Even in a stadium known for its musketfire, the third Patriots preseason game truly started with a bang. Unfortunately for the Patriots, Brandon Tate’s 97 yard opening kickoff return for a touchdown was one of the only highlights of the game.
Sam Bradford was impressive for the Rams, routinely moving the chains with the poise of a 5-year veteran. Even when bringing an extra blitzer, Bradford was able to find an open receiver. The Rams eventually would win 36-35.
The Patriots were beaten physically from the start to the finish, losing the battle on both lines of scrimmage. Ron Brace played well at times, but the Rams starters were able to move the ball nearly at will.
Defensive backs will not be spared by the coaching staff either. Devin McCourty had a poor night; he was beaten twice on double moves, while over-pursuing in the run game.
Darius Butler was torched for a touchdown late in the 3rd quarter, capping off a 15-play 76 yard drive by the Rams backups. The majority of the starters for the Patriots were still in the game.
The running game for the home team was nearly non-existent. Sammy Morris got the bulk of the carries in the first half, barely reaching double digits in yards gained.
Wes Welker and Alge Crumpler had big gains that setup an impressive TD catch in the first half by Rob Gronkowski, dragging Rams LB James Laurinaitis the last five yards into the end zone.
Other than the long touchdown drive, the Pats had far too many three-and-out series in the first half, although the somewhat vanilla preseason play-calling might have had something to do with it. Randy Moss and Brady finally got in sync during the second half, hooking up for a 65-yard bomb that hit Moss in stride.
Gronkowski (Samurai!) was impressive in the second half as well, going over the middle for two long catches – one for a TD. However, he does need some work on his spiking technique.
Laurence Maroney was conspicuously absent yet again, although the significance of that fact is being blown way out of proportion in our opinion. Maroney has had injury problems before, so Coach Belichick might be saving some wear and tear on his body.
Roster cuts are soon approaching. The players on the 53-man roster bubble have one more game, September 2nd against the New York Giants, to impress the coaching staff.
Tags: Game Recap