After a scrappy week of joint practices with the Tennessee Titans, the Patriots got the last laugh with a victory in week two of the 2019 preseason. The Patriots beat the Titans by a score of 22-17, and after spending the first two weeks of the preseason on the road, the team will be heading back to Foxborough for the two remaining games of the preseason schedule. The Patriots had to fight a little harder to get this win as opposed to the game against the Lions, but all in all, they got the win and that’s all that matters.
We got to see how the backups responded to adversity as Tennessee scored first on a touchdown pass to Delanie Walker from Marcus Mariota in the first quarter. Brian Hoyer did not show much in his limited snaps at quarterback but he was able to lead the drive that ended in a touchdown run from Brandon Bolden who had a year-long vacation from the Patriots that he spent with the Miami Dolphins. After the touchdown, Hoyer and the offense stayed in to attempt the two-point conversion try and was able to find Jakobi Meyers streaking across the back of the end zone to tie up the game at 8-8.
However, Hoyer’s first drive was not so special. It ended in two plays, the first being an incomplete pass that was meant for Dontrelle Inman and the second play was an interception thrown to former Patriot, Logan Ryan. Hoyer finished the game 6/8 for 55 yards and an interception. Jarrett Stidham followed up his impressive week one performance with another good game. For the time being, Hoyer is most likely the second-string quarterback to Tom Brady, but Stidham is producing. He came in halfway through the second quarter and was able to put together two touchdown drives, one of which he threw to Damoun Patterson for 23 yards. Stidham finished the day throwing 14/19 for 193 yards and a touchdown.
We got to see rookie running back Damian Harris for the first time last night, and he got the majority of carries out of all the running backs. He had 14 carries for 80 yards but failed to find the end zone. In two separate goal-line situations, Nick Brossette and Brandon Bolden were called upon to finish the job and put the ball in the end zone and were successful both times. As it stands, I believe Nick Brossette will be the odd man out and will spend the season on the practice squad and Brandon Bolden will get most of his playing time on special teams, much like his first stay in New England.
New England’s defense didn’t have a particularly great game. They were unable to get a turnover and only recorded two sacks all game. They were able to hold Tennessee to 17 points, but they forced the offense to respond to being down twice in the game. The Titans’ quarterbacks threw for a combined 206 yards and two touchdowns on 17/32 attempts. I would give the defense an overall grade of B-. It got the job done, but it was nothing special. Chase Winovich had the most memorable game of anyone on defense. He recorded eight total tackles, six solo tackles, and two were for a loss.
The guys who are fighting for a roster spot need to leave their mark on next week’s game if they want to make the team. Week four of preseason is when teams really start to take shape and we will see more from the starters, so these next seven days are now or never for the guys on the fence. The wide receivers especially should make sure that they have the best week of their lives with the return of Josh Gordon to the team. I would consider Gordon a lock to make the 53 man roster and will likely be a big part of the offense. For now, the Patriots are 2-0 and in the words of Coach Belichick, we’re on to the New York Giants.