Quick-hit thoughts after 3rd quarter

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Quick-hit thoughts after the third quarter of the Patriots’ preseason finale against the Giants:

Botched screen pass leads to interception. After Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw the team’s first interception of the preseason in the first quarter, backup Brian Hoyer threw the second on a botched screen attempt to Laurence Maroney. The screen didn’t develop as desired, and that was a throw that Hoyer would like to have back as there was too much traffic in the area.

Rob Ninkovich quick off the edge. The five-year veteran showed quickness coming off the defensive right edge to register a sack of Giants backup quarterback Rhett Bomar. Ninkovich also showed the ability to shed a block and tackle when he tackled running back D.J. Ware for a loss of one yard. Ninkovich, who did miss one tackle, looked like the team’s best defensive player.

Chance to look at third-string offensive tackles. The Patriots went to their third-unit offensive line, which provided a chance to look at 2009 fifth-round pick George Bussey and 2010 seventh-round pick Thomas Welch. The line had veteran Eric Ghiaciuc at left guard, Ryan Wendell at center and Rich Ohrnberger at right guard.

Rod Owens makes case for practice squad spot. The rookie receiver had a 67-yard catch-and-run from Brian Hoyer to help the team advance to the goal-line. That was the longest play of the game.