The New England Patriots were blown out by the Washington Redskins in their opening preseason contest at FedEx Field Thursday night, 23-6. For the most part, it was the Pats second and third teamers battling the ‘Skins counterparts. Aside from a few noteworthy individual performances, all aspects of the game were flat out terrible.
Now the Pats sat out out almost all of their projected regulars, but many guys who coach Bill Belichick expected to see improvement from failed to live up to expectations. Others hoping to crack the final roster and carve out a niche squandered the opportunity. Belichick was voiced his disappointment following the game.
“I don’t think we did very many things the way we wanted to do them tonight,” said Belichick on the defeat during his post game presser.
Ryan Mallet is one Patriot player who didn’t have his night turn out the way he wanted. The fourth-year quarterback started the game and played throughout the first half. Mallet had a prime opportunity to secure the second-string spot behind Tom Brady and turned in an atrocious performance.
Mallet threw for just 55 yards on 5-of-12 passing. He averaged 4.6 yards per pass, finishing with a 55.6 passer rating. Mallet’s current backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, outplayed him in the second half for sure.
“There were a few flashing moments, but not many,” said Belichick.
Garoppolo accounted for some of those moments. He was impressive in his NFL debut. He threw for 157 yards on 9-of-13 passing. The rookie also tossed a touchdown pass to Bryan Tyms. He finished with a 135.7 passer rating.
“It’s a process. We just have to take it in stride and keep getting better,” said Garoppolo of the offense.
New England for the most part was wildly inconsistent on the offensive side of things and heavily penalized. They operated at a 50% clip on third down and committed nine penalties that totaled 81 yards.
“We didn’t move the ball well and we were in too many long-yardage situations,” said Belichick.
Roy Finch and Jonas Gray saw the majority of the work in the ground game. Finch was decent, totaling 15 yards on three attempts. Gray was largely ineffective, picking up just 12 yards on 9 attempts. Rookie James White had 9 yards on four carries.
Tyms was the standout in the aerial attack. He snagged 5 balls for 119 yards, highlighted by a 26-yard score and a 56-yard strike. Second-year receiver Josh Boyce had three catches for 30 yards.
The Special teams and defensive play wasn’t up to par either. “We weren’t good in any phase of the game,” added Belichick. “We got the ball on the ground and we didn’t play very well on defense.”
The Pats defense surrendered a total of 387 yards. They allowed 210 through the air and 111 on the ground.
Belichick opted to sit Darrelle Revis, allowing rookie corner Malcolm Butler a chance to showcase his skills. Butler was New England’s most impressive defensive player. He covered well and notched 7 tackles. Belichick credited the the youngster on a nice effort following the game.
Logan Ryan was shaky as he was beaten badly by Aldrick Robinson for a touchdown. Brandon Browner saw his fair share of reps. His physicality worked against him though. The officials took note, flagging him for illegal use of the hands.
Big Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly put in some nice work in returning from season-ending injuries. “I don’t foresee us having these same problems by the time we get to Miami,” said Kelly on the team’s performance.
Washington was able to have their with New England on the ground. They allowed Alred Morris, Silas Redd and Lache Seastrunk to run for over five yards per carry. Quarterback Robert Griffin played in one series.
Like Butler, linebacker Steve Beauharnais made strides in making a name for himself. He totaled nine tackles. Veteran backer James Anderson was also active at the second level, making seven stops of his own.
Finch and Stephen Houston both fumbled while returning the football on special teams. Houston’s fumble was recovered by Washington. Finch’s was not.
The bench clearly struggled with the starters observing from the sideline. That’s no excuse though, in the eyes of their coach. Belichick noted that every team in the league has had the same amount of practices this summer therefore, the reserves should have been more prepared than what they exhibited.
“Overall, we have a lot of work to do. That is obvious,” added Belichick.
The Pats will return to practice and prep for their next preseason tilt opposite the Philadelphia Eagles next Friday at Gillette.