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Game Notes: Patriots frequent preseason opponents

PATRIOTS FREQUENT PRESEASON OPPONENTS

The Patriots and the Redskins met for the 22nd time in the preseason to match the Philadelphia Eagles (22) for the second most frequent preseason contests, behind the 27 meetings between the Patriots and the New York Giants. The Patriots will play both Philadelphia and the New York Giants in the 2018 preseason. 

BRIAN HOYER MAKES THE START

Brian Hoyer started at quarterback and played into the fourth quarter. He finished 17-of-25 for 147 yards. It was the third preseason start for Hoyer as a member of the Patriots. He started in Week 4 of the 2009 preseason vs. the New York Giants on Sept. 3, 2009 and then in Week 1 of the 2011 preseason vs. Jacksonville on August 11, 2011. 

2018 SEVENTH-ROUND DRAFT PICK QB DANNY ETLING SEES FIRST ACTION

2018 seventh-round draft pick QB Danny Etling entered the game in the fourth quarter and finished 1-of-3 for 18 yards. 

EDELMAN MAKES RETURN 

WR Julian Edelman made his return and was in the starting lineup after missing the entire 2017 season due to injury. 

HIGHTOWER AND RIVERS IN THE STARTING LINEUP

LB Dont’a Hightower and LB Derek Rivers were back in action and in the starting lineup. Hightower was limited to just five games in 2017 due to injury. Rivers, a 2017 third-round pick, missed his entire rookie season due to injury. 

MCCARRON HANDLED PUNT AND KICKOFF RETURNS TO START THE GAME

First-year WR Riley McCarron, who spent the majority of the 2017 season on the New England practice squad, returned both punts and kicks against the Redskins. He fair caught one punt and returned two kicks for 40 yards. 

FIRST-YEAR WR DEVIN LUCIEN SETS UP A FIELD GOAL BEFORE HALFTIME 

First-year WR Devin Lucien caught a 3-yard pass followed by a 25-yard pass with under one-minute to play in the first half to help set up a 52-yard field goal by K Stephen Gostkowski. He finished the game with four receptions for 71 yards. 

GOSTKOWSKI GOOD FROM 50 

Gostkowski drilled a 52-yard field goal at the end of the first half. He holds the New England record with 23 field goals from 50 or more yards. Gostkowski was 4-for-4 from 50 or more yards in 2017, including a team-record 62-yard field goal against Oakland on November 19 in Mexico City. 

PATRIOTS SCORE ON FINAL DRIVE OF FIRST AND FIRST DRIVE OF SECOND 

After scoring on a 52-yard field goal in the first half, the Patriots opened the second half with a 19-play, 84-yard drive that took 10:16 off the clock before RB Jeremy Hill scored on a 1-yard touchdown run. Since 2009, the Patriots have scored on the final possession of the first half and the first possession of the second half 22 times, the most in the NFL during that time. 

WEBB SCORES TWO TDS AND TWO TWO-POINT PLAYS 

Rookie free agent RB Ralph Webb from Vanderbilt scored on an 8-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and then added a two-point play on a pass from QB Brian Hoyer to give the Patriots an 18-17 lead. Later in the fourth quarter he scored on a 1-yard run and then scored on a two-point play. 

ELEVEN VETS MAKE THEIR DEBUT IN A PATRIOTS UNIFORM

Of the 13 veteran players that are new to the Patriots in 2018, 11 saw action in the preseason-opener: OL Luke Bowanko, OL Trent Brown, DL Adrian Clayborn, WR Eric Decker, RB Jeremy Hill, OL Ulrick John, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, DB Eddie Pleasant, DL Danny Shelton, OL Matt Tobin and WR Paul Turner. Brown was in the starting lineup at left tackle. 

SEVEN OF THE PATRIOTS 2018 DRAFT PICKS SAW ACTION

Seven of the nine 2018 Draft picks made their NFL debuts: DB Duke Dawson, LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB Christian Sam, WR Braxton Berrios, QB Danny Etling, DB Keion Crossen and TE Ryan Izzo

P RYAN ALLEN HAS THREE 50-YARD PUNTS

P Ryan Allen had three of his five punts go for 50 yards with a 57, 55 and 51-yard punt.

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