Tom Brady didn't play. Neither did Julian Edelman or Logan Mankins. And plenty of defensive starters missed the Patriots' first preseason game too, including Darrelle Revis and Vince Wilfork.
For those reasons and more, the Patriots lost to the Redskins Thursday night in Maryland, 23-6.
And it was downhill from the start, too.
A Nate Solder holding call negated Ryan Mallett's first completion of the game. Two plays later the Pats were punting.
The Redskins, behind Robert Griffin III drove 35 yards on 11 plays and kicked a field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
After another three-and-out by the Patriots, the Redskins, with Kirk Cousins now at quarterback, marched 60 yards on 10 plays when Cousins his Aldrick Robinson for the 10-yard strike. It was Logan Ryan who was fooled on the slant play, and Duron Harmon late to get over.
Mallett started to show some signs of life towards the end of the first quarter and into the second quarter, finding Josh Boyce down the middle for 15 yards and then Brandon LaFell on the right side for 11 yards. But the drive would stall, and again Ryan Allen came on for the punt.
Stephen Gostkowski would miss a 54-yard field goal in the second quarter, but that was the only scoring chance New England would have.
In the second half, Jimmy Garoppolo took over at quarterback – and the rookie impressed in his NFL debut.
Garoppolo hit a couple passes in his opening drive, both to Boyce. He just missed a 40-yard touchdown strike to Brian Tyms, as Tyms bobbled it in the end zone and it was ruled incomplete. With a pass interference penalty called, the Pats had 1st-and-goal from the 4-yard line, but could not convert as Garoppolo’s pass to Boyce in the end zone on 4th down bounced off his hands.
Later in the 4th quarter, Garoppolo connected with Tyms for a 53-yard strike to the Redskins 23-yard line, but on the next play Stephen Houston fumbled and the Redskins recovered.
And yes, it was Garoppolo to Tyms one more time late in the 4th quarter that put the Pats on the board for the first time. Garoppolo connected with Tyms for a 26-yard touchdown strike to make it 23-6. The two-point conversion was failed.
Washington tacked on 10 points in the second half with Colt McCoy in the game.
Mallett finished the game going 5-for-12 for 55 yards. Garoppolo finished 9-for-13 for 157 yards and a TD.