The New England Patriots picked up a 30-28 win over the Detroit Lions on Friday night, but wins and losses don't matter much this time of year. It's about the play on the field, competing for playing time and making sure everyone is sharp for the regular season - especially in the third preseason game, which is the "dress rehearsal" for the regular season. Here are the biggest takeaways from the third preseason game:
1) Tom Brady is in midseason form
Brady saw his first extensive action in quite some time tonight, but it looked like he was already in midseason form. He guided New England's first-team offense to touchdowns on each of their first three drives and 24 points in the first quarter - and was incredibly impressive doing so.
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In total, Brady finished 12/15 passing for 174 yards and those two touchdowns. He did throw an uncharacteristic interception as well, but overall, there didn't appear to be any rust.
2) Julian Edelman's knee injury is cause for concern
Injuries are the worst part of the preseason, and the Patriots may have caught a very bad break. Star wideout Julian Edelman suffered a knee injury on this play early in the first quarter.
He was able to limp off the field before he was later carted to the locker room. The Patriots will conduct further tests to determine the full extent of the injury.
Edelman was a huge focal point before the injury, recording three catches for 52 yards on the two opening drives of the game. Obviously, New England's offense is much better with him healthy.
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3) Will we see a four-back rotation?
Rex Burkhead was the star of New England's second preseason game, but sat out of this game due to an undisclosed injury. Dion Lewis, James White and Mike Gillislee all saw time with the first-team offense during the first half. It didn't seem likely that the Patriots would keep all four of those guys on the roster with second-year man D.J. Foster, but all of them have continued to prove their worth. New England still may not keep all of them, but it's looking more and more likely.