Morning sports update: Undrafted rookie Ralph Webb calls his 2-TD performance ‘a dream come true’

"I’ve been working my whole life for this."

Ralph Webb
Patriots running back Ralph Webb scores a touchdown against the Redskins during the second half Thursday. –Charles Krupa / AP Photo

The Patriots scored 26 unanswered points to beat the Redskins 26-17 in the preseason opener. Although Mookie Betts homered in the ninth inning to complete his first career cycle, the Blue Jays beat the Red Sox 8-5 on Thursday night.

Ralph Webb on his 2-TD performance in the preseason opener: ‘It’s a dream come true’

In the fourth quarter of the Patriots’ victory on Thursday night, undrafted running back Ralph Webb reached back to grab an under-thrown Brian Hoyer pass, then reached across the goal line for a two-point conversion. The play earned a round of applause from Tom Brady, and what looked to be the beginnings of a smile from Bill Belichick.

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Belichick was more effusive in his praise for the former Vanderbilt Commodore in his post-game comments.

“That’s what he was like at Vanderbilt,” the Patriots head coach said, per NESN. “He ran hard. He was tough. He’s not the biggest guy, but he’s got good strength for his size and he runs hard. He got hit a lot down there. He showed us that in the spring and in training camp. He’s a tough kid that runs with good pad level, he’s got good speed, he catches the ball well. He made a nice catch on the two-point play.”

Webb had 46 yards on 14 carries for New England in the second half, tallying two touchdowns and adding a second two-point conversion against the Washington Redskins defense. The 23-year-old, who left Nashville as the sixth-leading rusher in SEC history, downplayed his play on the difficult catch.

“Just going out there and doing what I’m supposed to do,” Webb said. “Ball is coming my way, I’m supposed to catch it and get in the end zone right there. Just playing to the best of my ability and doing my assignment on the play.”

Mike Gillislee started in the Patriots backfield, compiling 3.1 yards per carry on 14 handoffs. Jeremy Hill made the most of his opportunity, averaging 4.6 yards per carry and capping his night off with a touchdown. For Webb to make the final roster, he’ll have to compete against those two to join James White, Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel on the running back depth chart.

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“It’s a dream come true,” Webb said of his first game in a Patriots uniform. “I’ve been working my whole life for this, to come out here and get a chance to compete. I’m just happy and I’m blessed to be able to be here and say I did it.”

5 takeaways from the Patriots’ preseason-opening win over the Redskins: With Tom Brady on the sidelines, Brian Hoyer struggled to move the chains against Washington’s second-team defense. The Patriots defense also had their difficulties, while running back Jeremy Hill made his case for a legitimate role in New England’s offense. (Boston.com)

Scott Zolak livened up the Patriots’ preseason TV broadcast: Patriots broadcasters Bob Socci and Scott Zolak, usually confined to the radio, got some camera time on Thursday night. Zolak injected some humor into the coverage, including a winking nod to Rob Ninkovich and “the juice.” (Boston.com)

26 thoughts from the Patriots’ preseason-opening victory: Chad Finn has some thoughts on the Patriots’ performance, from the impact it will have on the final roster to the return of a player who’s absence in Super Bowl LII might have cost New England a sixth banner. (Boston.com)

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