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Patriots close out preseason with 19-14 loss

The New England Patriots closed out the 2008 preseason with a 19-14 loss to the New York Giants. That's the bad news.


It was more of the same for the Patriots in their final preseason game. No Tom Brady, no win and really, no positive signs for the first string offense or defense as far as putting together or stopping drives.

New England won the toss but broke their pattern this preseason of deferring and took the opening kickoff. After a first down on a 7-yard catch by Kelley Washington, the Patriots punted from their 49 three plays later.

Back for the New England offense in this game was Matt Light at his left tackle spot. Gone were Wes Welker, Ben Watson and Brady, who hasn't played a down in the preseason. Matt Cassel got the start at QB and remained in the game for two series finishing 4 of 6 passing for 37 yards.

A pattern that wasn't broken was that of New England's opponent driving down the field for points on its opening drive.



]()Brandon Jacobs found room and broke tackles on runs of 19 and 11 yards on the Giants first possession. Derrick Ward did the same on a run of 11 to the Patriots 26. From there, David Carr found Darcy Johnson open in the right flat and Johnson broke James Sanders' tackle and then bulled Fernando Bryant into the end zone for six points.

The Patriots showed what will most likely be their starting defense for the first two Giants drives with the exception of Adalius Thomas who was replaced by Pierre Woods.

New England's second defense was on the field when the Giants added a second touchdown late in the second quarter. Ahmad Bradshaw was a workhorse on the drive, touching the ball on seven plays of the 12-play drive. The scoring play was a Carr to Sinorice Moss completion as Moss streaked across the middle on third and 6 from the 9. Josh Huston missed the extra point to make the score 13-0 right around the two minute warning.

It sure looked like the Patriots would get on the board before the half ran out. Matt Gutierrez overcame a near interception that was overturned by review to march his team down to the Giants 2-yard line. Along the way Chad Jackson had a 16-yard catch, Ray Ventrone was good for a 13-yard reception and Lamont Jordan took a short pass and turned it into a 23-yard gain to the 2. Jordan then carried for no gain on first down. Gutierrez threw up a rainbow intended for Jackson on second down but Jackson fell before he was able to turn for the ball and R.W. McQuarters had an easy interception that he ran back to the Giants 28 to essentially end the half.

New York opened the second half by taking 13 plays to add three points on a Huston 17-yard field goal. The Patriots defense was staring at a first and goal at the 1 for New York but managed to hold on with the key play a 1-yard loss on third down as John Lynch and Kenny Smith assisted in stopping Brandon London rush.

As the third quarter ended, New England remained scoreless but the Giants were once again driving. Carr was still under center for New York but most of the damage to the Patriots defense was being done on the ground by Danny Ware and Reuben Droughns.

On third and 3 from the 16, Ware converted with a 5-yard run but like they did earlier in the half, the Patriots defense denied New York the end zone and Huston was good on a 30-yard field goal to make the score 19-0 with 12:57 left in the game.

Kevin O'Connell did the honors at quarterback the rest of the way and got his team on the board immediately with the help of C.J. Jones' kickoff return to midfield and some hard running by BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The highlight of the scoring drive was O'Connell's touchdown pass to Jackson where he led the receiver into the left back corner of the end zone. Jackson did his part in making sure he had both feet inbounds before momentum carried him out.

New England made things interesting by getting the ball back in short order due to some sloppy ball handling by new quarterback Andre Woodson and Jones again setting up the offense, this time with a 44-yard punt return to the Giants 18-yard line.

Five plays later O'Connell took it in himself from 5 yards out to make the score 19-14 with 4:50 left to play.

New England needed a stop but the Giants were determined to grind out the clock with Droughns running the ball. At the two minute warning New York faced a third and 6 from the Patriots 46. Carr was back in the game for Woodsen and he hit Mario Manningham for 8 yards and with New England without any timeouts, the Giants knelt to the final whistle.

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