There were all kinds of nuggets worth taking away from the preseason finale for the Patriots, a 17-9 loss to the Giants. Here are five quick takeaways from a Patriots perspective . . .
Brady could've used more help: Few expected Tom Brady to play the entire first half of Thursday night's game, and with a line of 16-for-26 passing for 166 yards, one touchdown and one interception, it wasn't his sharpest night. He could have used a little more help from his teammates though, as there were three turnovers in the first half -- and it's unclear if any of them were the quarterback's fault. On his interception, it appeared as though receiver Aaron Dobson could have come back to the ball a little more aggressively on his stop route. Martellus Bennett fumbled one of Brady's completions away, and DJ Foster coughed up another. Brady also spent some time in the pocket trying to evade pressure playing behind an offensive line that was often made up of reserves. He left the game with his health, though, which is in all likelihood the primary concern for Patriots fans.
Up-and-down night for the rookie backup: Jacoby Brissett went 13-for-21 for 152 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions while showing a professional skill set. His arm strength was on display for yet another exhibition performance, and he picked up 16 yards on two scrambles, clearly building up speed as he had open room to run. There were times when it seemed as though he could have gotten in and out of the huddle a touch more quickly, and there was one instance -- on a completion to Foster -- where it seemed as though he allowed a defensive back to line up a big hit on the running back. Otherwise it was another night full of teaching moments -- both positive and negative -- for the North Carolina State product.
Injuries to watch: Nate Solder pulled himself from the game in the first quarter as he suffered an apparent hamstring injury. He was replaced by Cameron Fleming as the emergency left tackle, which was interesting to note because backup tackle LaAdrian Waddle has seen his share of reps on the left side this preseason. Other injuries of note were to Tyler Gaffney, Devin Lucien and Keshawn Martin -- all of whom limped off the field. Lucien needed help from Patriots trainers as he came off after taking a late hit from Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich.
Foster shows burst -- again: For the second consecutive week, the undrafted rookie running back showed good burst when he had the football in his hands. He had one fumble, which came after an impressive one-handed catch, that was an obvious blemish, but otherwise he appeared to be on a different plane athletically than those trying to track him down late in the game. His skills as a receiver are obvious: He caught nine of 10 targets for 110 yards. But he looked competent as a running back as well, showing good enough speed to get to the edge and make some yards on his own when there were no clear running lanes up front. Despite the turnover, he helped himself earn serious consideration for a roster spot.
Mingo plays like a monster: Bill Belichick praised Barkevious Mingo for his work ethic since arriving to the Patriots in a trade with the Browns, and that effort behind the scenes already appears to be paying dividends. He had six tackles, one tackle for a loss, two quarterback hits and two forced fumbles. One of his forced fumbles was overturned due to a Patriots penalty, but he flashed the athleticism that made him a top-10 draft pick back in 2013. If he can continue to pick up the Patriots defense, and if Belichick and Matt Patricia can continue to put him in positions to succeed with his speed and instincts, he could end up contributing as a versatile front-seven defender. It was certainly as impressive a debut as Mingo could have hoped for.