Ryan L. Fox
After a 2-week layoff from their last game, the New England Patriots were back in action. This time around, they were on the road down in the City of Brotherly Love to take on an opponent that has scarred some Pats fans after their giant debacle in Super Bowl LII, the Philadelphia Eagles. Dubbed as a Super Bowl rematch, many Pats fans tuned in for some revenge.
On a cold and mildly windy night down at Lincoln Financial Field, the two teams squared off. Unlike the Super Bowl match up 2 years ago in Minneapolis, this was more of a defensive battle instead of a shootout.
The Eagles began the game with the ball, letting the opening kickoff go into the back of the endzone.
Eagles QB Carson Wentz led the offense onto the field as he opened the game up with a deep bomb down the field to RB Boston Scott. However, Patriots CB Jason McCourty tackled Scott to draw the big pass interference penalty to give the Eagles 1st down on the New England 26. After a 7-yard run by RB Mike Sanders, it set up 2nd and short in the New England 19. However, a false start by LT Jason Peters backed them up to the New England 24 as the Eagles offense stalled. K Jake Elliot trotted on and booted a 42-yard field goal to give the Eagles an early 3-0 lead with 13:38 left in the quarter.
The Patriots got the ensuing kickoff as they began their first possession of the game on their own 25. QB Tom Brady found RB Sony Michel for a quick screen pass as the running back took 12 yards to the New England 37. Michel bowled his way up the middle for 3 yards on the ensuing play but then the Patriots offense stalled, and they were forced to punt.
The two teams the traded punts with one another as the Eagles then got the ball deep on their own 5-yard line.
From there, Wentz lead the Eagles offense down the field. The Eagles offense was able to easily move the ball on the Patriots defense, barely getting into any 3rd down situations. The Eagles were able to keep the ball for the remainder of the 1st quarter and into the 2nd quarter.
When the 2nd quarter began, the Eagles had the ball on the New England 19. From there, there got all the way down to the New England 5. On 3rd and goal from the 5, Wentz dropped back as he found TE Dallas Goedert over the middle for a touchdown. But Patriots CB Johnathan Jones seemingly wrestled away the ball for the interception. But upon further review, it was determined that Goedert was able to secure the ball and score before Jones ripped it away from him. Elliot booted the PAT through as the Eagles got the 10-0 lead with a little over 12 and half minutes left in the quarter.
Needing a score before the game got away, the Patriots got the ball as RB/KR Brandon Bolden returned the kickoff to the New England 24. After an incompletion on 1st down, Brady found WR Julian Edelman for a 12-yard pass to the 36. After another 1st down incompletion, Brady found rookie WR N’kaal Harry for his first career reception for 11 yards to the New England 47. Two plays later, Brady found TE Benjamin Watson for a 22-yard pass down to the Philadelphia 31 to keep the drive alive.
Two plays later, a pass interference on Eagles CB Avonte Maddox gave the Patriots a 1st down at the Philadelphia 20. But the Eagles defense was able to hold as the Patriots had to settle for a 35-yard field goal attempt by K Nick Folk. Folk booted the ball through the uprights to help the Patriots cut into the Eagles lead 10-3 with 8:38 left in the quarter.
After forcing an Eagles punt, the Patriots got the ball back in on the Philadelphia 48. Like on the previous possession, the Patriots were able to drive down the field against the Eagles defense. They got all the way down to the Philadelphia 4 and were primed to score. However on 1st and goal, Brady’s pass to WR Mohammed Sanu was nearly picked off by Eagles S Rodney McLeod Jr. Then on 2nd down, Edelman dropped a pass that would have been a touchdown. After an incompletion to RB James White, the Patriots had to settle for a field goal. Folk booted the 22-yard attempt through the uprights to make it 10-6 with a little 3 and a half minutes remaining in the quarter.
The Eagles got the ball back as Scott brought the kickoff back to the Philadelphia 28. After a 4-yard run by Sanders to the 32, the Eagles were faced with 2nd and 6. As Wentz dropped back to pass, he was pressured and ultimately sacked by Patriots DT Danny Shelton. The ball ended up coming out as Patriots DT Lawrence Guy recovered the ball at the Philadelphia 22.
But the Patriots offense could only muster 1 yard over the next 3 plays. Folk came on and booted a 39-yard field goal to make it 10-9 with 1:44 left in the quarter.
The Eagles tried to get one last score before the end of the half but were forced to punt to the New England 17. Brady simply kneeled down as both teams went into their locker rooms for halftime.
When the 2nd half began, the Patriots started off with the ball.
Bolden took the kickoff to his own 16 where the offense took to the field. The Patriots opened up with an end around run to Sanu for 8 yards to the New England 24 to start off the drive. Then the Patriots went into their No Huddle offense for the next few plays, including a 30-yard dump pass to RB Rex Burkhead all the way down to the Philadelphia 30. The Patriots were able to get all the way down to the Philadelphia 15 where on 3rd and 11, they resorted to some trickery.
Brady first threw the ball back to Edelman, who then looked to pass the ball himself. He was able to find WR Phillip Dorsett all alone in the endzone for the score. The Patriots elected to go for the 2-pt conversion as White bowled his way over the goal line to give the Patriots a 17-10 lead with 10:49 left in the quarter. Unfortunately for the Patriots, Dorsett suffered a head injury on the play and could not play for the remainder of the game.
