Patriots Fall to Panthers in Regular Season Tune-Up
The New England Patriots struggled Friday night, in their third preseason game, as they fell to the Carolina Panthers 25-14.
The game, which is widely considered as the final tune up for key players around the league, was not a strong outing for New England's starters, as they struggled to keep pace on both sides of the ball through the first two quarters of play.
The Pats' starting defensive unit allowed the Panthers to score on three of their four first half drives. While New England did tighten up near the goal line and employ their typical bend but don't break game plan, holding the Panthers to three field goals, it just seemed like the defense was a bit off tonight. Though they held Carolina's top offenisve unit out of the end zone, they did give up 201 first half yards on 34 plays. That averages out to just under six yards per play.
While the defense seemed a bit slow, the Patriot starting offense also appeared to be a bit flat. They went three and out on their first drive, with a break down in pass protection on third down. While they did have a solid second drive that got the ball all the way down inside the 5-yard line, a penalty and a couple of incomplete passes forced them to settle for a field goal; their only points of the first half.
Tom Brady completed 12 of his 18 pass attempts for 102 yards on the night, despite the slow start for the offense.
Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski was a bit rusty as well, missing one of his three field goal attempts, a 46-yard boot sent wide to the right at the end of the second quarter.
For a final go through, before the regular season kicks off, the Patriot starters left a lot to be desired. They'll need to find a flow offensively and make some more stops defensively when the games count for something.
All Stats Here.