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Patriots' O missing big plays with Jimmy Garoppolo

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If the preseason opener was Jimmy Garoppolo's audition for the NFL Kickoff game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New England Patriots can't feel any better about their quarterback situation than they were entering training camp.

With the obvious caveat that preseason games offer very little predictive value, Garoppolo's performance in Thursday's 22-11 loss to the Packers was a letdown.

Garoppolo took seven sacks, averaged just 5.3 yards per attempt and had trouble moving the offense into scoring territory.

"I've got a long way to go obviously," Garoppolo said after the game. "Eleven points is not by any means good enough. There's room for improvement."

To be fair, he was playing behind the second- and third-team offensive line and got little help from receiver Josh Boyce, who had been enjoying a promising camp.

The Garoppolo-to-Boyce connection was just 2-of-8 passing for 19 yards. Although Garoppolo misfired on three deep passes, Boyce was equally to blame, failing to come back and fight for the ball.

Garoppolo's nine possessions resulted in a 55-yard Jonas Gray rushing touchdown, a 56-yard field goal, four punts, two failed fourth-down attempts and one interception.

Patriots fans straining to see a bright side will note that Garoppolo completed 18 of 21 passes for 140 yards on throws not intended for Boyce.

On balance, though, the coaching staff had to be hoping for more than three quarters' worth of checkdowns and missed opportunities.

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