.
Second quarter, 12:41, Giants 10-9: Keion Crossen has bounced back nicely after allowing his first-quarter touchdown. He hasn’t surrendered a catch on his last three targets and just broke up a deep ball to Alonzo Russell on third down, igniting the Patriots’ sideline.
Joejuan Williams also delivered a booming hit on Brittan Golden. The second-round pick has looked good tonight in his maiden voyage at safety.
Second quarter, 14:49, Giants 10-9: Jarrett Stidham went deep on consecutive throws during the Patriots’ latest drive. Josh Gordon drew a defensive pass interference call on the first. Demaryius Thomas caught a 35-yard back-shoulder touchdown on the second.
Outside of that botched handoff earlier, Thomas actually is having a very solid debut. He’s up to four catches on five targets for 57 yards, with the only incompletion being Stidham’s interception.
First quarter, 1:14, Giants 10-3: The Giants couldn’t capitalize on Thomas’ miscue. They went three-and-out and kicked a field goal, unsuccessfully targeting Keion Crossen on all three plays.
The drive featured yet another unsuccessful pass interference challenge. Patriots opponents are 0-for-5 on those this preseason.
First quarter, 1:24, Giants 7-3: Two turnovers on two plays for Jarrett Stidham.
This one wasn’t on the quarterback, though. Demaryius Thomas botched the handoff on an attempted end-around. The Giants recovered at the Patriots 14-yard line. Odd play call involving a player who rarely takes handoffs.
First quarter, 1:37, Giants 7-3: Keion Crossen has had a very good summer, but he’s having a tough time tonight. The second-year corner just got torched by Alonzo Russell for a 35-yard touchdown — his third reception allowed on three targets.
First quarter, 2:29, Patriots 3-0: Jarrett Stidham followed a great play up with a not-so-great one to end the Patriots’ latest possession.
After dashing up the middle for 19 yards on third-and-13, he was hit from behind on the ensuing snap, causing the ball to flutter high into the air and land in the arms of safety Sean Chandler for the first interception of the young QB’s Patriots career.
On the positive side, Stidham has displayed strong chemistry with Demaryius Thomas thus far, completing three passes on four targets for 22 yards to the big veteran. His hookups with Josh Gordon have been less successful. He’s 1-for-5 when targeting Gordon.
The Patriots also lost rookie guard Hjalte Froholdt to an injury during the drive. He was helped off the field and taken to the sideline medical tent.
First quarter, 6:01, Patriots 3-0: The Patriots’ first defensive series ended in a fourth-and-1 stand inside their own red zone.
In notable personnel news, super-sized rookie cornerback Joejuan Williams played the entire drive at safety. This is the first time we’ve seen Williams used that way, but it makes sense. At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, he has the stature to match up with tight ends.
First quarter, 11:07, Patriots 3-0: In a more star-studded series than you typically see in a preseason finale, Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and Demaryius Thomas played snaps at wide receiver in New England’s Jarrett Stidham-led offense.
Stidham targeted Gordon four times, resulting in one 19-yard completion. He targeted Edelman and Thomas once apiece and completed both, gaining 20 and 7 yards, respectively.
The drive ended painfully for Edelman, however. He left the field after his catch and received medical attention on his left hand/thumb. He was not taken to the medical tent or the locker room, however, so the Patriots might have dodged a bullet.
Also of note: Stephen Anderson and Eric Saubert were the Patriots’ tight ends during the drive, which culminated in a successful Stephen Gostkowski field goal. That could be a sign that Ryan Izzo has secured a roster spot.
First quarter, 15:00, 0-0: The Giants won the coin toss and elected to defer.
Jarrett Stidham will lead the Patriots’ offense out as we get underway here in Foxboro.
6:43 p.m.: The following Patriots players are not in uniform:
Josh Gordon, Julian Edelman, Braxton Berrios, Patrick Chung, N’Keal Harry, Demaryius Thomas, Matt LaCosse, Shilique Calhoun and Trent Harris all are dressed after sitting out last week. We’ll see who from that group actually plays tonight.
Harry isn’t taking part in warmups, so looks like he’s out.
David Andrews, who was hospitalized this week with blood clots in his lungs, is watching warmups in street clothes.
The Patriots’ two new offensive linemen, Korey Cunningham and Jermaine Eluemunor, are here and in uniform. It’s highly unlikely either will see the field, but they’ll be on the sideline.
6:43 p.m.: Josh Gordon is on the field in uniform. He’s practicing kickoff returns in warmups, which is not something we saw from him last season.
Julian Edelman and Patrick Chung also are suited up. Edelman is wearing short sleeves and has his arm taped. He looks ready to play.
5:45 p.m.: The Patriots have begun their pregame stretching, and wide receivers N’Keal Harry and Josh Gordon are warming up with a group of backups and young players who are expected to play tonight. Perhaps they’ll see some playing time.
Harry hasn’t played since leaving the Patriots’ preseason opener with a leg injury, and Gordon hasn’t suited up since being suspended last December. He was conditionally reinstated earlier this month and removed from the non-football injury list this past weekend.
Braxton Berrios also is on the field for warmups. He missed last week’s game with an injury. No sign of Demaryius Thomas yet.
Julian Edelman ran through his typical pregame catch routine about an hour ago, but he’s in the locker room at the moment.
2:10 p.m. ET: Real, live, actual, regular-season football in New England is just 10 short days away.
But before the Patriots can welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to Gillette Stadium next Sunday night and unveil that Super Bowl LIII banner, they have one more order of business to attend to: tonight’s preseason finale against the New York Giants.
Traditionally, Week 4 of the preseason features few household names, as most teams choose to rest their starters and veteran contributors to keep them fresh and healthy for Week 1. But not every player who takes the field tonight will be sent packing on Saturday, when all teams must finalize their initial 53-man rosters.
Not including the three specialists, 10 Patriots players who saw action in this game last year were on the Week 1 roster — a list that included names like J.C. Jackson, Jason McCourty, Adam Butler and Ted Karras.
Not every player who sits is automatically safe, either. Brandon Bolden, Mike Gillislee and Riley McCarron all did so last year and then were released on cutdown day, though McCarron wound up re-signing for the season opener before being let go for good.
Generally speaking, though, if a player perceived to be on the roster bubble spends tonight on the sideline, chances are he’s made the squad. Players who could fall under that umbrella include tight end Ryan Izzo, safety Duron Harmon and defensive end Deatrich Wise.
One roster battle we’ll be closely monitoring is the backup quarterback competition. Rookie Jarrett Stidham likely will take the lion’s share of snaps against the Giants, but if Brian Hoyer plays, too, that could indicate the veteran’s roster spot is in jeopardy.
Another is at linebacker, as Calvin Munson and Elandon Roberts could be fighting for one spot. Duke Dawson’s fate remains a mystery, as well. Will New England find a way to keep the 2018 second-round draft pick after an underwhelming summer?
We’ll also have our eye on the receiving corps. Will the Patriots look to get Demaryius Thomas or Josh Gordon some run before the regular season (or N’Keal Harry, who hasn’t played since the preseason opener)? Or will they roll with their young group of roster longshots?
Along those same lines, will this be another busy night for Jakobi Meyers? Or will the Patriots lighten the undrafted rookie’s workload with his roster spot seemingly secure?
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET in Foxboro, Mass. Be sure to check back throughout the afternoon for full pregame coverage.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images