Patriots 22, Titans 17: 10 quick thoughts from second preseason game

Ryan Hannable
August 17, 2019 - 10:07 pm
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It was a tale of two halves for the Patriots in the second preseason game against the Titans.

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New England trailed 17-8 at the half, but shut Tennessee out in the second half to come away with a 22-17 win on the road.

Rookie Jarrett Stidham also picked up his play in the second half, as he finished the night 13-for-18 with 177 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown came to Damoun Patterson with 4:12 to play, which proved to be the game-winner. That capped off a 11-play, 99-yard drive.

Here are 10 quick observations from the game.

1. Like last week in Detroit, Tom Brady and the majority of the starters got the night off, which meant Brian Hoyer started the game. It didn’t go as well as it did in preseason game No. 1. Hoyer finished 6-for-8 with 55 yards and an interception for a QB rating of 53.6. Stidham didn't have a great first half, but did a really nice job in the second half. This included completing his last eight passes. He still has a long way to go, but has shown a number of good signs in the first two preseason games. Hoyer may have struggled due to a number of the top receivers missing the game because of injuries.

2. One of the biggest takeaways from the game was seeing left tackle Isaiah Wynn get his first action of the preseason. The Georgia product started and played the first three series. Following missing all of his rookie year with an Achilles injury, Wynn was pretty impressive Saturday night. Him playing this week is a great sign that he will be available for Week 1 against Pittsburgh.

3. After not participating much at all in the practices thus far, Saturday was the first real extended look at rookie running back Damien Harris. The Alabama product finished with 14 carries for 80 yards, while also adding four catches for 23 yards out of the backfield. He showed good vision and it was an impressive first real extensive showing. Harris played virtually the whole game, which sometimes the Patriots like to do with young backs to allow them to experience the rhythm of the game.

4. The starters on the defense also got the night off, which meant more time for rookie Chase Winovich to shine. The Michigan product finished the night with five tackles, including two for loss, a sack, and two quarterback hits. He has an incredible motor and figures to see some time with the starting unit beginning next Thursday in the third preseason game.

5. Linebacker Calvin Munson got extended playing time in the first half and made the most of it by finishing with eight tackles. Munson was on the practice squad last season and has talent, but it just seems unlikely there’s a spot for him on the team considering how deep the linebacker position is.

6. Rookie wide receiver Jakobi Meyers continued his strong summer with a six-catch, 82-yard performance, including a two-point conversion reception. It was somewhat of a surprise to see him play into the fourth quarter with the third-teamers, but someone had to with all the injuries at the wide receiver position. Meyers should be penciled into the 53-man roster at this point. No matter who he is on the field with, he makes plays.

7. It wasn’t a great night for interior lineman, as both James Ferentz and rookie Hjalte Froholdt struggled. It hasn’t been a great preseason for Ferentz overall and Frohodt took a step back Saturday. Ted Karras feels like a lock to be the backup interior lineman, but it’s also likely Frohodt makes the team given where he was selected in the draft.

8. The Patriots didn’t exactly clean up their issues with penalties from last week in Detroit. New England finished with 12 for 99 yards. This certainly will be something Bill Belichick will be stressing the rest of the preseason, as it was an issue at some points last year, too.

9. Jake Bailey looks to be the leader in the clubhouse when it comes to the punter competition. Ryan Allen’s two punts averaged 50.5 yards, while Bailey’s one punt went 54 yards. Bailey also held for Stephen Gostkowski’s field goal attempt (which was missed). The rookie definitely has the bigger leg, although consistency was said to be the issue, but not of late.

10. Preseason injuries are the worst and the Patriots suffered two in the game, both to edge rushers looking to make the team. Shilique Calhoun appeared to injure his right knee in the first half. After going into the medical tent he stayed on the sideline, though. Then Derek Rivers left in the first half with an lower leg/ankle injury. He did not stay on the sideline and went to the locker room. With these two players both competing for roster spots, the hope is they are not major injuries and both can get back on the field this week.

Related: Watch: Bill Belichick's awkward halftime interview when asked about Josh Gordon