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Game Notes: Patriots vs. Giants

The following are game notes from the New England Patriots Preseason game vs. the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, September 1, 2011.

  • Head Coach Bill Belichick's teams have finished .500 or better in 15 of his 17 seasons as a head coach after the 2011 Patriots finished with a 2-2 record. New England has finished the preseason with a record of .500 or better 10 times in Belichick's 12 preseasons with the Patriots.
  • In the 2011 preseason, the Patriots outscored their opponents 105-78, including a 38-19 advantage in the first quarter and a 74-39 advantage in the first half. The team's preseason first-half total includes a 17-3 advantage against the Giants in the first half tonight.
  • Newly acquired veterans DL Albert Haynesworth and DL Shaun Ellis played in their first games as members of the Patriots and were both in the starting lineup. Haynesworth had three tackles (2 solo), while Ellis added a 7-yard sack.
  • RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored on a pair of 1-yard runs in the first half. The game against the Giants was his second two-touchdown game of the 2011 regular-season. Green-Ellis finished the 2011 preseason with a team-high four touchdowns. In addition to his scores against the Giants, he scored on a pair of 1-yard runs at Tampa Bay on Aug. 18. In 2010, Green-Ellis had three games with two touchdowns as he led New England with 13 rushing scores, a total that trails only Curtis Martin's two seasons with 14 rushing touchdowns on the Patriots' all-time rushing touchdown list.
  • The first two Giants drives ended in turnovers inside their own territory. First, LB Rob Ninkovich caused a fumble that was recovered by S Patrick Chung and returned to the 1- yards. line to help set up a touchdown run by RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The Giants' second drive ended when CB Devin McCourty intercepted David Carr and returned it 18-yards to the 33-yard line to help set up a field goal that gave the Patriots a 10-0 lead.
  • WR Matthew Slater finished the 2011 preseason with three 40-yard receptions. He had a 67-yard reception from Tom Brady in the first quarter against the Giants, setting up BenJarvus Green-Ellis's second touchdown run, giving the Patriots a 17-3 lead. Slater had a 43-yard reception in the preseason opener vs. Jacksonville and a 53-yard reception at Detroit, with both passes coming from Brain Hoyer.
  • DL Mike Wright saw his first action of the 2011 preseason and tallied a pair of tackles.
  • Second round picks CB Ras-I Dowling and RB Shane Vereen played in their first games of the preseason. Dowling was in the starting lineup at cornerback, while Vereen led the team with 11 rushes for 34 yards.
  • S Josh Barrett, who spent all of last season on the team's injured reserve list, made his Patriots debut and was in the starting lineup.  
  • First round pick T Nate Solder started at right tackle in place of Sebastian Vollmer. Solder started the first two preseason games at left tackle in place of Matt Light.
  • QB Tom Brady started the game and played the entire first quarter and the first play of the second quarter. He finished the game 5-of-9 for 116 yards. Brady finished the 2011 preseason completing 28-of-50 passes for 379 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, compiling a passer rating of 92.0.
  • RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis registered a 21-yard reception from Tom Brady in the first quarter. Green-Ellis's longest regular-season reception was a 20-yarder from Matt Cassel at Miami on Nov. 23, 2008.
  • TE Aaron Hernandez finished the 2011 preseason with a team-high 16 receptions for 178 yards and a touchdown. Entering the Giants game, Hernandez's 14 receptions led the NFL in the 2011 preseason.
  • WR Matthew Slater led the Patriots in the 2011 preseason with 190 receiving yards on five receptions. He averaged 38.0 yards per catch.
  • K Stephen Gostkowski connected on his lone field goal attempt against the Giants, and finished a perfect 5-for-5 in the 2011 preseason, including a total of 3-for-3 from 40 yards or longer.
  • The Patriots finished the preseason with a 2-2 record, marking the second straight year they finished the preseason 2-2. New England has recorded a 2-2 preseason five times in the last seven years, including a run of three straight 2-2 preseasons from 2005-07.
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