After a shaky first half for much of the starting offense and defense, the New England Patriots came back to defeat the Washington Redskins by a 26-17 final in the preseason opener at Gillette Stadium.
The Redskins got the first score of the game in the first quarter, with Colt McCoy under center. They marched right down the field, finishing with a receiving touchdown for running back Byron Marshall. Dont'a Hightower pressured McCoy with a bull rush off the left edge, but the QB escaped and hit Marshall and the back did the rest, beating Kyle Van Noy down the right sideline for the score. The 'Skins later settled for a field goal to make it 10-0 after the first quarter.
With just over six minutes left in the second quarter, the Redskins struck again on offense, starting with a big 57-yard catch-and-run by Cam Sims. He beat a pair of tackles to get down by the goal line, where Maurice Harris finished it off for the touchdown.
Offensively, the Patriots had a rough go of it in the first half, before battling back in the second half. Brian Hoyer played most of the game and went 16-for-23 for 144 yards overall, posting an 86.1 passer rating. Particularly impressive was running back Jeremy Hill when given the opportunity. He rushed 11 times for 51 yards, including a touchdown to finish off a drive that chewed 10:16 off the clock to start the third.
In the fourth quarter, the Patriots drove down the field for 85 yards to score another touchdown. This time, it was undrafted rookie running back Ralph Webb who breezed into the end zone for an easy score, which he followed up with a two-point conversion to put the Patriots up 18-17.
A fumbled exchange between QB Danny Etling and RB Mike Gillislee gave the ball back to the Redskins. But Washington gave it right back with a fumble recovered by Geneo Grissom, who ran it all the way back to the 1-yard line. Webb punched it in for his second TD of the game and converted another two-pointer to make it 26-17, and that was all she wrote.
The Patriots are off Friday and likely on Saturday, too, before getting back to practice on Sunday.
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].