The New England Patriots faced off with the Detroit Lions on Thursday night for their first football game since Super Bowl LIII. The Pats laid a beating on the Lions, winning easily 31-3. However, it’s not the wins and losses that matter in preseason, but rather the performances of the young players. There were certainly some great showings in Week One on both sides off the ball from multiple players, some of which you may not have even heard of yet. Jakobi Meyers was the biggest star, but he was far from the only big player in the preseason opener.
Jakobi Meyers Among Standouts for Patriots in Preseason Opener
There were a ton of positives to take away from the blowout victory, but the performance of undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers tops them all. In a game where 13 different Patriots caught passes, Meyers led the team with six receptions for 69 yards and two touchdowns. He was a big part of the early offensive attack with both quarterbacks at the helm, catching a touchdown from both Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham. Meyers has been one of the surprises of training camp so far, and it looks like he may play himself right onto the 53-man roster.
Speaking of Stidham, the fourth-round pick out of Auburn had a sensational professional debut as well. Taking over for Hoyer halfway through the second quarter with a 14-0 lead, he would go on to lead the Patriots to 17 more points with a great performance. He completed 14 of his 24 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown. He added 16 rushing yards as well.
Stidham did a great job of spreading the football around to a bunch of receivers, and he made a lot of tough throws downfield. He also impressed with his mobility and awareness in the pocket. For the most part, he looked like a seasoned veteran on the field rather than a rookie. If he keeps playing like this throughout the preseason, it will be very difficult not to carry three quarterbacks (Hoyer definitely hasn’t lost the backup spot yet.)
Other solid performances on offense were turned in by undrafted rookie running back Nick Brosette, who ran for 66 yards and a touchdown, newly acquired wide receiver Maurice Harris, who caught three passes including a 14-yard touchdown, and the entire offensive line, who allowed just one sack and five QB hits all night. No matter who was making the plays, everything seemed to click for the Patriots offensively in the game.
As great as the offense was, the Patriots defense may have been even better. They recorded nine sacks and allowed just 93 total yards by the Lions. Two of those sacks came from Derek Rivers, a third-year defensive end who is still fighting for consistent playing time. He was one of many defensive linemen to get a lot of pressure on the Lions quarterbacks tonight.
Rookie defensive end and already fan-favorite Chase Winovich was another one of those guys, recording 1.5 sacks and three tackles in his debut. Ja’Whaun Bentley and Jamie Collins highlighted the great play from the Patriots linebackers, as they recorded sacks on back-to-back plays in the first quarter.
In the secondary, rookie Joejuan Williams and 2018 seventh-round pick Keion Crossen made their presence felt. Williams led the team with five tackles and was aggressive on coverage during his snaps. Crossen also played tight coverage when he got the chance and led the Patriots with two pass deflections.
Overall, it was a great 2019 preseason debut for the Pats, and they should feel really good about their wide assortment of young talent that was on display Thursday night.
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