Patriots Start Pre-Season With 34-22 Win Over NO Saints

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Philip Tor | Pats Militia

Football is back, ladies and gents and the Patriots have begun their journey back to the Super Bowl. Even though pre-season does not mean anything in terms of winning and losing, it still gives the fans a good look on how the team is coming together, how newcomers are adjusting, and what the back end of our depth chart will shape out. Last night, the Patriots beat the New Orleans Saints 34-22 thanks to a tremendous effort by the defense and a solid first appearance for Jimmy Garoppolo. The Pats did not look as sharp as some hoped, but that is what the pre-season is for, working on your game and getting ready for the real action.

The game got off to a blazing fast start, when on the first series of the game, Saints starting RB Mark Ingram fumbled the ball thanks to Jabaal Sheard, and the ball was recovered by our first pick this year, Cyrus Jones. That led to a quick 3 and out by the Pats, but then standout Linebacker Jamie Collins did what he does, and gave Patriots fans something to cheer about.

Backup quarterback Garret Grayson attempted a pass to WR Brandon Coleman that was deflected and eventually picked off by Collins who then turned on the jets and ran it back 43 yards for a touchdown. That made the score 8-0 Patriots after a conversion from James White.

The Saints would answer back with 2 touchdowns of their own, one after an impressive punt return by RB/RS Marcus Murphy. The first quarter was tough for Jimmy Garoppolo who could not find a rhythm at all. In the second quarter Patriots fans saw an improvement in the 3rd year quarterback. The first drive of the second quarter, Jimmy G led the Patriots downfield in just 4 plays scoring on a 1 yard TD run by LeGarrette Blount. The key play in the drive was a 56 yard catch and run by James White.

That put the score at 16-14 Saints (Failed conversion after touchdown). The Patriots would get on the scoreboard one more time in the first half when Garoppolo led the team downfield on a 12 play 46 yard drive that resulted in a Stephen Gostowski field goal. On that drive we saw rookie Malcolm Mitchell, who has turned heads at Patriots training camp, catch 2 balls to keep the drive alive.

The next series we saw the standout rookie Malcolm Mitchell go down with a gruesome looking elbow injury after getting dragged down by a Saints defender.

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Initial reports feared that it was a broken arm or elbow, but after the game Pats fans got news that the rookie merely dislocated the elbow and it popped back into place in the locker room. X-Rays were negative and Mitchell’s timetable for return is in 4 weeks.

The second half came to a close as the Patriots turned the ball over on downs as time was expiring, close to the Saints goal-line. That was it for Jimmy Garoppolo who finished the game going 11-18 with 168 yards passing. As for the other starters, Malcolm Mitchell played great before his injury, catching 4 passes for 55 yards. TE Martellus Bennett had 3 catches for 33 yards and was a frequent target for the young quarterback under center.

In the second half, fans saw some backups really make a name for themselves. QB Jacoby Brissett, TE AJ Derby, and RB Tyler Gaffney all made an impact for the 2nd stringers. In the third quarter Brissett led off a drive with two quick passes to Derby, then let Tyler Gaffney do the rest.

The Patriots forced 4 Saints turnovers on Thursday night, 2 fumbles and 2 interceptions. In the first half it was Collins and Sheard, but for the 2nd team it was Cre’von LeBlanc, and Tre Flowers who made names for themselves.

It was an 18 yard sack and a 17 yard return for Trey Flowers, a second year defensive lineman out of Arkansas.

It was a great win for the Patriots, as they now look to their next contest against the Chicago Bears, who walk into Gillette Stadium next Thursday.

MVP: RB Tyler Gaffney: 9 Rush/64 yds/TD



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