Scott Chandler beats Thomas Davis of the Panthers to haul in a touchdown pass from Tom Brady Friday night. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo each threw a touchdown pass and Stephen Gostkowski hit another long field goal as the Patriots won their second preseason game with a 17-16 win over the Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
Brady played all seven series in the first half, leading the Patriots to just 45 total yards on the first six. Brady was flushed out of the pocket twice, leading to a pair of runs for 18 yards. He was sacked once.
But on the seventh, and in the two minute drill, Brady finally turned it on, completing 5-of-6 passes for 71 yards. The final drive just before the half was capped off when Brady threw a perfect touch pass to Chandler down the left sideline. The new Patriots tight end hauled it in for Brady’s first touchdown pass in three preseason games with 50 seconds left in the first half.
Before that pass, Brady was just 2-for-7 for 13 yards and two interceptions. Both interceptions came on passes intended for Aaron Dobson. On the first pass, Brady threw down the middle and the pass hit Dobson in the hands. As Dobson fell to the ground, he was stripped by 13-year veteran Charles Tillman.
On the next series of the first quarter, Brady threw over the middle for Dobson and was picked off by Kurt Coleman, who undercut the route. Brady finished 7-of-13 for 84 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
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Jimmy Garoppolo, who finished 13-of-17 yards for 126 yards, came on to start the second half for the Patriots after Cam Newton opened the third quarter with a nine-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by a 3-yard TD pass in the flat to Mike Tolbert.
Garoppolo looked shaky on his first series, nearly getting intercepted for a sure pick-6 by corner Bene Benwikere. One play later, Garoppolo threw to the other side of the field and was nearly intercepted again. Both reprieves were the result of Carolina drops.
The Patriots defense was outstanding in situation football in the first half, again coming up with two big red area stops. The Patriots defense was given a reprieve late in the second quarter when Corey Brown dropped a sure touchdown from Newton from the Patriots 30. Several plays later, the Brown dropped a sure first down at the Patriots 5. The two drops led to a 30-yard Graham Gano field goal that put the Panthers up, 6-0.
The Patriots defensive line showed very strong in the first half, with rookie Malcom Brown and Chandler Jones getting good push and pressure on Newton. Jerod Mayo made his first start of the preseason and combined with fellow linebacker Jamie Collins (wearing green dot) to stop the Panthers on the first drive on third and fourth down runs.
After a 39-yard field goal from Gano grew the Panthers lead to 16-7, Garoppolo had his best series of the night. He connected on a 40-yard pass down the right side to Dobson to the Panthers 9. On the very next play, Garoppolo fired a crisp pass to Dion Lewis on a slant in the end zone to cut the lead to 16-14.
LeGarrette Blount did not start but played almost exclusively as the feature back in the second half.
With 8:01 left in the fourth quarter, the Patriots sustained what could be a significant loss to their offense when one of Tom Brady‘s most dependable fullbacks James Develin was carted off the field. His right foot appeared to stick in the grass and then when it let go, it crashed into oncoming safety Dean Marlowe. Medical staff looked closely at Develin’s right ankle.
Moments later, Stephen Gostkowski connected on yet another long field goal, hitting from 53 yards to give the Patriots a 17-16 lead.
The Patriots conclude the preseason next Thursday night at Gillette Stadium with their annual preseason battle against the Giants at 7:30 p.m.
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