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August 07, 2003
Pats Beat Giants 26-6
BY: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com

FOXBORO, MA -- The Patriots won their first game of the 2003 exhibition season, beating the New York Giants 26-6 in front of a wet crowd on a rainy evening in Foxboro.

New England got good production from their defense, forcing four turnovers, including two fumbles and two interceptions. The defense caused the Giants problems for much of the evening, and those problems started during New York's opening drive.

On the Giants second offensive play from scrimmage Patriots free agent linebacker Roosevelt Colvin forced New York runningback Tiki Barber to cough up the football and Ted Johnson recovered, giving the Patriots the ball at the New York 22-yard line.

New England struck right away. A 13-yard run by Kevin Faulk set up a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady to wide receiver Troy Brown, giving the Patriots a 7-0 lead they would never relinquish.

Brady finished the night 3-of-4 for 25-yards and a touchdown.

Meanwhile rookies Eugene Wilson and Asante Samuel got the start at left and right cornerback, and according to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick "did some good things". Fifth-round draft choice Dan Klecko also caught the eye of fans during the game. He spent time at the nose tackle spot but spent much of the evening working from the outside, putting pressure on Giants quarterbacks and also had the best night of the rookies and the team defensively. Klecko finished tied for first with 7-total tackles, but lead the team with 2.5 sacks during the game and spent much of the evening in New York's backfield.

However despite Klecko's performance Belichick was quick to point out after the game he still has plenty of work to do.

"It looked like he made a couple of plays, it looked like he screwed up a couple," Belichick told the media after the game. "We played him where he's been playing, he worked a little bit inside, a little bit outside. It was good to be able to get him an opportunity to play in those spots and we'll take a closer look at it on tape. I think there were some good things, and there were probably some things that weren't that good."

The Patriots next points came following an interception by Tyrone Poole, which gave New England excellent field position at the Giants 10-yard line. But the Patriots would have to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri, increasing their lead to 10-0.

But New York would get on the board after they returned the ensuing kickoff 37-yards, giving them good field position at their own 44-yard line. They would end up settling for a 29-yard field goal by Mike Hollis to cut the lead to 10-3.

The Patriots answered on their next possession following a 32-yard reception by tight end Christian Fauria from second string-quarterback Damon Huard along with a 13-yard grab by David Givens. The two plays helped set up a 39-yard field goal by Vinatieri, increasing New England's lead back to 10 at 13-3.

The Giants would later add another field goal following completions of 25, and 22-yards from J. Palmer to Ron Dayne and M. Rivers. Matt Bryant connected from 34-yards out to cut the lead back to 7, but that was as close as they would get.

New England's final touchdown came in the third quarter following a 42-yard pass from Rohan Davey to Bethel Johnson, giving the Patriots the ball at the Giants 8-yard line. Two plays later Davey found Fred McCrary in the endzone from 6-yards out for a touchdown, putting the game out of reach at 20-6.

Vinatieri would later add field goals of 24, and 46-yards, accounting for the Patriots final 6-points (12-total) and finishing a perfect 4-of-4 on the evening.

The Patriots next preseason game is next Saturday night in Washington against the Redskins.


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