The New England Patriots lost to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night in Gillette Stadium. The game was full of poor play, poor execution and opportunity for backups to make a name for themselves, good or bad. Here are our game balls and goats for the preseason opener, you are welcome to share your own.
It has been a tradition here at Patriots Insider to offer up our game analysis in the form of handing out Game Balls (Good things) and Goats (Bad things) to players from the game. Sometimes there are not awards to hand out (Limit 3) to players for either category, so Honorable Mentions are included.
New England Patriots 15 - Baltimore Ravens 16
Thursday, August 8, 2008 (Gillette Stadium)
Richard Seymour: Seymour has talked about showing up in 2008 because of improved health. The Seymour of old would occupy multiple blockers, cause havoc on opponent's blocking schemes and hold steady in his duty even when not accumulating sacks. Seymour did all three Thursday night. He looks like he's getting into the swing of things, abusing the single assignment blocking schemes to cause pressure on Kyle Boller.
Jerod Mayo: Started with the first team defense, and for good reason. Mayo's ability to quickly read a play, and to fill a hole against the run were illustrated on the first few possessions. One play a short pass to the right, Mayo flew in from across the field to turn the runner back inside where help from Richard Seymour and crew snuffed out a big gain opportunity. On another play Mayo filled the hole hitting Ray Rice so hard he knocked Rice's helmet off. Mayo was constantly around the ball when he wasn't making plays himself. Though officially he only had 3 tackles, he was in on a lot more.
Shawn Crable: A half sack, a stuffed run and an acrobatic interception. What else do you want the guy to do in his first game as a pro? Crable called out for getting caught inside during camp the past week when his responsibility was to man the outside. He improved significantly, taking on bocks at the point of attack, and not getting lost in traffic.
Kyle Boller: Although he threw an interception to Crable, Boller led all quarterbacks by completing 11 of 15 attempts for 102 yards. His first drive shredded the Patriots first team defense resulting in the first score of the game.
Pierre Woods: After spending much of the game on the field, Woods showed up numerous times in the right spot. Holding firm on running plays, putting pressure on the quarterback in passing downs, Woods is well on his way to claiming a roster spot.
Lewis Sanders: Two nice pass breakups, one covering the speedy Yamon Figures on a deep post, and a special teams tackle put Sanders in the category of solid contributor. "He's always showing up one or two plays a practice" Belichick said of Sanders earlier this week. Indeed he is.
Heath Evans: The boy continues to "bring it." Solid blocking performance, a nice reception in the flat to extend a drive, Evans showed up in a good way.
Matt Cassel: Bad luck, a bad decision and working without Randy Moss or Wes Welker put a damper on Cassel's performance. Cassel may have all the skills to get the job done, but his performance has to be downgraded - however unfairly that may be.
Offensive Line: There were a few culprits missing assignments: Billy Yates (Penalty and bad blocking), Nick Kaczur (getting beat around the outside), Wesley Britt (holding), a False Start, another holding penalty and general malaise in getting the team going. Dante Scarnecchia is going to have plenty of ammunition this week at practice.
Laurence Maroney: Six carries for 6 yards? It doesn't matter that the line didn't give him big holes to run through, that just isn't getting the job done. No wonder the team signed Jordan (19 carries for 76 yards and a TD).
Matt Gutierrez and Kevin O'Connell: Mobile quarterbacks were necessary in this game because of the offensive line, but these QBs need to put the ball into better situations. A lob pass by one and a bad pass by the other resulted in interceptions for each of them.