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Patriots vs. Buccaneers: Game Notes

GOSTKOWSKI FROM 53

Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 53-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to improve to 4-for-4 this preseason. The 53-yarder is longer than any of Gostkowski's regular-season or playoff field goals -- his career long is 52 yards, achieved on Nov. 26, 2006 at Gillette Staduium against the Chicago Bears. In his regular-season and playoff career, Gostkowski is 2-for-2 from 50 yards or longer, hitting the 52-yarder against the Bears and nailing a 50-yard boot against the San Diego Chargers in the 2006 divisional playoffs. The last time a Patriot booted a field goal of 53 yards or longer in the regular season or playoffs was on Nov. 10, 2002, when Adam Vinatieri nailed a franchise-record 57-yarder against Chicago in Champaign, Ill. If Gostkowski's 53-yard field goal had happened in the regular season, it would have tied the fifth-longest field goal in team history.

LYNCH DEBUTS

Veteran safety John Lynch made his Patriots debut tonight, seeing his first action six minutes into the game on a third-and-two play. Lynch, who signed with New England as a free agent on Friday, Aug. 15, spent the first 11 years of his career with Tampa Bay (1993-2003), and was a leader on the Buccaneers' Super Bowl XXXVII championship squad in the 2002 season.

PRESEASON DROUGHT AGAINST TAMPA BAY CONTINUES

The Patriots dropped to 1-7 all-time in the preseason against Tampa Bay. The Patriots have seven straight preseason losses to the Buccaneers, including a 13-10 defeat at Raymond James Stadium to open the 2007 preseason. The Patriots have never won at Raymond James Stadium, holding an all-time record of 0-4 (all preseason games) since the venue opened in 1998. The Patriots are 4-2 all-time against the Buccaneers in the regular season (2-1 in Tampa).

EVANS IN THE ZONE

Heath Evans put the Patriots into the end zone for the first time on the night with a 1-yard touchdown run with 10:20 remaining in the game. The touchdown was Evans' first of the preseason. Last season, Evans set a career high with three touchdowns (all rushing). He has four career touchdowns in his seven seasons in the NFL.

THE RUUD BROTHERS

Patriots rookie linebacker Bo Ruud was on the opposite sideline as his brother, Tampa Bay linebacker Barrett Ruud. The Patriots selected Bo Ruud in the sixth round (197th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Nebraska. Barrett Ruud is in his fourth season with Tampa Bay after being selected in the second round of the 2005 draft.

QUICK HITS

  • In addition to John Lynch, six Patriots saw their first action of the preseason in the first half. CB Ellis Hobbs, RB Sammy Morris, LB Mike Vrabel, OL John Welbourn, WR Randy Moss and WR Wes Welker all played against the Buccaneers after not playing in the preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens on Aug. 7.
  • The Patriots trailed by 24 points in the third quarter, falling behind by a 27-3 score. The last time the Patriots trailed by 24 or more points in a game was on Oct. 10, 2005, when they trailed the Denver Broncos 28-3 in the third quarter of an eventual 28-20 loss at Gillette Stadium. Last season, the biggest deficit the Patriots faced was 10 points, trailing 20-10 in the fourth quarter of an eventual 24-20 win at Indianapolis on Nov. 4, 2007.
  • Richard Seymour batted away a Brian Griese pass intended for tight end Alex Smith on second down in the first quarter, forcing Tampa Bay into a third down that it did not convert.
  • Rookie linebacker Shawn Crable recorded a sack of Chris Simms and a forced fumble on the same play on third-and-six on the final play of the third quarter, forcing a Tampa Bay punt that set up a Patriots touchdown drive. Last week against Baltimore, Crabel shared a sack, had two quarterback hits and recorded an interception.
  • Rookie linebacker Vince Redd sacked Tampa Bay's Josh Johnson for a 13-yard loss on third down in the fourth quarter, forcing a Tampa Bay punt on the next play.
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