Patriots vs. Panthers: New England tops Carolina 20-10 in preseason matchup


After a few joint practice sessions, the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers head to the field for game number two of the preseason on Friday night.

The Patriots saw a handful of regulars play deep into their second preseason game, while quarterback Mac Jones played a total of three series. As a result, New England took home their first preseason win, 20-10.

August 19, 7:00 PM ET | Gillette Stadium, Foxborough MA

First quarter

The Patriots’ starting defense went into the field first after they postponed the toss and went straight to work. After a defensive call on the first play of scrimmage, New England regrouped and quickly forced a Carolina punt.

With Mac Jones in the middle, the Patriots opened in 12 men with Damien Harris, Jonnu Smith, Devin Asiasi, DeVante Parker and Jakobi Meyers. After a six-yard Harris carry, a pass was dropped slightly behind Parker before Jones was sacked by Julian Stanford in third place. Stanford defeated James Ferentz, who took the start on the right hat and forced a patriotic punt.

Carolina’s second offensive drive got off to a hot start with PJ Walker finding Keith Kirkwood for a 19-yard completion. Later in the drive, a couple of back-to-back sacks from Deatrich Wise and Josh Uche and a false start penalty on Carolina derailed their momentum, leading to another punt.

Mac Jones and the Patriots again found little success on stage number two. A quick three-and-out with two omissions from Jones – a high miss for Jakobi Meyers and a miscommunication with Rhamondre Stevenson.

Matt Judon continued to feel his presence early on, beating Walker’s first attempt at scrimmage. That didn’t stop Carolina’s offense, as they marched across the field culminating in a 21-yard completion for Giovanni Ricci and a Christian Barmore roughing the passer penalty, which went on to add another 15-yards. The New England defense held out in the red zone, holding Carolina against a field goal. [Patriots 0 : 3 Panthers]

Second quarter

New England’s starting foul found some life on their third run, when Mac Jones delivered a dime downfield to Nelson Agholor for a 45-yard gain. Three games later, Ty Montgomery hit a two-yard touchdown home to give the Patriots the lead. [Patriots 7 : 3 Panthers]

Matt Corral took over for Carolina in their first drive in the second quarter and got some help when the third down pass interference call on Terrance Mitchell extended their drive. After another first down ball, Jonathan Jones broke a third down ball down the right touchline, intended for Kirkwood, and forced a punt.

New England has also made a QB change as Brian Hoyer replaces Jones. Hoyer started his first drive with a 17-yard completion to DeVante Parker for a first-down. Hoyer again found Tyquan Thornton for 12 yards, but the game was wiped out for too many players in the huddle. Damien Harris found some success in the zone run game, but the Patriots were unable to recover from the earlier penalty and kicked away.

After a direct hit for Stephen Sullivan, safety Joshuah Bledsoe delivered a strong goal to chase the football away. The piece was originally considered incomplete, but a challenge from Bill Belichick canceled the call. New England took over at the Carolina 26-yard after a clear recovery from Myles Bryant.

With Bailey Zappe now at the center, New England was unable to fully capitalize on their sales. A three-and-out led to a 38-yard field goal by Nick Folk. [Patriots 10 : 3 Panthers]

Another short three-and-out from Carolina with less than two minutes left in the first half. For New England, Mack Wilson Sr. a break in the stride, reading Corral’s eyes on a double impact combo. He then helped Terrance Mitchell into third by getting Rashard Higgins to the ground for the sticks.

With just over a minute into the first half, Zappe took to the field and got to work on a two-minute drill. The ride started with back-to-back completion to Devin Asiasi for 19 yards and Tre Nixon for 11 yards. an unnecessary roughness penalty on James Ferentz for a late hit on Kenny Robinson, who was ejected in both joint practice sessions earlier this week, ended the Patriots’ offense. They scored two plays later.

Carolina knelt to go to halftime.

third quarter

Zappe and Lil’Jordan Humphrey got off to a strong start in the opening New England round, making a few receptions for 20- and 26-yards. A false start penalty on Yodney Cajuste and third-place dismissal by Brandon Smith derailed the Patriots’ progress. Tristan Vizcaino came up to take kicks, but pushed a 53-yard effort all the way to the right.

With PJ Walker back in the game for Carolina, the Panthers attack didn’t get the spark they were looking for. A pitch Walker would like back was intercepted by Shaun Wade for the second turnover of the night in New England.

Looking to build on their lead after the turnover, Zappe found Tre Nixon for a first down before returning straight to Humphrey in the air for wins of 16 and four. New England didn’t have much success on the ground, however, as three consecutive runs from Pierre Strong resulted in a turnover on downs.

Carolina continued their offensive battle and went three-and-out. Sam Roberts made a strong impression for New England by knocking down Spencer Brown for a six-foot loss on the first play of the Panthers’ drive.

A promising start to the Patriots drive quickly turned into disaster when Bailey Zappe’s pass to Tre Nixon failed as Tae Hayes read and snapped the ball for an easy pick-six. [Patriots 10 : 10 Panthers]

Fourth quarter

JJ Taylor got off to a strong start on the Patriots drive to close the third quarter with a strong blitz pickup—allowing Zappe to find Tre Nixon eight yards—then found ground clearance on a 15-yard sprinter. After a few deep passes (that should have been taken care of) were incomplete for Josh Hammond and Nixon, Vizcaino scored a 51-yard field goal to give New England the lead. [Patriots 13 : 10 Panthers]

With the Patriots back in the lead, Matt Corral was back in the center for Carolina. The Panthers took one down first, but continued to fight the New England defenses. A pair of strong cover reps from rookie Jack Jones, including a dropped interception on third deficit, forced Carolina to their sixth run of the night.

Looking for the possible tucked-away touchdown, the Patriots leaned on rookie Pierre Strong back to open the drive. After three consecutive runs by Strong and a scramble by Zappe, a false start by Drew Desjarlais put them behind the sticks. That led to an eventual punt, on which Lil’Jordan Humphrey made a spectacular move to pin the Panthers’ attack on the four-meter line.

Pinned deep in their own territory, Corral and the Panthers kept moving backwards. Between two false start penalties and an Anfernee Jennings sack, the Panthers were supported to their own two-yard line. Corral then completed a 12-yard completion of Ra’Shaun Henry on third downs, giving their punter some breathing room.

Starting with a strong fielding position on Carolina’s 40-yard line, a third-down false start penalty brought New England back to a 3rd-and-7. After a Zappe completion for Matt Sokol for six yards, the Patriots turned the aggressiveness on 4th-and-1. JJ Taylor originally converted the run, but Sokol was called to hold on setting up a 4th-and-11 and a Patriots punt.

PJ Walker replaced Corral for the Panthers as quarterback for their final two-minute drill. New England was ready, when Ronnie Perkins registered a sack and DaMarcus Mitchell forced a fumble that Sam Roberts recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. [Patriots 20 : 10 Panthers]

With a final prayer, Walker found Jared Scott for 10 yards and Derek Wright for a 32 yards gain to get the ride going. Walker’s next pass was intercepted by Brenden Schooler.

New England kneels to end the game. [Patriots 20 : 10 Panthers]

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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