Patriots Begin Preseason Slate with Win Over Washington Football Team

Paul Rutherford/USA Today Sports

For the first time since Tom Brady's final game with the Patriots, Gillette Stadium hosted fans in its stands. Those fans were treated to a 22-13 win over the Washington Football Team in both squad's preseason openers. 

Cam Newton started the first two series for the Patriots and finished 4-of-7 for 49 yards, leading the first scoring drive of the game that was capped off by rookie kicker Quinn Nordin. And while Newton looked good in limited action, the story, as you may have predicted, was Mac Jones. 

The Alabama product was handed the keys to the car on New England's third offensive series of the game and played all the way up to the end of the third quarter, going 13-of-19 for 87 yards. Jones showed excellent poise in the pocket, quick decision-making, and had a nice touch on most of his throws, especially one that would have been a touchdown in the first quarter had Kristian Wilkerson not dropped it. 

In all, Jones led two more scoring drives capped off by Nordin field goals and left the game with a 9-7 lead. Both Patriots touchdowns came from electrifying plays by rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson, powering his way in on a 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter. He then ripped off a 91-yard run down the right sideline toward the end of the game to put it out of reach. 

On the defensive side of the ball, the Patriots showed immediate improvement thanks to a couple of really nice plays by the newly acquired Matt Judon. Judon stuffed Washington running back Antonio Gibson and almost intercepted a Taylor Heinecke pass, but gave everyone a scare when he went down with what looked like a leg injury. Judon returned to the game a few plays later. 

The defense also amassed an interception on a tipped pass that was caught by Joejuan Williams, which would up resulting in Stevenson's score. 

However, two long Washington drives resulted in touchdowns, one with eight seconds to go in the first half, and then again with just under a minute and a half in the fourth quarter to bring them within two points. 

It looked as if Washington had tied it on what was initially a successful two-point conversion, but the call was overturned after the Washington receiver bobbled the football as he was going out of bounds. 

The Patriots' next preseason game will be Aug. 19 in Philadelphia against the Eagles. 

Other observations: 
The Patriots ran the "boring stuff" with Cam Newton, but I thought he looked good in limited action. Wouldn't put the first drive solely on him, but he has to be better at protecting the football. 

As stated above, Mac Jones looked really good. He seems to really have a grasp of the offense, even if it was just the old dink-and-dunk, RPO-type stuff. 

I loved the Matt Judon signing the second the Patriots made it, and while he didn't play long, I think he's going to be a fan favorite. 

JJ Taylor has a spot on this team. The running back group is pretty deep, though. Sony Michel, so far, looks like the odd man out, as he was still playing in the third
quarter. That's not something you want to see if you're a veteran like him. 

Josh Uche also stood out, as he was used in coverage and on the edge and performed well in both roles. Methinks there's a lot more to come from him. 

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