FOXBORO, MA — It may have been the final pre-season game at Foxboro Stadium, but the New England Patriots made it a memorable one. New England dominated the Washington Redskins on both sides of the football Thursday night, and sent the Skins home with a 33-13 loss.
New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe started the game and played well, finishing the night 14-of-22 with 145-yards passing and a touchdown pass. Second-string quarterback Tom Brady saw action throughout the majority of the second half, and also put up good numbers. Brady completed 11-of-19, and had 166-yards passing along with a touchdown strike of his own.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said after the game that overall he was pleased with his team’s effort.
“I was pretty pleased with the overall effort of the team tonight,” said Belichick. “I thought that we came out with a lot more energy and enthusiasm than we had last week. We started off the game better and sustained it through the game other than a little lapse there on defense at the end of the half.”
“It took a little while to get going offensively in the first quarter, we missed some good opportunities, but overall I was pleased with the way the team responded on a short week.”
The game was also played with replacement officials who helped set up the Redskins first scoring opportunity. Runningback J.R. Redmond was tackled on a 1st down play and appeared to fumble the football with Washington recovering the football. Belichick would challenge the play, and despite the fact that several replays appeared to show that the ground caused the ball to come out, the officials ruled that Redmond did in fact fumble and the Redskins took over possession. Washington would later get a 47-yard field goal by Bret Conway and took a 3-0 lead with 4:33 left in the 1st quarter.
The Patriots would take the lead after forcing a turnover on a Terrell Buckly interception and 33-yard return off of Redskins quarterback Jeff George. Bledsoe’s passes of 17-yards to Antowain Smith, and 21-yards to Troy Brown helped set up a 22-yard touchdown strike to receiver David Patten, giving New England a 7-3 advantage w/6:14 left in the half.
But New England wasn’t done yet.
Linebacker Roman Phifer would sack Jeff George and knock the ball loose, falling on it to give the Patriots excellent field position at the Redskins 17-yard line. Five plays later the lead became 14-3 following a 4-yard touchdown run by Smith, and with just over 3:00 left in the half they appeared to be in control of the game.
Yet they still weren’t done.
Phifer again put pressure on George and fellow linebacker Mike Vrabel came away with an interception, which would later set up a 20-yard field goal for Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri. With a mere :46 seconds remaining in the half it appeared as though New England would head into the locker room with a commanding 17-3 lead.
However, the defense that had played so well up to that point finally let them down, committing a pass interference penalty that led to a Kevin Lockett touchdown, and the Redskins went into the locker room only down 17-10 at half time.
But it was all New England in the second half, and the Patriots would add three field goals of 50, 52, and 46-yards by kicker Adam Vinatieri who appears to have his spot locked up, along with a 54-yard touchdown run on a runningback screen by back Kevin Faulk from Tom Brady to finish the night with a 33-13 demolition of Washington.
The win improves New England to 3-1 on the preseason as they prepare for their season opener on September 9th against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Posted Under: 2001 Patriots Preseason
Tags: 2001 Patriots Preseason Adam Vinatieri Bill Belichick Foxboro Stadium J.R. Redmond Mike Vrabel New England Patriots Roman Phifer Tom Brady Washington Redskins