Brian Hoyer did his best to make New England forget about Tom Brady, completing 15-of-21 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown as the New England Patriots stomped the Jacksonville Jaguars, 47-12, in the preseason opener for both teams on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.
Hoyer looked excellent in the Pats first game post-lockout, finding his target 71 percent of the time. Hoyer's favorite target of the day was second-year receiver Taylor Price, who had five catches for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Ryan Mallet was strong in his debut as well, completing 12-of-19 passes for 164 yards and one touchdown. Stevan Ridley scored three touchdowns - two on the ground and one in the air - and ran for 64 yards in the win. Richard Medlin rushed for two touchdowns and finished with 54 rushing yards on 14 carries.
Brandon Meriweather, Darius Butler and Dane Fletcher lead the Pats on defense, with Meriweather recording five tackles (one solo), Butler recording five (five solo) and Fletcher making five tackles (four solo). Darryl RIchard had two sacks and Jermaine Cunningham recorded one sack.
Blaine Gabbert started the game at quarterback for Jacksonville and finished with 85 passing yards on 9-of-16 completions. Todd Bouman completed 2-of-10 passes for 35 yards and an interception in place of Gabbert.
New England dominated the ground game, rushing for 141 yards and four touchdowns, and had 335 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Jacksonville had 98 rushing yards and 95 passing yards as a team in the loss.
The Pats got off to a rough start, as the Jaguars put up two field goals to open the scoring - a 41-yard strike from Josh Scobee with 9:47 left in the first quarter and a 40-yard field goal from Sam Swank with 8:43 left in the opening quarter.
On the Patriots' first play from scrimmage, Hoyer completed a short pass to Aaron Hernandez, who immediately fumbled the ball and turned it over, leading to the Jaguars' second field goal.
While the Patriots would struggle with drops and special teams miscues for most of the first half, they would survive and eventually build a solid lead over their counterparts.
Stevan Ridley capped off am eight-play, 49 yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run - the first touchdown of the preseason for the Pats - with 1:32 to go in the first quarter, giving New England a 7-6 lead after the extra point.
Hoyer connected with Price early in the second, finding the young wideout for an 11-yard touchdown pass. New England botched the extra point attempt, but the Patriots took a 13-6 lead.
Scobee answered with his second field goal of the game, this time from 29-yards out, with 12:11 to go as the Jags cut their deficit to 13-9. However, a pair of field goals from Stephen Gostkowski - a 46-yarder with 9:40 left and a 43-yard strike as time expired in the first half, to give New England a 19-9 edge heading into halftime.
Ryan Mallet entered the scene in the second half and didn't miss a beat, finding Taylor Price for a 50-yard gain down the sideline, ultimately setting up a one-yard touchdown run for Ridley, which put the Pats up 26-9.
Ridley found the end zone for the third time in the game with 5:25 left in the third after Mallet found him for a 16-yard touchdown pass, putting the Pats up 33-9.
Scobee's 31-yard field goal with 14:51 left in the game put the Jaguars into the double-digits in the scoring column, but it was far too late for Jacksonville to mount a comeback of any sort.
Richard Medlin tacked on six more points for the Patriots with 10:23 left, scoring on a two-yard touchdown run to put the Patriots up 40-12. Medlin added another score on another two-yard TD run with 7:39 left in the contest.
New England heads to Raymond James Stadium to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2 of the 2011 NFL Preseason on Thursday, August 18 at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
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