Patriots 10, Panthers 3: Defense continues its dominance

Ryan Hannable
August 22, 2019 - 10:24 pm

FOXBOROUGH — It wasn’t the greatest of performances by any means, but the Patriots got the job done.

In a defensive battle, the Patriots beat the Panthers 10-3 in the third preseason game Thursday night.

Sadly, injuries were the big story with a number of Patriots leaving the game, and the same went for the Panthers with Cam Newton leaving with an ankle injury.

Here are 10 quick observations from the game.

1. Tom Brady played roughly 1.5 quarters and finished the night 8-for-12 with 75 yards. His favorite target was Phillip Dorsett as five of his completions went to the veteran wide out. Brady was frustrated following the first couple of series, but things got a little better with him under center, including a 15-play, 66-yard touchdown drive capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by James Develin.

2. Rookie Jarrett Stidham replaced Brady towards the end of the first half. The thought is the coaching staff is seeing how the Auburn product reacts to help decide whether or not to carry two or three quarterbacks. Stidham was 15-for-19 with 134 yards, but did throw a lot of passes that put his receivers in vulnerable positions. Brian Hoyer did not play at all.

3. It was an up-and-down night for undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers. He did not appear to be on the same page as Brady resulting in two incompletions, but he picked up his play when Stidham entered. He also had a penalty early in the game. Meyers finished with seven receptions for 74 yards. His roster spot does not appear to be in jeopardy.

4. The Patriots defense was dominant and continues to build on a fantastic summer to this point. In the first half when the starters played virtually the entirety, the Panthers finished with two first downs, averaged 1.7 yards per play and were 0-for-5 on third down. What stood out most was the number of personnel the team used, which shows how good the unit can be as it can match up with almost any offense.

5. Sony Michel was impressive in his first action of the summer, finishing with 36 yards on 10 carries. He could have had more if not for penalties on the offensive line. The only knock was he still seems to have trouble with short-yardage situations and it would have been nice to see him get another goal-line carry instead of Develin.

6. Based on what we saw, Jason McCourty is ahead of J.C. Jackson on the depth chart at corner. McCourty started and played the first half, while Jackson replaced him to start the second half. It’s also worth noting Deatrich Wise and Mike Pennel saw extensive time in the second half when the first unit was done for the night. Understanding not everyone can rest, this seems notable with roster cuts looming in a week.

7. Dorsett was once again Mr. Reliable. The receiver caught all seven passes thrown his way for 47 yards. Some have said he’s not a lock to make the team, but with all the question marks at the position performances like this have him pretty close to being in that category.

8. Bill Belichick is not going to be a fan of the penalties again. After seeing them pile up in the first two preseason games, they did again Thursday. As a team, the Patriots finished with eight for 80 yards. This absolutely will be a point of emphasis between now and Week 1.

9. Tight end Ryan Izzo made the best play by a tight end all summer with a terrific diving catch in traffic from Brady in the first half. In a wide open competition, this was definitely a positive as it feels like virtually any tight end on the roster has a chance of making the team. Given a year in the system, Izzo may have an edge over some of the others.

10. Injuries were a major story in the game. The following players missed some time or left the game due to injury: Brandon King (looks like serious knee injury, was carted off), Benjamin Watson (took late hit from Eric Reid), Damien Harris (unknown), Nate Ebner (returned), Kyle Van Noy (returned), Lance Kendricks (unknown) and Gunner Olszewski (possible concussion). Other notable players not to play were N’Keal Harry, Patrick Chung, Maurice Harris, Matt LaCosse and Matthew Slater.

Related: Belknap County attorney releases statement regarding Patrick Chung