Trailing by two late in the fourth quarter and backed up inside their own one-yard line, Jarrett Stidham and the New England Patriots offense answered the call.
The rookie quarterback out of Auburn led an 11-play, 99-yard drive spanning seven minutes and ending with a Damoun Patterson touchdown to give the Patriots a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
It really was a tale of two halves for the Patriots, who found it difficult to move the ball on offense in the opening half-hour but were more than able to drive downfield in the second stanza.
Stidham was the main reason behind the comeback, finishing 14 for 19 with 193 yards. He also showed good mobility in extending drives, rushing thrice for 18 yards.
First Half Struggles
The Patriots did not use many of its starters in the secondary and paid the price against the Titans’ top receiving options. Tight end Delanie Walker, who missed all of last season to injury, opened the scoring on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Mariota, who ran in the ensuing two-point conversion.
But as New England settled in, they established a strong running game behind Damien Harris. The rookie had 41 yards on just seven carries during the opening half, including a 20-yard sprint to set up the Patriots in the red zone.
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Two plays later, it was Brandon Bolden who finished the job with a touchdown. Jakobi Meyers caught the two-point pass for the tie.
But Tennessee would answer with Ryan Tannehill entering the game. The former Miami Dolphins’ quarterback led a six-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Jeremy McNichols found space in the flat as the Patriots’ defense failed to cover him out of the backfield. It resulted in an easy catch-and-run and an acrobatic flip into the endzone.
While the Titans defense held New England to under 125 yards in the opening half, they were rewarded with a safety after a penalty by Lance Kendricks in the endzone.
Second Half Surge
Kendricks made up for it with a long catch-and-run himself on the Patriots’ opening drive of the second half to put New England deep in Tennessee territory. He was one of 12 Patriots to record a catch on the night.
The Patriots came out strong in the second half, scoring on the opening drive courtesy of a Nick Brossette one-yard touchdown run.
New England even had a chance to pull ahead, but a holding penalty on Hjalte Froholdt resulted in a longer field goal which Stephen Gostkowski shanked.
Defensively, the Patriots answered the bell. New England limited Tennessee to just 75 yards of total offense in the second half and only three total drives.
- Stephen Gostkowski missed his second field goal in as many games
- Injuries to defensive ends Shilique Calhoun and Derek Rivers have altered the competition for a roster spot at defensive end. Chase Winovich took advantage of an extended look recording six tackles and two QB Hits and Trent Harris had a trio of tackles as well.
- Ryan Allen capped a strong week with a pair of lofty punts, averaging 50.5 yards with a long of 57 yards. Jake Bailey punted once for 54 yards and had a free kick after a safety go 67 yards. Stephen Gostkowski handled the kickoffs this week but missed another field goal from 40 yards.
- Isaiah Wynn made his preseason debut at left tackle and saw limited action.
- Penalties were an issue once again for the Patriots, flagged 12 times for 99 yards.
- Jakobi Meyers continued to prove he belongs on the final roster, catching six passes on six targets for 82 yards and a two-point conversion.
- Damien Harris had a strong night as well, rushing 14 times for 80 yards.
- Calvin Munson was a surprise contributor for New England, recording eight tackles, five solo.
- Byron Cowart recorded an early sack and finished with two tackles.