Brian Tyms does a little Randy Moss imitation after his touchdown reception on Friday. (USA TODAY Images)
The New England Patriots rebounded at home with a much stronger team effort in their second pre-season game, a penalty flag-filled 42-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
The game officials had thrown a lot of flags during the joint practices during the joint practices held at Foxboro during the week, they threw even more during the game. Where both teams like to push the tempo of the game, the deluge of calls really put a damper on both team’s tempo throughout the game.
Tom Brady and Darrelle Revis got their first game action of the year in and both looked sharp and ready to go for the 2014 season. The Patriots rolled up 35 first downs with a balanced attack, netting 14 passing and 15 rushing first downs while going six of seven in the red zone.
Here are some other observations from Friday night’s game:
Offensive Line Rebounds: Overall Friday’s performance was a big step in the right direction for the Patriots OL who responded after a pretty dismal performance in Washington the week before. The team used a lot of different combinations during the night, which one would expect during a pre-season game, but the one thing that stands out is the 250 yards rushing after only getting 63 the week before.
It shows that the unit was dominating the point of attack and they did throughout the night and all of the running backs got to show their stuff. It wasn’t perfect but Dave DeGuglielmo’s boys will have a lot more positives to watch in this week’s film session.
All 3 Quarterbacks Play Well: Friday night’s game had Tom Brady play most of the first quarter and then Jimmy Garappolo got to showcase his game against higher tier opposition when he came in with 5:09 remaining in the first quarter. Ryan Mallett who was banged up this week, played the entire second half. All played very well.
Brady was 8-10 for 81 yards with one TD and one INT although his pick-six to Cary Williams was more of Steve Maneri running the wrong route than a mistake by Brady. But seeing that Maneri has been on the team for all of four days, perhaps he gets a pass on that one.
Brady threw a nice touchdown to Kenbrell Thompkins on a back shoulder throw at the left sideline around the 2 yard line. Thompkins made a good catch on the ball and was able to get it in the end much to the delight of Brady. You can see that Brady is trying to get Thompkins involved a lot this summer.
Garappolo had another impressive outing going 6-12 for 72 yards and two TDs. He threw a bullet to Brandon LaFell in the back of the end zone for one of his two scoring throws and looked pretty comfortable out there playing with the ones.
Mallet went 7-11 for 92 yards with one TD pass and one TD run. He threw the ball much better this week, his decision making much quicker and showed some great touch on the ball with his 17 yard scoring pass to Brian Tyms in the corner of the end zone.
Brian Tyms and Malcom Butler Are Pushing Hard For Roster Spots: Both players at the time they were brought in were thought of as not much more than camp bodies, but they are proving to be much more. After shining in Washington in their debuts, they both turned in good second week performances.
Tyms has been making plays in practice and in games, and his catch in the end zone off of a Mallett pass was a beauty, out-leaping Curtis Marsh in the corner for the score. Tyms even did a little Randy Moss imitation as his touchdown celebration to the delight of fans. At this point of pre-season, Tyms is pushing Josh Boyce hard for one of the final roster spots at wide receiver.
Butler after shining in D.C. against the Redskins got the surprise start next to Revis at corner against the Eagles this week. Before people read too much into that, remember that the Patriots are going to be without CB Brandon Browner for the first four weeks of the season and Bill Belichick wants to see what the other players can do, (he’s said as much in pressers), however Butler looked good and was again productive.
He forced a fumble on the Eagles first play from scrimmage, ripping the ball out of Ifeanyi Momah’s hands after the huge 6’7 WR caught a quick slant and later added a fumble recovery in the second half. Belichick lauded his play in his post-game presser adding, "He competes hard," he said. "I'd say he's played a lot of snaps in these first two games and gotten a lot of snaps in practice, he competes hard every day."
Safety is Still Wide Open: It is looking increasingly like the Patriots won’t have a designated safety opposite Devin McCourty but one who’ll play depending upon the opponent being faced. Against the Eagles, the Patriots opened with slot corner Kyle Arrington playing in the strong safety spot.
Logan Ryan, Pat Chung, Nate Ebner all got a lot of looks as well. It was interesting that Duron Harmon didn’t register a lot of snaps but did a nice job of intercepting a Mark Sanchez pass. Harmon read the play well and broke on the ball just as Sanchez released it, returning it 33 yards.
Tight End Position Is A Mess Right Now: Friday consisted of Maneri and a bunch of guards coming in to block. Does anyone have Tony Gonzalez’s number on speed dial?
Defense Still Mixing: The Patriots mixed their fronts a lot on Friday, continuing to play a lot of 3-4 with Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich lining up as OLBs and the three down linemen initially consisting of Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly and Joe Vellano. Jones is still a little ill-at-ease standing up, with Jerod Mayo out, Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins got the call as the inside LBs. Collins seems to be a better fit outside, but as things evolve, this will be something to watch.
The team will be looking at film and then back to the practice fields to prepare for the Carolina Panthers, don’t be surprised if Belichick handles this coming week much like a regular season as they try to get into the routine. We’ll be there at practice on Monday and be sure to check out PatsFans.com for the latest updates. We also are updating the stats database and now have the PatsPicker where you can play GM and select your own 53 man roster for the Patriots.
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