New England came up short for the second straight week, dropping the all-important third preseason game to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 30-28, on Friday night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. The Patriots fell to 1-2 overall through three games this preseason.
Tom Brady, who sat on the sidelines for all of the Patriots' Week 2 preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday, played into the third quarter and improved with time, finishing with 127 passing yards on 13-of-20 passing and had one touchdown and an interception. Ryan Mallett completed 7-of-13 passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns.
Stevan Ridley had another impressive outing in the ground game, rushing for a game-high 87 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries. Jeff Demps, the Olympic sprinter and former Florida Gators running back, made his Patriots debut and rushed for 41 yards on three carries and saw some time on special teams. Brandon Bolden also rushed for 20 yards.
Aaron Hernandez led all Pats receivers with five catches for 52 yards. Rob Gronkowski had two catches for 24 yards and Brandon Lloyd had one reception for 12 yards.
Five defenders had five tackles for the Pats and Marquice Cole deflected two passes.
Josh Freeman completed 10-of-19 passes for 102 yards and Dan Orlovsky completed 6-of-7 passes for 53 yards and one touchdown. Doug Martin rushed for 53 yards on 13 carries and former San Diego Chargers star wideout Vincent Jackson recorded 49 yards on three catches. Adam Hayward and Keith Tandy had seven tackles apiece for the Bucs.
New England closes out the preseason against the New York Giants next Wednesday.