Washington could not get out of its own way due in large part to a Patriots defense that played 60 minutes of good football. Mike Wright continued his strong preseason with 4 tackles and 2 sacks while the Patriots finished with 7 sacks on the night. They held the Skins offense to a paltry 4 of 16 third down conversions
Meanwhile, the Patriots attack was sharp. Patrick Cobbs led all rushers with 13 carries for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns. On the receiving end, Ben Watson was immense with 8 catches for 97 yards and a score. Troy Brown had 4 receptions for 64 yards.
As a team, New England had 465 yards on offense.
Laurence Maroney took his first kickoff return of the preseason to open the game and made a nice advance to the 41 (a 36-yard return). The only negative was having the ball jarred loose at the end of his run where it rolled out of bounds.
From there, Tom Brady orchestrated a 54-yard, 11-play drive, good for 3 points on a 23-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal. Ben Watson had two catches in the series but the big play was a 17-yard pass interference call on the Redskins Carlos Rogers who made contact too early on a pass intended for Reche Caldwell.
New England opened on defense with Tully Banta-Cain making his second straight start at outside linebacker with Mike Vrabel inside. And making his on-field debut as a Patriot, Junior Seau got the start next to Vrabel. Also on the field for the first time this preseason was Rodney Harrison at his usual safety position. Opposite him was Eugene Wilson with Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs at the corners.
That defense forced Washington to punt on its first try, giving Brady and the offense a chance to quickly build on their lead.
Four plays later, that's exactly what they did with two big pass plays. The first was a screen to Corey Dillon that he rambled down the left sideline with. Thirty-nine yards later New England was first and 10 from the Redskins 41. Brady then play-actioned a stretch play to Maroney and looked down the middle to Brown. Brown made the catch falling down at the 5-yard line for a 36-yard gain. On the next play Maroney carried up the middle for the touchdown.
Washington had a little more success on its third drive of the game, coming in the second quarter. Mark Brunell chipped his way downfield, mostly handing the ball off. He did convert a fourth and 4 from the New England 36 with a 7-yard completion to Antwaan Randle El. But a stout Patriot defense bolstered by spirited play from Seau allowed the Skins to go no further than the 25 where John Hall had his field goal attempt tipped by Richard Seymour.
With New England back on offense, Watson showed off his all-world potential with a 10-yard catch on third and 10 and then a beautiful snare of a Brady pass down the middle for a 35-yard pick-up. After Brown grabbed a 13-yarder to the 6, it was Watson again, catching a little floater over the middle for the score.
With 7:49 left in the first half, the Patriots were up 17-0 and looking good against a very good Redskins defense from a year ago.
The Patriots defense continued to show its muscle with an 11-yard Rosevelt Colvin sack and then Colvin showing up again two plays later by batting down Brunell's third and 17 attempt.
That three and out set up the Patriots first and 10 at the Washington 39 after Kevin Faulk's punt return. Watson was the star again. First, Brady found him in a mismatch with linebacker Lemar Marshall. All Marshall could do was draw a penalty by holding Watson who had a step on him over the middle. Watson was also good for catches of 10 and 11 during the drive which ended with a 23-yard Gostkowski field goal.
Watson's first half numbers were 7 catches for 86 yards and a touchdown.
Washington had a last chance to do something on offense with around two minutes left in the first half but a 9-yard sack of Brunell by Vrabel took care of that. Even when the Patriots went three and out and gave the ball back to Washington with just under 40 seconds, it was Ty Warren with an 11-yard sack to end the first half massacre.
New England built on its 20-0 lead in the third quarter. This time it was Daniel Graham with a 24-yard reception and another 11-yard catch by Watson. Later in the drive, Watson was mugged by Rogers trying to catch another ball in front of the end zone. The penalty gave New England a first and goal at the 5. After Heath Evans couldn't get in on two straight runs, Brady looked for Brown but he had his jersey held by Kenny Wright. Now with a first and goal from the 2, Evans finally banged it in two plays later to make the score 27-0 with the point after.
That was it on the night for Brady and it was a good one: 17 of 30 for 231 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, his counterpart, Brunell, had a rough one: 7 of 16 for 51 yards and 3 sacks.
A mid-fourth quarter drive netted another 7 points for New England with Matt Cassel under center. Patrick Cobbs had 42 yards on 6 runs including a nice 24-yarder where he started inside, saw daylight and bounced it to the outside. He also had the score with a 1-yard plunge.
Cobbs added to his totals with a 36-yard run later in the fourth. With time approaching the two-minute warning it was as if the Patriots couldn't help but score. At the two-minute mark they were third and goal from the 1. Cobbs carried for no gain and then had his second touchdown of the game on the next play making the final score 41-0.
Patriots announced prior to the game as not playing: Chad Jackson; Guss Scott; Patrick Pass; Raymond Ventrone; Freddie Roach; Tedy Bruschi; Le Kevin Smith; Nich Kaczur; Deion Branch; David Thomas; Dan Klecko; Marquise Hill; Jarvis Green; Chad Brown.