After spending two weeks on the road for joint practices with the Lions and Titans, the Patriots returned home to Foxborough to host the Carolina Panthers for the third preseason game of the 2019 season. Here are the ups and downs.
1. Jarrett Stidham - The rookie quarterback entered the game in the second quarter after Brady’s night was complete. Stidham played the rest of the way, and he looked pretty good. He went 15 of 19 for 134 yards. Brian Hoyer did not play tonight. Perhaps an indicator that Stidham is the Patriots backup.
2. Patriots defense - It’s hard to highlight just one player when there was constant pressure coming from multiple players all night. The defense dominated. Kyle Van Noy and Adam Butler each recorded a sack in the first quarter. Dont’a Hightower and John Simon did a nice job applying pressure as well. All together, the Patriots defense held the Panthers offense to just 3 points and 99 yards.
3. Sony Michel - Michel picked up right where he left off last season. Although he was not involved in the passing game tonight, he was breaking tackles consistently in the run game. Michel rushed for 36 yards on 10 carries but only penalties kept his yardage down. He was electric.
4. Gunner Olszewski - Until tonight, the role of punt returner was split between Olszewski and Braxton Berrios. Tonight, it was all Olszewki, and he was impressive. He returned four punts for 63 yards and displayed a tremendous amount of speed. He left the game during the fourth quarter with an injury, but overall, Thursday was an impressive night for Olszewski.
1. Penalties - The Patriots committed six penalties for 60 yards in the first half alone. Ryan Izzo, Jakobi Meyers, and Hjalte Foholdt were all called for holding. Shaq Mason and Marcus Cannon was called for a chop block. Jarrett Stidham was called for a false start. Nate Ebner was called for an illegal block. In the second half, the penalties were cleaned up a bit. The Patriots committed a total of 8 penalties for 80 yards on the night.
2. Injuries - It’s never good to see injuries happen, especially during the preseason. The Patriots medical staff had an active night on Thursday. Kyle Van Noy, Benjamin Watson, Nate Ebner, Damien Harris, Brandon King and Gunner Olszewski all went down with injuries. King was carted off the field while Van Noy, Watson, Ebner and Harris all spent time in the blue medical tent. Van Noy and Ebner returned to game action but the others did not.
3. Hjalte Froholdt - The rookie has struggled in preseason game action. Among several tough moments tonight for the left guard, one that stood out was when Panthers defensive end Efe Obada got by Froholdt. The missed block led to a sack of Stidham.