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The Patriots strolled to another preseason victory Friday night against the Tamp Bay Buccaneers 25-21. Though, this win is probably no indication of the how the Week 3 regular season match-up between the two teams will go, since the Buccaneers were without their starting shut-down corner Darrelle Revis. This game did however provide many highs and lows, but nothing could have prepared us for the monstrosity that was quarterback Tim Tebow. Let’s take a look at the good and bad from Friday night.
Quarterback Tom Brady: Brady sprained his left knee in practice on Wednesday? No one would have known with the type of night he had. Brady played just two series and finished the night 11 for 12 with 107 yards, one touchdown and a quarterback rating of 131.6. He drove the offense down the field on their opening possession with an impressive 15-play, 80-yard drive. His knee seems fine to me!
Tight end Zach Sudfeld: Sudfeld continues to emerge as one of the preseason stars and had a very impressive night with two catches for 32 yards and one touchdown. He also had a very impressive two-point conversion catch from Brady in between two defenders and another nice touchdown grab for 22 yards, catching the ball after tipping it to himself, demonstrating his great concentration and hands. Not bad for an undrafted rookie.
The Pass Rush: The Patriots defensive line, behind the likes of Chandler Jones and Brandon Spikes, showed great pressure against the Buccaneers and racked up four sacks, three in the first two drives. Spikes ended the night with two sacks while Jones and Rob Ninkovich each added a sack of their own. The physicality of the defensive line against the Buccaneers offensive lineman is something they need to carry over to the regular season and execute consistently. If they are able to replicate that success, the defense can become a top contender in the league.
Cornerback Logan Ryan: Cornerback is one of the weak spots for the Patriot’s defense and although they have not found their breakout star, the rookie Ryan did show signs of progress Friday night. He had a pick six off Mike Glennon in the third quarter and not to take anything away from him, it was a play he had seen before during the joint practices. He had a slow start to training camp but he is starting to see more reps with the first team defense with injuries to Ras-I Dowling and Alfonzo Dennard.
Quarterback Tim Tebow: Quarterback should be put in quotations and used loosely when referring to Tebow. The third stringer finished the night with a very very rare feat, throwing for -1 yards on one of seven passing in two quarters. His passer rating came in at an mind blowing 0.0 and his decision making was horrendous all night, throwing an interception right into the arms of a Buccaneers defender. His performance last night just solidifies the fact that Tebow should stay as a practice quarterback decoy helping the defense defend against the wild-cat scheme, seeing running is the only thing he can succeed in. Is it fair to say Tebow has been disappointing if we never expected much from him in the first place?
Back-up quarterback Ryan Mallet: Mallet played for four drives completing 12-of-20 passes for 137 yards. The numbers do not seem so bad but Mallet was inconsistent all night making some very inaccurate passes. If he is the back-up for Brady, Mallet needs to step his game up and really take advantage of learning from one of the all-time great quarterbacks.