The two teams then began to exchange punts with one another for the remainder of the 3rd quarter and not the early goings of the 4th quarter. Both teams’ defenses were able to stymie the opposition’s offense.
With time running down, the Eagles offense came onto the field with the ball on their own 6 and 4:07 left in the game. Wentz opened the drive up with a 29-yard pass to WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside to the Philadelphia 35. The Eagles offense kept getting faced with multiple 3rd and long on the drive, able to convert with long passes down the field. The Eagles got down to the New England 26 as Wentz threw 3 straight incompletions. Then on 4th and 10, Wentz had WR Nelson Agholor in the back of the endzone for what would have been the game tying touchdown. Instead, the ball trickled off his fingers and fell incomplete.
After forcing the Patriots to punt, the Eagles had one more chance to get a score with 34 seconds left in the game. However, Wentz’s Hail Mary pass fell harmlessly to the ground at around the New England 15, well short of the endzone to give the Patriots the 17-10 victory
It was an ugly win against an ugly opponent down in an ugly city. Nevertheless, the Patriots showed that they didn’t need a high-power offense to blast opponents away. Rather, just a tough, stout defense and good special teams can get the job done.
Patriot Statistical Standouts
WR Julian Edelman: 1-for-1 for 15 yards and 1 TD for a QB rating of 158.3, 5catches (on 10 targets) for 53 yards
K Nick Folk: 3-for-3 on Field Goals, 9 total points
P Jake Bailey: 8 punts for 381 (47.6 yard per punt), 6 punts inside the 20
LB Kyle Van Noy: 3 tackles (3 solo, 0 assists), 1.0 sacks
DT Danny Shelton: 6 tackles (6 solo, 0 assist), 1.0 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Numbers! Numbers! Numbers!
.800 – The winning percentage of the Patriots under Coach Bill Belichick in games coming out of the bye week (16-4)
14 – The number of incompletions in the 1st half for QB Tom Brady, the most in the first half for his entire career
95 – The number of yards driven by the Eagles on their 2nd possession of the game, the longest drive against the Patriots this season, eclipsing the Ravens’ 86-yard drive in Week 9
10 – The number of consecutive punts by both teams between New England’s opening touchdown of the 2nd half and Philadelphia’s turnover on downs late in the 4th quarter
199 – The number of NFL games Patriots TE Benjamin Watson has played in his career
19 – The number of winning seasons by the New England Patriots under coach Bill Belichick’s tenure
Interesting Tidbits of the Game
- The 95-yard drive by the Eagles on their 2nd possession of the game was the longest drive the Patriots have not only given up this season, it was the longest drive given up since a Week 4 matchup against the Oakland Raiders back on October 2, 2011 (Raiders did a 99-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown)
- In Super Bowl LII, the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles combined for a total of 1,151 yards and only had 1 punt between the two teams for the entire game (a 41-yard punt by Eagles P Donnie Jones). In this game, the Patriots and Eagles combined for 553 total yards and 16 punts for the entire game.
- With tonight’s victory, it puts the Patriots at 9-1 and thus guaranteeing them a winning season. This is the 19th consecutive season that they had a winning season, giving them the 2nd-longest streak of that kind in NFL history only behind the Dallas Cowboys (21 winning seasons from 1965-1985)
- The Philadelphia Eagles had more first downs (21) than the Patriots (19). This was the second time this year that an opponent has had more first downs than the Patriots in a game where the Patriots had won (last time was Week 4 where the Buffalo Bills had 23 first downs to the Patriots 11 first downs but the Patriots won the game 16-10)
- The 17 points scored by the Patriots was the 2nd time this year that the Patriots offense had not scored more than 20 points in a single game. The last time was a Week 4 victory against the Buffalo where they only scored 16 points.
-WR Julian Edelman’s touchdown pass to Dorsett on the opening drive of the 3rd quarter was in fact Edelman’s first career NFL regular season passing touchdown (out of 4 career attempts). The last actual touchdown pass Edelman threw was January 10, 2015 in the AFC Divisional Game against the Baltimore Ravens
Fox Fist Bump
The Fox Fist Bump goes to none other than P Jake Bailey.
Out of all the Patriots players in the game, Bailey was the most consistent one. He played a crucial role against the Eagles, booming punts deep within Philadelphia territory. Most notable, he had a punt in the 1st quarter that pinned the Eagles at their own 5 and a punt in the 3rd quarter than ended up getting downed at the Eagles 3. Not to mention that his final punt of the game hung in the air for a while to let seconds tick off the clock and give the Eagles almost no time on their final drive.
In a season where everybody has been stepping up when it’s their turn, Bailey took a massive step forward in this game.
The Meatball of the Week
The Meatball of the Week is none other than Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
You had not one but two, count’em, TWO WEEKS to come up with an offensive scheme that could best a suspect Eagles secondary. Not to mention that the play calling for the game was uninspiring, especially in the red zone. I mean, 3 consecutive passes from the Philadelphia 4?! Try at least one play to keep the defense honest. The only good play that came out of the entire game was that little double pass move for the Patriots only touchdown of the game.
Sure, the so-called ‘offensive mastermind’ of the Patriots can come up with a great offensive game plan against a porous (i.e. Washington Redskins, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins). But faced against a tougher opponent and he gets more exposed than a corrupt politician in a movie.
Play of the Game
Some Jules Magic
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