FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady’s offense and the New England Patriots’ defense dominated the Carolina Panthers.
Brady threw for 204 yards and two touchdowns, Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 60-yard field goal and the Patriots shut down Cam Newton and the Panthers 30-7 on Friday night.
The third preseason game for both teams was no contest as the Patriots outgained the Panthers 405-271.
Brady led the Patriots (2-1) to scores on three of his five series and completed 17 of 21 passes. Newton was 8 for 12 for 88 yards and was sacked three times. All five of his possessions ended in punts.
Both quarterbacks left after their first series of the third quarter.
Regulars usually see their most action in the third game, and it was clear that the Panthers (1-2) must get better play from their offense and from a defense that was the second stingiest in the NFL last season.
Coach Ron Rivera would like to limit Newton’s running, despite his skill, and one dash Friday night appeared to stun him. He was tackled after running 7 yards when he couldn’t find a receiver. Trainers went on the field to check on him, and he was replaced by Derek Anderson before returning after one play.
New England had more time to prepare and develop a game plan tailored to Carolina after beating the Philadelphia Eagles 42-35 a week earlier. The Panthers had just four days between last Sunday night’s 28-16 win over the Kansas City Chiefs and their visit to Foxborough.
Brady played the first two series before Ryan Mallett came in for some snaps against the first-string defense. His drive ended with a 47-yard field goal by Gostkowski.
The first of Brady’s two long drives covered 91 yards and ended with a 40-yard touchdown on a pass to Shane Vereen that the back carried for the last 37. Brady completed 4 of 5 passes for 83 yards on the series.
His next drive began at his own 9 with 1:47 left in the half and ended with Gostkowski’s long field goal, 6 yards better than his career long.
In the third quarter, Brady ended an 80-yard march with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Vereen that made it 20-0.
On the next series, Carolina moved from its 20 to the Patriots 7, but Steve Beauharnais intercepted Anderson’s pass and returned it 61 yards to the Carolina 35. That drive ended in a 21-yard field goal by Gostkowski, and the Patriots tacked on another touchdown on Jimmy Garoppolo’s 11-yard pass to Taylor McCuller.
The Panthers finally scored with 1:12 left on Joe Webb’s 3-yard pass to D.C. Jefferson.
NOTES: Patriots LB Jerod Mayo missed his second game, although he was in uniform. TE Rob Gronkowski also sat out as he aims to be ready for the regular season after knee surgery. ... Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart gained 11 yards on four carries after rushing for two touchdowns in his last game.
AP Photo/Stephan Savoia New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen runs to the goal line for a touchdown after catching a pass from quarterback Tom Brady in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Carolina Panthers, Friday.×
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