Saturday, August 16, 2014

Patriots' tailbacks get it done by both air and ground


The New England Patriots got to spreading the ball around Friday night in a 42-35 preseason win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Eleven different Patriots hauled in passes in the game, albeit not all from Brady. Brady finished his stint on the field 8-for-10 for 81 yards and a touchdown. One of his incompletions was an interception by Cary Williams that went all the way back for a score.

The backfield made its mark, as rookie tailbacks Roy Finch, Shane Vereen, James White and fullback James Develin accounted for seven of the offense's 21 receptions. Finch led the way with two receptions for 34 yards, and one of Develin's catches went for a score.

"They all have some different skill sets to allow them to get open in different ways,” Brady said after the game, via “We haven't done a lot of that this year, but I think all the skill guys are going to have to play a big part of our team this year.

"It isn't just going to be one group out there all game. Everyone who is out there is going to have to contribute. So it was great to see all those guys in there making plays. It's just the way it needs to continue to be for us.”

Backup quarterback Ryan Mallett bounced back with a strong showing, going 7-for-11 for 92 yards and a score, and rookie challenger Jimmy Garoppolo pitched in with two touchdowns, going 6-for-12 for 72 yards on the night.

On the ground, the Patriots amassed a whopping 250 yards on 46 carries, led by youngster Jonas Gray's 12 carries for 98 yards. Finch scored with his legs, and even Mallett found the end zone on the ground.

"[T]hey're all running hard and all finding ways to contribute, so they've all got opportunity and it's great competition," Brady said. "It brings out the best in everybody."

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