by Scott Benson, Patriots Daily Staff

August 21, 2009

So I had this idea the other day.

“You know what would be kind of a fun post? After every game, PD can award a game ball to the best Patriots player that week. That won’t be hard, will it? Picking one guy who played well?  I should give it a try after Thursday’s game with the Bengals.”

Sigh. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Later, not so much.

Yet amid the rubble and destruction of some awfully bad, inefficient, insufficient football in the Patriots’ second pre-season game last night, one sliver of daylight appeared.

As the rest of his teammates ran around with their knees tied together, rookie cornerback Darius Butler prevailed. Early on, Butler’s blanket coverage in the left flat gave him position to reach in and knock away a seemingly sure third-down completion in Pats territory. Later, he combined with lineman Steve Williams to stunt another Cincinnati drive with a sack of JT O’Sullivan, just as the Bengals had crossed midfield.

In the third, his Ben Watson-like cross-country take down of Bengals back DeDe Dorsey – off the Pats’ left side to a depressingly-easy 45 yard sprint into open territory – saved a touchdown and set up an eventual New England red zone rejection. And then finally, when fellow rookie Pat Chung whiffed on a punt return try inside the Pats 20, it was Butler’s alert (and well executed) fumble recovery that allowed New England to retain possession and keep the deficit to just one point.

Granted, he didn’t have a lot of competition in a game best forgotten, but if there was any wheat in Thursday night’s chaff, it was Darius Butler, the first winner of the PD Game Ball.

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