CHARLOTTE, NC — The Patriots defense put up yet another great performance as New England beat up on the Carolina Panthers 23-8 on Saturday night.
Second-year quarterback and former 7th round draft choice Tom Brady saw the majority of playing time during the game and played extremely well, finishing the night 11-of-18 for 122 yards and a touchdown pass. The coaching staff wanted to get a good look at the Michigan quarterback and they had to be pleased with what they saw. Brady showed very good athleticism moving around in the pocket, as well as staying poised and delivering the ball to his receivers only to get hit on several occasions after he released the football.
Drew Bledsoe, meanwhile, saw action during the first series and didn’t return until midway through the second quarter. Bill Belichick said after the game that he wanted to get a good look at Brady and to give Bledsoe a chance to work on a 2-minute drive at the end of the half while still trying to balance out the plays.
Overall head coach Belichick was pleased with his team’s performance.
“I thought that overall we did a few good things tonight,” said Belichick after the game. ” I was pleased with some of the progress we made offenisvely. We got the ball in the endzone a couple times. We missed some other chances but we did get it in there.”
“We got a couple turnovers on defense and that was good. Overall I thought that we did a decent job of running the ball and controlling the clock a little bit and I think that helps our overall play.”
New England also got another good performance on defense, holding the Panthers scoreless until the third quarter when they surrendered their first points of the pre-season on a 3-yard TD run by Nick Goings. The play was set up by a 34-yard run by runningback Chad Dukes who had Patriots linebacker Rob Holmberg not run him down, he would have been off and running. New England had been leading up to that point 16-0 after field goals of 33, 37, and 23-yards by kicker Adam Vinatieri and a 16-yard touchdown pass from Brady to receiver David Patten, but the score was cut in half following the touchdown and a 2-point coversion from Carolina quarterback Chris Weinke to Jim Turner.
A 46-yard kick return by Kevin Faulk helped set up the Patriots final touchdown. A 14-yard pass to Patrick Pass and an 11-yard reception by Curtis Jackson later helped New England find themselves with 1st-and-goal. Linebacker Bryan Cox would end up being the lead blocker on a 3rd down play which allowed J.R. Redmond to rush for a touchdown, giving the Patriots a 23-8 lead with 12:00 minutes left in the game.
The win improves New Enlgand to 2-0 in the preseason, and they will play at Tampa Bay next Saturday night.
GAME NOTES: Belichick was pleased with his team’s performance and has decided to break camp early. The team will begin working in Foxboro this week as they prepare for next week’s game against Tampa Bay….Running back Antowain Smith appears to be gaining ground on J.R. Redmond. Smith led all rushers with 54 yards on 11 carries, while Redmond had 39 yards on 11 carries along with his one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter…..Defensive back Ray Hill was carried off the field with a knee injury after Rob Holmberg rolled into him during a kick return. Hill’s knee buckled underneath him, and the extent of his injury still isn’t yet known…..Offensive lineman Adam Davis hobbled off the field during the game, his status is also unknown…..On Tom Brady’s touchdown pass to David Patten, Brady was hit as he threw by former Patriots linebacker Chris Slade…..Sean Morey continued to play well on special teams and was on the receiving end of a 22-yard pass play which helped New England run out the clock in the 4th quarter…..Veteran punter Lee Johnson outplayed Brad Costello and appears to be primed to play yet another NFL season….Tebucky Jones looks like a totally different player. Jones was in on quite a few tackles and appears to finally be coming into his own as a safety.
Posted Under: 2001 Patriots Preseason
Tags: 2001 Patriots Preseason Adam Vinatieri Antowain Smith Bill Belichick Carolina Panthers David Patten Drew Bledsoe J.R. Redmond New England Patriots Sean Morey Tebucky Jones Tom Brady