By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Patriots were supposed to play their preseason opener Thursday night, hosting the Detroit Lions. Obviously, because of COVID-19, that didn't happen. But what if it did?
What would we be talking about post game? Cam Newton for sure. Which running back stepped up in Sony Michel's absence? How did the defensive front look after losing so many pieces in the offseason?
The day just couldn't pass with no football. So I did what everybody has done when they're sports-starved during quarantine. I turned on my Xbox.
The result was a seven-minute quarter live simulation of what would have been the Patriots first preseason game (and a huge thank you to everybody who joined me and Evan Lazar of CLNS Media on the call).
Does anything that happened during that game give us a sliver of insight into what the 2020 Patriots will look like? No. Absolutely not. But let's pretend for a second it does.
Here's the Cam Newton/N'Keal Harry touchdown by the way. Wish I still had my call, but I didn't learn you could save Twitch streams until after we were done pic.twitter.com/ha2LTdPiYC
We learned that Cam Newton is miles ahead of Jarrett Stidham, and should have the starting job pretty locked up. We learned that Damien Harris looks poised for a breakout year two. And we learned than the Patriots two best draft picks may end up being sixth-round linebacker Cassh Maluia and fifth-round kicker Justin Rohrwasser. At least, those would have been my three biggest takeaways.
Upset you missed the closest thing we've had to Patriots game action in eight months? Then make sure to catch next week's game on my Twitch channel (I can't believe I'm a Twitch streamer now). The Patriots were scheduled to, and will virtually host Cam Newton's former team, the Carolina Panthers, next Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
A huge thank you again to everybody who joined, and I hope you all enjoyed this little experiment. I'll leave you with the Patriots half of the box score of Thursday night's game.
FINAL (7 minute quarters)
Cam Newton: 11/16, 173 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Jarrett Stidham: 5/8, 35 yards, TD
Damien Harris: 9 carries, 63 yards
Rex Burkhead: 6 carries, 28 yards, TD
J.J. Taylor: 2 carries, 3 yards
James White: 1 carry, 2 yards
Jarrett Stidham: 2 carries, -2 yards
Devin Asiasi: 4 catches, 49 yards
James White: 3 catches, 26 yards
Dalton Keene: 2 catches, 16 yards
N’Keal Harry: 1 catch, 79 yards, TD
Jeff Thomas: 1 catch, 16 yards
Gunner Olszewski: 1 catch, 9 yards
Mohamed Sanu: 1 catch, 8 yards
Jakobi Meyers: 1 catch, 4 yards, TD
J.J. Taylor: 1 catch, 2 yards
Julian Edelman: 1 catch, -1 yard
Sacks allowed: 0
Cassh Maluia: 6
Ja’Whaun Bentley: 5
Lawrence Guy: 4
Adrian Phillips: 3
Myles Bryant: 3
Kyle Dugger: 3
Beau Allen: 3
Jason McCourty: 3
Brandon Copeland: 2
Josh Uche 1
Beau Allen: 1
Lawrence Guy: 1
Cassh Maluia: 1
Beau Allen: 1
John Simon: 1
Jonathan Jones: 1
Jason McCourty: 1
Justin Rohrwasser 2/2 (51, 46 yards), 3/3 PAT
Jake Bailey: 3 punts, 112 yards, 0 I20, 1 touchback
Total yards: 298
Passing yards: 204
Rushing yards: 94
3rd downs: 5/9
Total yards: 293
Passing yards: 172
Rushing yards: 121
3rd downs: 2/8
Q1: Burkhead 2 yard run
Q1: Swift 58 yard run
Q2: Harry 79 yards from Newton
Q2: Prater, 22 yard FG
Q2: Rohrwasser, 46 yard FG
Q3: Rohrwasser, 51 yard FG
Q4: Meyers 4 yards from Stidham
Q4: Scarborough 2 yards from Chase Daniel