Patriots defense stifles New York in exhibition

Posted: Friday, August 08, 2003

FOXBORO, Mass. Newcomer Rosevelt Colvin set the tone by forcing a fumble on his second play with the New England Patriots and their defense never let up. The Patriots had seven sacks and forced four turnovers, opening their exhibition season with a 26-6 victory over the New York Giants on a rainy Thursday night.

''He's been kind of terrorizing our offense all training camp,'' New England quarterback Tom Brady said. ''He's a very savvy football player.''

Colvin, a linebacker, was one of four free agents signed after last season to make an impact. Cornerback Tyrone Poole had an interception, safety Rodney Harrison had five tackles in the first quarter and fullback Fred McCrary caught a touchdown pass.

''It was a fun experience. These guys play with a lot of emotion,'' Harrison said.

Colvin and Poole produced first-quarter turnovers that led to 10 points, and McCrary's 6-yard reception in the third quarter gave New England a 20-6 lead.

Nose tackle Dan Klecko, drafted in the fourth round out of Temple, had 2 1/2 sacks. His father, former New York Jets defensive lineman Joe Klecko, attended the game.

''It's tough to play QB when you're under heat and those (Giants) QBs were,'' Brady said.

The Giants played their first game since last year's first round of the playoffs when they blew a 24-point lead in the last 20 minutes and lost to San Francisco 39-38. On the final play, Trey Junkin's second poor long snap ruined a field goal attempt by Matt Bryant.

The Giants appear to have an improved offense although it didn't show as first-stringers played only the first quarter.

Kerry Collins went 6-for-10 for 56 yards and an interception, Tiki Barker rushed eight times for 10 yards and tight end Jeremy Shockey had one catch for seven yards.

''Everyone has made a big deal about our offense being good,'' Collins said. ''None of that really matters until you put it all together on the field.''

The Patriots, eliminated from playoff contention on the last day of the regular season, had one of the NFL's worst rushing defenses.

So they concentrated on defensive players in free agency, signing Colvin from Chicago and Poole from Denver. From San Diego, they added McCrary and Harrison.

Colvin forced a fumble by Barber, and Ted Johnson recovered on the New York 29-yard line.

Two plays later, Brady threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Troy Brown.

Later in the quarter, Poole intercepted a pass by Collins intended for Shockey and returned it 11 yards to the Giants 10. That led to the first of Adam Vinatieri's four field goals, a 25-yarder.

''I am surprised at the amount of mistakes we made and I'll carry the burden for that,'' Giants coach Jim Fassel said. ''I'm very concerned with the way our offensive line played.''

Mike Hollis, competing with Bryant for New York's placekicking job, kicked a 29-yarder early in the second quarter, but Vinatieri made it 13-3 with a 39-yarder just over two minutes later.

Bryant cut it to 13-6 at halftime with a 34-yard field goal 3:20 before intermission.

Brady was 3-of-4 for 25 yards before Damon Huard took over for the first possession of the second quarter. Rohan Davey replaced Huard late in the quarter and threw the scoring pass to McCrary with 3:43 left in the third.

Vinatieri added field goals of 24 and 46 yards in the fourth quarter.

Giants defensive tackle Keith Hamilton played the first quarter after missing the last 10 games last season after tearing his right Achilles' tendon.

Neither team showed much of its offensive or defensive tactics, especially because they face each other on Oct. 12 in Foxboro. In their exhibition opener last year, the Patriots lost to the Giants 22-19 at the Meadowlands.

Notes:The Giants completed 16 passes to 14 receivers. ... All six field goal attempts were successful. ... The Patriots, one of the worst rushing teams last year, ran for a respectable 108 yards.

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