Likely securing his spot as the New England Patriots‘ backup quarterback job, rookie signal-caller Jarrett Stidham completed 15-of-19 passes for 134 yards in the team’s 10-3 win over the Carolina Panthers.
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Michael Bennett had a big first half, showing he is still capable of being an effective player inside. He notched a sack and defeated multiple run and pass blocks.
David Parry also flashed strong inside play in the third quarter. He registered a QB hit while forcing a holding penalty in the process and defeated another pass block quickly off the snap on a quick pass.
The Patriots’ first-string offensive line stymied the Panthers’ pass rush. The line consistently created clean pockets for Tom Brady to step up into, and being kept clean allowed him to look sharp hitting his receivers down the field.
Rookie Jakobi Meyers had a roller coaster of a night. He started his night by dropping a pass and committing a penalty. However, once the rocky start wore off, he was the Patriots’ go-to target. He and Stidham developed quite the connection as the engine for the Patriots’ offense on Thursday.
Jarrett Stidham stole the show, and undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers started to catch on as the game wore on. Undrafted LSU running back Nick Brossette also had a strong outing, as he had multiple runs where he added above expectation his with elusiveness and contact balance.
It was a rough day for the Carolina quarterbacks. Cam Newton struggled to move the ball in the first half before leaving with an apparent foot injury, and rookie Will Grier also struggled to move the ball down the field. Grier’s accuracy was just a bit off on his intermediate and downfield throws, and he was unable to use his legs effectively to escape pressure.
The centers also struggled Thursday night, as they were continually stood up and controlled at the line of scrimmage. Multiple quarterback pressures and run stops were a result of poor play at center, as both the starter (Matt Paradis) and backup (Parker Collins) had rough nights.
Brian Burns showed his pass-rushing prowess Thursday. His burst helped him quickly beat tackles for sacks, one of which led to a fumble and a fumble recovery for the Panthers.
Veteran Kawann Short had a disappointing night and struggled to maintain his gap in run defense. He couldn’t generate much pass-rush either and had a difficult time figuring out a particularly stout Patriots’ offensive line.
As mentioned above, Brian Burns had a strong outing against New England. The former Florida State phenom showed off some great pass-rushing skills attacking Pats signal-callers off the edge. Rookie undrafted free agent linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk didn’t have the night Burns had, earning negative marks in run defense and coverage on the night. Before getting carted off the field, Greg Little put together a strong performance, as he appeared stout in pass protection and had multiple positive blocks in the run game.
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