FOXBORO, MA — Rookie draft choice Owen Pochman kicked 4 field goals including one from 53-yards out to lead the Patriots to a 14-0 victory over the New York Giants in New England’s pre-season opener Friday night.
Pochman opened the game with a booming kickoff that the Giants were unable to return, and hit field goals of 53, 23, 25, and 20 yards providing the Patriots with the majority of their points. Despite the fact that New England failed to score a touchdown during the game, they still dominated the Giants totaling 338 yards in total offense to the Giants 92.
Bill Belichick said after the game he was pleased with his team’s performance.
“Overall I thought our team played hard tonight,” said Belichick. “I was proud of the way that they hung in there, it’s kind of been a tough week.”
“I told them in the locker room that I thought they did a good job of staying focused and playing hard.”
Quarterback Drew Bledsoe had a quiet evening, finishing the night 3-of-4 passing for 37 yards. Bledsoe appeared in the first two offensive series and then gave way to Damon Huard who saw most of the action in the first half. Tom Brady saw the majority of action in the second half, with Michael Bishop getting playing time late in the fourth quarter.
“I thought that we did some things well,” said Bledsoe on his team’s performance offensively. “I think that we did enough that when we come back and look at the film we’ve got a lot of stuff to learn from and go forward with.”
“I think overall the quarterbacks were efficient and managed the game fairly well which that’s sometimes difficult to do when you have so many different guys coming in and out of the pre-season game. That was one of the main goals for the quarterbacks was to be efficient and manage the game in an efficient manner, and I thought all four of us did a decent job of that.”
New England played well defensively, with newly acquired linebacker Brian Cox showing no ill effects of the broken leg he suffered last season. Cox had an interception in his first pre-season appearance with the Patriots, and fellow linebacker Matt Chatham added a safety later in the contest in a game where New England was dominating in shutting out the defending NFC Champions.
Torrance Small was carried off the field during Friday night’s victory after suffering a laceration on his leg. Belichick said the wound required several stitches but that it wasn’t serious……Belichick felt that first-round draft choice Richard Seymour played well and showed good hustle………Belichick on Brian Cox’s interception, “Probably the most surprising thing for me in the game was Cox making that catch.”……Sean Morey followers can rest easy for one more week, Morey got a piece of a punt during his time on special teams and helped give New England good field possession late in the game……Adam Vinatieri was one of the only players not to see action Friday night…..QB Damon Huard was 9-of-12 for 85 yards on the evening but most importantly looked like the viable back-up that the Patriots haven’t had in many years…..It appears that the battle for the starting running back will be between Antowain Smith and J.R. Redmond. Redmond appears to have the edge, but Smith appears ready to make him earn it.
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