With two defensive pass interference challenges and 17 total flags, Thursday night’s preseason game between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers was what we’d call a tough watch.
The exhibition game certainly was meaningful for some players, however. Here are Thursday night’s winners and losers from the Patriots’ 10-3 win.
WR PHILLIP DORSETT
Dorsett helped his case for a role by catching 7-of-7 targets for 47 yards. Dorsett could be fighting for a roster spot with Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas and N’Keal Harry all seemingly ahead of him on the wide receiver depth chart.
The next guy on this list also has stood out this summer.
WR JAKOBI MEYERS
Meyers didn’t catch a pass while Tom Brady was at quarterback, but he hauled in seven passes on 12 targets for 74 yards by the end of the night with all of his receptions coming from rookie Jarrett Stidham.
Outside of Dorsett and Meyers, only Ryan Davis had more than one catch. The receiver had two receptions for 8 yards.
Really, the Patriots’ pass defense, in general, was dominant Thursday night. Panthers QBs went 11-of-20 for 90 yards, and the Patriots had four sacks.
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy and defensive linemen Ufomba Kamalu, Michael Bennett and Adam Butler wound up with sacks. Kamalu’s sack actually came when he was standing up as an edge rusher.
PR GUNNER OLSZEWSKI
Olszewski didn’t do much on offense, catching one pass for 15 yards. But he did bring back four punts for 63 yards including a long return of 28 yards. We’ve just assumed Olszewski would slip onto the Patriots’ practice squad, but maybe a team — even New England? — would want him as a returner.
Olszewski left the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent injury.
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed another field goal with new punter Jake Bailey as his holder. He also missed one last week with Bailey as the holder and in Week 1 of the preseason with recently-cut punter Ryan Allen holding.
They’ve got to clean it up before the regular season starts in just over two weeks.
Olszewski, running back Damien Harris, tight ends Stephen Anderson, Lance Kendricks and Ben Watson and linebacker Brandon King all left the game not to return. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy and safety Nate Ebner also got banged up but came back into the game.
King’s injury looked most serious. He was carted off the field with a left leg ailment.