Patriots Rewind: Patriots 20 Panthers 10

The Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers 20-10 last night in preseason game number two. The game culminated a tumultuous week in Foxboro between the two teams.

Here are five takeaways from last night’s game.

1. Mac and the offense looked rusty early: Mac Jones and the starting offense looked rusty early but Jones did manage to lead them on a scoring drive which was capped off by a Ty Montgomery rushing touchdown. The highlight of the drive was a 45 yard connection with Nelson Agholor. Jones talked about the team’s slow start offensively.

“Yeah, it was a little bit of a rocky start, but that’s kind of how it goes when you haven’t played for a little bit. You’ve just got to continue to play, and the guys on our team, we came together, kind of operated, didn’t freak out or anything, just carried on and get our mojo back and keep everything going forward.” Jones added: “It was a good drive, and the game is 60 minutes, and right now a lot of the younger guys are getting a chance to play, which is great. We understand how long a 60-minute game is, and I think that was a good learning lesson of ‘all right, let’s keep playing here,’ and when we get into the season, we’ll have a lot of chances to play those games out and continue to grow, whether it was a good first drive or not.”

The offense has been much maligned this preseason so last night’s performance didn’t exactly inspire the fanbase but scoring on one of the possessions with the starters in the game is a plus.

2. Defense dominates: The story of the night was the defense which dominated Carolina. The starters looked good and the back ups picked up right where they left off. The Patriots recovered a forced fumble by Joshuah Bledsoe, got an interception from Shaun Wade and scored a defensive touchdown late. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of this unit’s performance was the amount of pressure they got on Carolina’s quarterbacks all night long. The Patriots sacked P.J Walker and Matt Corral five times last night.

3. Lil’Jordan Humphrey shines: Humphrey paced all Patriots receivers with 5 catches for 71 yards and he made a diving swat to knock a ball out of the end zone on special teams. He has had strong camp and continues to make a push for a roster spot. His chances of sticking here are thin but based on the way he’s played, he will get a shot somewhere else.

4. Strange looked comfortable: Rookie right guard Cole Strange played well last night. He was sound in pass pro and fundamentally sound in the run game. He wore gloves last night which might have been the key to his success. All kidding aside. Strange looked like the player the Patriots were hoping they would get when they drafted him.

5. Patricia the play caller: I think the mystery of who will call plays for the Patriots has been solved. It’s Matt Patricia. Patricia called all the plays last night. Barring Joe Judge calling all the plays next week, it is safe to assume that Patricia will be the primary play caller this season.