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Jimmy Garoppolo starts slow, finishes strong for Pats

Jimmy Garoppolo started slowly and finished in strong fashion for the second straight week.

Although a spry-looking LeGarrette Blount succeeded in moving the chains in the first quarter, Garoppolo couldn't establish a rhythm until he led a picture-perfect two-minute drill just before halftime.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick opted to leave Garoppolo in for the first possession of the third quarter, which featured an impressive seven-play field-goal drive.

Garoppolo finished 16 of 21 for 181 yards and a touchdown, but didn't inspire as much excitement as the numbers might suggest.

Not one to pull off splash throws downfield, Garoppolo too often settled for the safe pass to running backs and tight ends rather than stretching the defense. More problematic, he threw behind his intended target in three key situations, effectively stalling two drives and missing out on a second touchdown pass to tight end A.J. Derby.

It's worth noting that Garoppolo was playing without Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and promising rookie Malcolm Mitchell -- four of the New England's most effective weapons in the aerial attack.

In other words, we're reluctant to draw sweeping conclusions about Garoppolo's ability to emulate Tom Brady's brilliance while leading a high-octane offense during the first four weeks of the regular season.

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