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Highs And Lows From Patriots at Packers

Bob George
Bob George on Twitter
1 month ago at 10:52 pm ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

Highs And Lows From Patriots at PackersTork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Now that Isaiah Bolden is back home, now that we know he had a possible concussion, we feel a bit better and begin to move forward.

Bolden was released from the Aurora Bay Medical Center Sunday morning in Green Bay, and was cleared to travel home with the team. The Patriots changed their plans this week and decided on Sunday to fly home instead of flying to Nashville, Tennessee. The Patriots cancelled their two scrimmages this week with the Tennessee Titans, and will instead practice at home and fly to Tennessee on Thursday. This was done in reaction to the serious injury Bolden sustained Saturday night at Lambeau Field, prompting an early end to the contest.

The Patriots play the Titans this coming Friday night at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

The Patriots were ahead 21-17 in the game Saturday night before it was called due to Bolden’s injury. Along the way, there were some players who made us all stand up and take notice, both positively and negatively.

Here are some Patriots who played very well in the game and/or got our attention in a good way.

Kayshon Boutte – With 56 seconds to go in the first half, Bailey Zappe (who entered the game early in the second quarter taking over for Mac Jones) found the LSU rookie wideout on a left slant pattern. He caught the perfect pass right in stride and outran the defense on his way to a 42-yard touchdown catch to tie the game at 14. Boutte led the Patriots with 49 receiving yards on two catches. It was only two catches, but we did get a glimpse into what everyone is raving about at training camp. A graphic showed during the television broadcast that Boutte was the fastest to 100 catches in LSU history, faster than Justin Jefferson, JaMarr Chase and Odell Beckham Jr. That’s some pretty good company to be favorably compared to.

Bryce Baringer – Flying under the radar, sort of, is the new punter, Bryce Baringer. The rookie from Michigan State punted twice Saturday night for a 60-yard average, and got both punts inside the 20-yard line. There is a reason why punters are seldom drafted high, or at all, or why there is only one pure punter in the NFL Hall of Fame. They really are a dime a dozen. But great punters can sometimes win you a game here and there if field position decides the contest. Baringer is the latest in a line of good to very good Patriot punters in the last several years, and the Patriots don’t hang on to punters who become either old or expensive or both. Baringer looks good so far, but so did Jake Bailey until he suddenly fell off the map.

Ezekiel Elliott – Finally, the Patriots had a terrific new cheerleader on the sideline. His name is Ezekiel Elliott. He didn’t play, but he was invested in the game and his new teammates. We have heard nothing but positives regarding him thus far in camp since his signing last Wednesday. He may play Friday night in Nashville for a little bit. But so far, he is showing that he is a quality teammate. And fans should temper their expectations of the former Ohio State star, and that his role here is supporting and not leading. Last we checked, supporting actors win Oscars just like leading actors.

And now a few folks who didn’t bathe themselves in glory.

Andrew Stueber – Stueber was responsible for the end of the evening for Jones. On the third play of the second quarter, Stueber, who at the time was at left tackle, was unable to contain linebacker Kingsley Enagbare on a rush around right end. Enagbare used Stueber as a turnstile and strip-sacked Jones. The starter, Trent Brown, committed a false start penalty on the second offensive play of the night for the Patriots but otherwise was okay. But Stueber, a rookie from Michigan, had better step up and soon. Jones left the game after the strip sack, and fortunately, there were no reports of Jones being hurt.

Sam Roberts – The second year down lineman had a bad first half and committed two regrettable penalties. One play after a 42-yard pass to Romeo Doubs was (incorrectly?) ruled a catch after replay review (with Bolden in what looked like good coverage), new Packer starting quarterback Jordan Love scrambled for eleven yards and slid once he crossed the line to gain for a first down. But Roberts plowed into Love with his helmet after he began his slide, tacking on another 15 yards and leading to a Green Bay touchdown. Then into the second quarter, Sean Clifford (Love’s backup) was at the Patriot 13 on second and 10, and tried to hit tight end Luke Musgrave in the end zone but misfired. But an illegal use of hands call on Roberts gave the Packers first and goal at the eight and they scored a touchdown on the next play. Both penalties directly contributed to 14 of the 17 points the defense gave up, and Bill Belichick will look none too kindly on these mistakes in the ensuing week.

Mac Jones – Finally, Jones himself looked a little off-kilter and didn’t have the passing touch that Zappe had, but it was his first preseason action of 2023. Jones did have some nice scrambles, one of which helped set up a touchdown. But the Patriots pay Jones to throw, not run. On the third play of their second offensive possession, Jones had Hunter Henry wide open on a right seam pass but overthrew him. Then on the first play of their third offensive possession, Jones tried to hit DeVante Parker on a deep post over the middle and again overthrew him, though this pass was a little more catchable than the Henry misfire. Jones finished six of nine passing for 52 yards and an 81.7 passer rating, and was sacked twice for a total of minus-20 yards.

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Posted Under: Patriots News

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