Three games in 10 days forced Bill Belichick to change his normal preseason routine. Belichick sat twenty players, including Tom Brady who left Gillette stadium before the game even started. It seemed like a long night was in store, but the underlings showed up to play.
Ryan Mallet got the start at quarterback, and with an offensive line that had a lot of trouble blocking the dangerous defensive line, Mallet did some good things (10 for 20, 105 yards, 1 TD). Mallet showed command of the offense, and was able to lead them on a scoring drive.
The offensive line struggled as (left to right) Nate Solder, Nick McDonald, Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly, and Marcus Cannon started the game. Mallet was under constant pressure, having to scramble or get rid of the ball quickly. The Josh McDaniels’ effect was clear as the screen game that seemed to find the back seat with Bill O’Brien, was back.
Deion Branch made a strong case to make the team, getting the starting nod opposite Donte Stallworth,...