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Patriots close out preseason with 27-20 win

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]()During last year's fourth preseason game, all the Patriots starters spent the game on the sidelines in street clothes. This year they were in uniform but the game remained a final audition for those players on the bubble hoping to creep onto the Patriots roster, the practice squad or to get some time on film for another team to see something worth making a phone call for.

Some of those guys included C.J. Jones who had a nice night on special teams with 117 yards on four kick returns and 33 yards on 2 punts with a long of 31. On offense, Kelvin Kight led all Patriots receivers with 5 catches for 61 yards. Bam Childress had four catches for 39 yards and a touchdown. Matt Gutierrez had the lone touchdown pass along with 7 of 9 passing for 48 yards. He shared time with Matt Cassel (10 of 14, 99 yards) and Vinny Testeverde (7 of 11, 99 yards, 1 INT.)

On defense, Eric Alexander led in the tackle column with 13 but Pierre Woods had perhaps the most active night with two forced fumbles and two sacks. Le Kevin Smith played the entire game and racked up seven tackles along with three sacks.

Oh, by the way, New England won, 27-20.

Against the Patriots defensive reserves, the Giants first team offense took the opening drive of the game and mounted a 16-play scoring drive. Manning connected with Jeremy Shockey four times for 47 yards while running bck Brandon Jacobs carried eight times for 21 yards. New England did hold the Giants out of end zone from a yard out on three straight plays but on fourth and goal from the 1, Jacobs finally cracked the right side of the Patriots defense for the score.

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]()Playing against the Giants defensive starters for the most part, Cassel and the Patriots offense managed to pull within four on their second drive. Childress was good for a 24-yard reception after his team started the scoring series with midfield position. That was the lone first down of the drive as Stephen Gostkowski was good on a 37-yard field goal attempt.

Later in the second quarter, New England took the lead on a drive aided by three Giant penalties and Cassel connecting with Garrett Mills and Kight two times each. In the end it was Heath Evans banging in from a yard out for a Patriots 10-7 lead. On this drive, New York replaced its starting defense with the exception of its safeties and defensive lineman Mathias Kiwanuka.

Meanwhile, the Patriots defense was in a groove. After Manning did his job to start the game, he was replaced by Jared Lorenzen and from that point the Giants first half scoring stopped. It was Justin Rogers chasing Lorenzen deep in his end zone with just over five minutes left in the half. Lorenzen avoided the sack but his pass to Reuben Droughns barely avoided a safety and the Giants punted for the third time.

With under a minute left, Chad Brown and Alexander teamed up to sack the heft Giants QB for a 4-yard loss, ultimately forcing a punt and one last chance for the Patriots to add to its lead.

With 10 seconds left, Testeverde connected with C.J. Jones for 28 yards to allow Gostkowski a chance for a 56-yard field goal. The kick never had a chance, getting blocked and the Patriots took their 10-7 lead to the locker room.

Testeverde opened the second half by passing his way to six points on a six play, 70-yard drive. Jones continued his production with two catches for 23 and 8 yards while Kight chipped in with a 15-yard reception down to the Giants 9. Quinton Smith had the 1-yard touchdown run and the Patriots had a 17-7 lead.

Jones was also having a good night on special teams through three quarters with two kickoff returns for 60 yards and long of 31 and two punt returns for 33 yards with a long of 24.

The Giants put together a scoring drive late in the third quarter with Lorenzen still in the game. He slipped on second and 10 for a 5-yard loss at the Patriots 10 (Smith was credited with the sack) and was off the mark on third down to bring on Josh Huston for a 33-yard attempt to make the score 17-10. The drive started with a Testeverde interception on a ball intended for Mills downfield. New York's Craig Dahl had the pick.

The Patriots suffered their second turnover almost immediately after. Jones took the kickoff 5 yards deep in the end zone out to the Giants 32, another good return. Gutierrez hit Marcellus Rivers for five yards on first down but Chase Blackburn forced the ball loose and recovered giving the Giants new quarterback, Tim Hasselback, first and 10 on the Giants 40.

Hasselback got far enough for Lawrence Tynes to attempt a 43-yard field goal. The kick was good and with 12:06 left to play, New England held a 17-13 lead.

The Patriots extended their lead with a 13-play, 73-yard drive ending with a 23-yard Gostkowski field goal. Smith did the work on the ground while Gutierrez had a nice third and 15 completion to Kight along the left sideline that Kight made a nice play on, keeping both feet inbounds as he leaned over the sideline. Later in the drive, Childress had a 25-yard dash, working out of the backfield as a running back.

New England put the game away with 2:54 left. Dante Wesley intercepted Hasselback to give the Patriots first and 10 on the Giants 23. From there it took Gutierrez four plays to get into the end zone. Smith started things off with an 11-yard run and Gutierrez ended it with a 12-yard pass to a wide-open Childress in the end zone.

The Giants tacked on seven points with under a minute left to play with a 7-play drive culminating with a 1-yard touchdown by Ryan Grant.

New York went with an onside kick, down by seven, but Rivers for the Patriots came up with the ball and the Patriots ran out the clock, ending their preseason with a 27-20 win and 2-2 record.

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