By: Ian Logue
Ryan Mallett had the edge on paper, but neither he nor Brian Hoyer impressed Thursday night.
After watching Monday night’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, it’s tough to feel overly confident about how the Patriots offense would fare in the event the unthinkable happened and Tom Brady wasn’t able to line up under center.
Fans got a first hand look at both players after Brady got the night off, giving back-ups Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett plenty of playing time in front of a national audience.
For Hoyer, who is a free agent after this season, it was a chance to also let other teams get a glimpse of his talents after he expressed a desire to ultimately become a starting quarterback for someone this past offseason. For Mallett, it was a chance to move ahead of Hoyer on the depth chart, as well show Patriots fans he could eventually be Brady’s successor years from now when #12 finally calls it a career.
As of right now, all Thursday night’s game did was prove they both still have a lot of work to do.
Neither quarterback impressed and the one who should have – Hoyer – finished the night a paltry 5-of-17 for 55 yards and didn’t throw a touchdown. Mallett walked away the victor statistically after completing 10-of-20 for 105 yards and a touchdown, but this victory is strictly on paper. Mallett’s lone touchdown came after he had a poorly thrown interception called back thanks to Philadelphia’s Fletcher Cox foolish decision to hit him long after he let go of the ball. Had the play stood the Eagles would have had the ball at the Patriots 30, but instead they ended up with the play being called back and were given a first down thanks to a “roughing the passer” penalty, which kept the drive going.
However, give Mallett credit. He didn’t get rattled and he redeemed himself by settling down on that drive and for the rest of that series completed 4-of-7 for 48 yards including a precision 7-yard touchdown throw to Alex Silvestro to finish it off.
That ended up being New England’s lone touchdown of the game. The rest of their scoring came from a big night from Stephen Gostkowski who had three field goals, including two from over 50 yards, while Shane Vereen ran in the two point conversion following Silvestro’s touchdown.
The stadium emptied out in the second half and those who left certainly didn’t miss much. The Patriots managed just one offensive first down in the entire second half and scored just three points. Mallett played the majority of the third quarter, while Hoyer finished from there.
Granted both players were playing without New England’s best weapons. Wes Welker, Jabar Gaffney, Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, and Brandon Lloyd were all spectators for this one, leaving them with a limited arsenal to work with. But like anything else it’s up to the player to try and make the best of whatever situation they’re given, and neither one rose to the occasion.
Here’s a breakdown of both of their performances:
First Down Passing:
Ryan Mallett: 2-of-6 (33%) 19 yards
Brian Hoyer: 0-of-4 (0%) 0 yards
Second Down Passing:
Ryan Mallett: 3-of-7 (43%) 19 yards
Brian Hoyer: 2-of-7 (29%) 17 yards (2 sacks, -16 yards)
Third Down Passing:
Ryan Mallett: 5-of-7 (71%) 67 yards, 1 TD
Brian Hoyer: 3-of-6 (50%) 38 yards
There are still two games to go to for either one to distinguish themselves, but it’s tough to walk away from this one with any real feeling one way or the other. New England’s next match-up is scheduled against the Buccaneers on Friday night, and Bill Belichick told the media after the game that if nothing else this game gave him a lot of film on everyone.
“We got to look at a lot of players tonight, evaluate them against a good football team and we’ll take a look at the film and correct our mistakes, build on it,” said Belichick. “We’ve got a quick turnaround this week with Tampa. These are the days that we can, as a team, really learn from a lot of these experiences, game situations, training camp practices and so forth, to make our team better, so that’s what we’re going to do.
“It was some good experience for us out there tonight. Some good situations came up. We played against a good team and I thought we competed hard. Obviously we didn’t make enough plays to win, but there are some things to build on there and obviously a lot of things to correct.”