1st Down: Hit the reset button
The game looked like it was going Philadelphia’s way right from the start, as the Eagles offense seemed like they had solved the Patriots defense from the opening whistle in marching down the field to score an early field goal on their very first drive. However, after Carson Wentz connected with Dallas Goedert for a touchdown to begin the second quarter, the defense stood its ground and didn’t let the Eagles come anywhere close to scoring again.
New England finished the game with five sacks and multiple quarterback pressures. They also caused two Wentz fumbles, one of which was recovered by the Patriots defense. New England forced the Eagles into many negative plays on first and second down, setting up a lot of 3rd-and-longs which Philadelphia simply couldn’t convert (3/13 and 0/1 on 3rd and 4th down, respectively).
While the defense stepped up – like they have all year – and resoundingly bounced back after such a poor performance two weeks ago against the Ravens, the Patriots offense couldn’t find a rhythm despite having a handful of successful drives. They certainly had opportunities to put more than 17 points on the board, especially in the first half when they ended up settling for three field goals.
The Patriots had the ball 1st-and-Goal and could only walk away with three points. Then late in the fourth quarter, they had a few drives that they could’ve used to put the game on ice; each instance they really had the Eagles’ backs against the wall, but couldn’t get that final knockout blow on offense when they needed to.
On the bright side, it wasn’t all bad offensively. The offensive line played fairly well; yes, Tom Brady was hurried quite a bit, had some balls tipped at the line, and was rushed out of the pocket a few times and knocked down on occasion – but he was only sacked once. Against the Eagles’ front seven, that is a win if you’re the struggling offensive line. Julian Edelman, Ben Watson, Rex Burkhead, Phillip Dorsett, N’Keal Harry (who we’ll look at later) and James White all had an impact on the offense and played really well in limited action, too.
This was a good performance from both sides of the ball, especially coming off that loss to the Ravens and then having the bye week right after. Certainly a sign of good things to come…