Patriots

Bean's thoughts from Patriots-Texans: Brissett's win streak vs. Texans finally ends

patriots_jacoby_brissett_081917.jpg

Bean's thoughts from Patriots-Texans: Brissett's win streak vs. Texans finally ends

Jacoby Brissett’s dominance over the Texans has ended. 

The third-string quarterback led a comeback effort on New England’s final drive of the game, but a fumble while trying to throw in the red zone led to the ball going out of the end zone for a touchback to secure a 27-23 Houston victory Saturday night. 

The loss for the Pats dropped New England to 0-2 this preseason, taking the Patriots from being considered Super Bowl favorites to for sure remaining Super Bowl favorites. 

MORE: 

Ultimately, Saturday’s game wasn’t about Brissett, however, but rather Tom Brady. The 40-year-old quarterback made his preseason debut, playing two series for New England. Rob Gronkowski also played, taking the field for two series in his first preseason action since 2012. 

THE QUARTERBACKS

Tom Brady: 6-of-9, 67 yards, 1 TD, O INT
Jimmy Garoppolo: 15-of-23, TD, INT, lost fumble 
Jacoby Brissett: 5-of-10, 36 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT

TD-REX 

Tom Brady sassed Rex Burkhead for not hurrying back to the huddle after a first down on the Pats’ second drive, but that was the lone hiccup in an otherwise whopper of a drive for the duo. 

Brady and Burkhead connected twice on the drive, capped by a 22-yard touchdown on an angle route for the former Bengal. Burkhead’s other catch on the drive went for 16 yards, with him rushing for 12 yards during the series. 

Burkhead, who got the start, totaled seven rushes for 20 yards and three receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown. 

JIMMY GAROPPOLO: BAD PRACTICE PLAYER, GOOD ACTUAL PLAYER, GOOD PRESEASON PLAYER, BAD PRESEASON PLAYER

The back-and-forth surrounding what kind of player Jimmy Garoppolo went from “good preseason player” last week back to “possibly bad preseason player.” I don’t think the hourly update on the guy is exactly necessary, but we’re pot committed at this point. 

Garoppolo was being chased in the backfield early in the fourth quarter when, seemingly in an attempt to throw the ball away, he instead gave it away. The fourth-year quarterback didn’t sail his throw nearly high enough, and thus it was picked by Denzel Rice. The Texans scored a touchdown on the ensuing series. 

Worth keeping in mind as we closely monitor Garoppolo’s practice snaps and preseason throws: He’s never thrown a pick in an actual game. 

ROBERTS HURT

Elandon Roberts was carted off in the third quarter after a collision with Jonathan Freeney. Shortly after, the Patriots announced he had a rib injury.

Earlier in the game, Vincent Valentine suffered what looked to be a left leg injury, but he returned to the game. Malcolm Mitchell was repeatedly spotted grabbing his right knee after plays. 

NOT MUCH COOKIN’ WITH TOP RECEIVERS

The second preseason game saw such receivers as Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola play, but there wasn’t a whole lot going on in their limited action. Cooks caught the only pass that was thrown his way for a seven-yard reception, with Amendola also making one catch for six yards. Edelman didn’t catch either of his targets, while the only pass Brady threw to Hogan was intercepted, but ruled an incompletion given that the defensive back didn’t have both feet in bounds. 

ROUGH START FOR BUTLER 

Stephon Gilmore lost out on a fumble recovery because the play on which he scooped up the ball was ruled an incomplete pass, but he probably couldn’t complain considering how the night started for fellow corner Malcolm Butler. 

The fourth-year corner was beaten along the sideline by Bruce Ellington on a jump ball for a 37-yard play on Houston’s first drive. On the following drive, Jaelen Strong beat Butler in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.  

CYRUS JONES BEGINS COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR BID

Hey, speaking of corners, something good involving Cyrus Jones happened. 

The second-year player had a 32-yard punt return in the second quarter and then a 15-yard return in the fourth. He got burned for long touchdowns zero times, which is two times less than he did in the preseason opener against the Jaguars. Progress. 

