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Quick Observations in Patriots comeback win over the Panthers

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
August 28, 2015 at 11:34 pm ET

Quick Observations in Patriots comeback win over the Panthers(PHOTO: Jim Dedmon - USA TODAY Sports)
Posted: Aug 28, 2015 11:34
🕑 Read Time: 3 minutes

Garoppolo leads another comeback victory in the third PS game

The Patriots took on the Panthers in Charlotte and came away with a late 17-16 win as Stephen Gostkowski boomed a 53 yard field goal for the victory.

Gostkowski’s kick would have been good from 65 yards in a nice boot on a pretty torn up turf late in the game.

Some quick observations from Friday night:

“First team” offense struggles again: The offense couldn’t get anything going for most of the first two quarters and Tom Brady was picked off twice. But once Brady went to the two minute drill, he was nearly perfect.

He and Scott Chandler hooked up a few times and then with under a minute to go in the half, Brady hit Chandler with a beautiful touch pass in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown to take a 7-6 lead.

While the offense struggled again, is there cause for concern? Certainly you’d like to see them clicking if you’re Bill Belichick. But with three rookies in the interior offensive line, no Julian Edelman, No Rob Gronkowski or Brandon LaFell, the offense is hardly playing with a full complement of weapons. They’ll be fine.

Garoppolo played well once he got thru his first series; with two bad decisions, the 2nd year QB nearly threw two pick sixes but thankfully for New England, the Panthers dropped the ball…twice.

But he was able to lead them to 10 second half points and it was enough to come away with the win. He connected on a nice 40-yard pass to Aaron Dobson down the right sideline after Dobson made a double move and was streaking alone down the sideline. It was followed by a nice touchdown throw on the next play to Lewis.

Dion Lewis Shines Again: In another display of quickness and athleticism, Lewis made a strong case to not only make the team but be the primary third down back.  Lewis consistently made people miss, made positive plays when there was nowhere to run and was one of the more exciting players to watch.

If he can stay healthy, he looks primed for a big role in the offense.  And not just on third down. Later in the game, Lewis was getting work on early downs as well. He caught a too easy touchdown pass from Garoppolo in the second half.

Backup Corners Have Good 2nd Half: It looks like the starting unit will consist of Malcolm Butler and Tarell Brown with Robert McClain as the slot corner. The starters played ok but it was the depth guys who really stepped up in the second half.

Daxton Swanson had a really nice performace with a couple of passes defensed and Logan Ryan broke up and nearly had a pick six on a key third down stop.

With the question of depth in the secondary especially at corner a concern, it was good to see those guys step up and play solidly. Ryan appeared to force a fumble on a punt return before the whistle blew but the officials ruled the player down.

James Develin went down with a serious leg injury in the second half. It appeared his foot remained planted while he was being tackled and he certainly appeared to break his leg right at mid-shin. But we’ll have to wait and see what the docs say.

Jonathan Krause and Sebastian Vollmer also both left with injuries and didn’t return.

Rookie DL Impressive: This season’s rookie class of Malcom Brown, Trey Flowers and Geneo Grissom all had a nice performance against the Panthers.

Brown seems to be poised for a big role in the middle of the defensive line and is getting better each week. Both Flowers and Grissom are playing on the edge as well as inside and are acquitting themselves well.

Rookie safety Jordan Richards had a very strong game in the secondary and doesn’t look like a rookie out of the field.

The Patriots will get back to work this week and return home to take on the New York Giants to close out the preseason.

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Patriots RB James Develin Carted Off During Win Over Carolina

About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at, as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2015 NFL Preseason 2015 Patriots Training Camp 53 Man Roster Projection Bill Belichick Carolina Panthers James Develin Jimmy Garoppolo Julian Edelman LaGarrette Blount Malcolm Butler Nate Ebner NFL Patriots Patriots edge rushers Patriots Training Camp Photos Rob Ninkovich Tom Brady Trey Flowers

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