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Sunday, August 29, 2004 

Road Improvement

After last week's debacle, New England had nowhere to go but up. They lost in Carolina last night to the Panthers 20-17, but the final score was decided by the third-stringers in the fourth quarter. While the Patriots cost themselves scoring chances with a ridiculous number of penalties (15 for 128 yards), I was glad to the see the offensive and defensive lines play better. Tom Brady was sacked for a big loss by Julius Peppers to end the first drive of the game, but had plenty of time to throw for most part. He completed his first 6 passes (7 if you count the bomb to Bethel Johnson that was wiped out by a Corey Dillion holding penalty) and looked very sharp overall except for one interception. Brady spread the ball around, as David Patten continued his strong preseason with 6 catches, rookie TE Benjamin Watson added 6 more including a TD, and Deion Branch caught 5.

While the defensive line did not have to face the injured Stephen Davis (too bad, would have been a better test), they held their own against DeShaun Foster. It was nice to see the Panthers go three and out on their first two possessions while the Patriots controled the clock.

The first cut-down day is Tuesday, then a quick turnaround for the last preseason game against Jacksonville on Thursday, followed by a week off before the opener against Indy.

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