STARTERS

Offense: Cameron Fleming, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Marcus Cannon, Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman, James Develin, Rex Burkhead, Tom Brady

Defense: Kony Ealy, Lawrence Guy, Vincent Valentine, Trey Flowers, Elandon Roberts, Kyle Van Noy, David Harris, Stephon Gilmore, Malcolm Butler, Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty

#FridayBag: Don't worry, you can keep your hands to yourself

giardi-perry-fri-mailbag.jpg

#FridayBag: Don't worry, you can keep your hands to yourself

FOXBORO - Every Friday, Phil Perry and Mike Giardi will take your Patriots questions on Twitter and answer them as a joint mailbag -- or Friday Bag, as they call it.

Got questions? Tweet the guys using the hashtag #FridayBag. But for now, give the latest edition of the Bag a read.

MG: Hopefully that’s not needed, Casey, but I will pass it on. 

MG: BIG GAME! Sure. Why the hell not?

MG: Allie, this is a question that’s I’ve been pondering for years, or at least months . . . ok, for about 3 minutes. Tarzan has either a) been duping us all this time and actually has a job, drives an BMW and has a colonial with 2 1/2 baths or b) he’s a baby face who never hit puberty. 

MG: Mikey! Here’s a quite from Todd Wash, Jags DC, when asked about Ramsey possibly covering Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski Sunday: “I think the last thing you can do is to go into a game like this and you try and reinvent the wheel . . . Jalen is a good corner and he plays against wide receivers . . . "

So either he’s telling the truth or he doesn’t want to reveal a wrinkle. My opinion: Why waste Ramsey outside the entire game? Brady’s at his best attacking inside the numbers and even more to the point, inside the hashes. At the very least, I’d deploy Ramsey on Gronk in the red area and make Tommy boy look elsewhere.

MG: Yeah, tough injury. Jon Jones has been terrific on special teams for two years, a likely heir apparent to Matt Slater as that guy who ends up being in the Pro Bowl every year. Love almost every bit of what he brings. Would say Jonathan Bademosi will be active this week and move into that role. 

MG: Sizzle, for sure. We’ve done a lot of X’s and O’s on this one and one area where the Jags have been especially vulnerable is under the linebackers. That means running backs, that means shorter crossing patterns and that means combo platters designed to force these LBs to make a decision. Telvin Smith was targeted 13 times last weekend (according to Pro Football Focus) and surrendered 12 catches. A healthy Brady feasts on this.

MG: Goose making his #FridayBag debut. Welcome. Best matchup is Matt Patricia and his big brains versus Blake Bortles. If that kid thinks he’s going to be looking at the same thing very often, I got a bridge to sell him. Worst matchup is T.J. Yeldon on the linebackers. We’ve spent a ton of time talking about Leonard Fournette and what he brings if he’s healthy but Yeldon is both strong, shifty and can catch. With a skittish QB, Yeldon could be heavily involved.



PP: JP, checking in from the District! I'd say the chances are minimal. I would do it. You might do it. Go out on top and all that. But you and I haven't been saying for years that we're planing to work into our mid-40s. And we don't have post-retirement business plans that kind of hinge on our ability to work into our mid-40s. We also aren't about to be named MVP...of anything. We'll see, but I would be very surprised if this ends up being Brady's last season.



PP: Good question, Michael. Also a scary one for Patriots fans, I'd think. If the unexpected happens and Brady can't take the field, I think you'd have some packages in place for Chris Hogan or Jacob Hollister just in case something happened to Brian Hoyer. Hogan is arguably one of the most versatile athletes on the team, and he threw a pass (left-handed) at MetLife last year. Hollister was a walk-on quarterback at the University of Nevada. When he transferred to Arizona Western Community College, he made the transition to tight end.



PP: To me, all of these questions are related, so let's smash them all together. I do believe the Patriots will show plenty of "21" and "12" personnel in this game. That means either a) two receivers, two backs and one tight end, or b) two receivers, one back and two tight ends. In that scenario, the receivers would be -- in my opinion -- some combination of Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola. I'd use the Cooks-Amendola combination most frequently unless it seems like Hogan has completely shaken the rust from his long regular-season absence. The reason it would be a good idea to use theses heavier formations -- as opposed to "11" personnel with three wideouts -- is that it attacks the Jaguars with their weaker coverage people on the field. If the Patriots deploy, say, James Develin, Dion Lewis and Rob Gronkowski in the same look, Jacksonville would likely have to respond by putting run-stuffing linebacker Paul Posluszny on the field. If the Patriots can manipulate the coverage to get any non-Develin weapon on Posluszny, that's a mismatch they can exploit. We go into further detail on how the Patriots can exploit the Jaguars' base defense -- which has struggled in coverage this season -- here

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE