Brandon Jacobs' 57-yard touchdown run in the second quarter marked the first time the Patriots had allowed their opponents into the end zone since the third quarter of their preseason opener at Atlanta on Aug. 11. New England had gone 10 straight quarters without allowing a touchdown and outscored its opponents 88-6 over that span. The streak included a 30-3 win over Arizona on Aug. 19 and a 41-0 victory over Washington on Aug. 26.
The Patriots offense opened the game with a solid showing, driving 67 yards in 14 plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard touchdown by Heath Evans. The game-opening scoring drive marked the third straight preseason game in which the Patriots had scored on their opening drive after beginning with field goals against Washington last week and against Arizona on Aug. 19.
The Patriots blocked a field goal for the second straight week when Rosevelt Colvin broke through the Giants' field goal protection and swatted down a 51-yard attempt by Jay Feely in the first quarter. Last week against Washington, Richard Seymour blocked a 43-yard field goal attempt by the Redskins' John Hall in the second quarter. The last time New England blocked a field goal in regular season play was on Oct. 19, 2003 at Miami, when Seymour swatted down a 35-yard attempt by Olindo Mare with two minutes left in a 13-13 game. New England eventually won that contest, 19-13 in overtime, on an 82-yard completion from Tom Brady to Troy Brown.
Heath Evans put the Patriots up 7-0 with a 1-yard touchdown run to end New England's game-opening drive. Including tonight, Evans has scored a touchdown in each of the Patriots' four preseason games and leads the team with four touchdowns as of halftime. Evans scored on a 1-yard plunge in the third quarter last week against Washington and also grabbed a 9-yard scoring pass against Arizona on Aug. 19. Additionally, he scored on a 1-yard run in the preseason opener at Atlanta. Evans has not scored a touchdown in his regular-season career.
Artrell Hawkins pounced on a fumbled snap by New York's Jared Lorenzen with 1:16 left in the first half, giving the Patriots possession on the Giants' 43-yard line. The play set up a Patriots field goal that tied the score at 10 at halftime. The fumble recovery was the first for the Patriots defense this preseason. New England had also recovered a fumble on special teams when Eric Alexander forced a fumble against Arizona on Aug. 19 and Randall Gay pounced on the loose ball, a play that set up a touchdown drive.
Rookie kicker Stephen Gostkowski nailed 54-yard field goal in the third quarter in addition to two more field goals to finish the preseason with a perfect (9-for-9) mark. Gostkowski also nailed a 29-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to tie the score at 10 and hit a 25-yard boot in the fourth quarter. Gostkowski also nailed all 11 extra point attempts of the preseason to lead the team with 38 points.
- On the Patriots' game-opening touchdown drive, Matt Cassel completed all four of his passes for 39 yards, including an 11-yard connection to Corey Dillon that gave the Patriots a first-and-goal from the 3-yard line.
- Asante Samuel reached in with a nice breakup of a pass from Eli Manning intended for Tim Carter on third down in the first quarter, forcing a Giants field goal attempt that was blocked by Rosevelt Colvin.
JACK OF ALL TRADES
Troy Brown stepped in at quarterback for two plays in the second quarter, handing the ball to running back Patrick Cobbs both times. Brown has provided contributions to the Patriots in each phase of the game over his 14-year career and has played on offense, defense and special teams. Brown ranks second on the Patriots' all-time lists in receptions (514) and receiving yards (5,982). He is also the team's all-time leading punt returner with 244 career returns and 2,554 career punt return yards. Additionally, he saw significant time on defense as the team's nickel cornerback in the second half of the 2004 season, recording 17 tackles and three interceptions. He reprised his cornerback role in last season's playoffs. Tonight, Brown added quarterbacking duties to his lengthy resume.