NFL Game Center: Post Game - New England at Philadelphia Preseason Week 1.
Tom Brady is officially back: The former league MVP started for the first time in nearly a year and the results were mostly solid outside of a first-quarter interception to Sheldon Brown (Brady got a little too much air under a pass intended for Randy Moss). Brady finished 10-of-15 for 100 yards and two touchdowns -- both to TE Chris Baker -- passing mostly out of the shotgun formation.
Julian Edelman does a great Wes Welker impersonation: The former Kent State quarterback was drafted in the seventh round to be a wide receiver and return man, and put on a convincing performance Thursday. Edelman took back a punt 75 yards for a touchdown and added 37 yards on a team-high five receptions.
Jeff Howe notes the strenuous training camp plus the preseason changes are paying off for the Patriots.
It’s not as much about the wins and losses as it is about how they earned those results. Did the starters execute — or even play, for that matter (the Pats have lost four of their last five preseason finales, when the key players never suit up) — before the second- and third-stringers fell short? Or, Belichick has admitted there were games in which he would rather get a look at the positional battles to get a better feel of his team before deciding on roster cut downs.
Belichick has also said he uses the preseason to perfect situational football, not worrying about the product as a whole as much as executing specific plays in certain situations. “We would rather just run whatever we have and learn how to execute it,” he said Tuesday.
Thursday night, the execution far exceeded the expectations for a preseason opener. While the Eagles bumbled their way to drive-killing penalties, the Patriots took advantage and capitalized with fluid play while the first team was on the field.
There was a lot more good than bad. He threw two touchdown passes, both to Baker, an ex-Jet. He threw a bad interception. He sneaked for a first down. He looked calm and confident. He was back doing what he loves, and the Patriots were better off for it.
The numbers revealed that Brady was 10 for 15 for 100 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Oh, and one successful 3-yard QB sneak for a first down. But it has never been about gaudy numbers for Brady. It has been about being a winning presence. That was the case before Sept. 7, 2008, and that was the case last night. The score was 21-6, Patriots, at the half, and Brady had a lot to do with that.
- Patriots.com Game Notes: Patriots at Eagles, Game Highlights (4.39 min. video), NFL Game Summary.
- Erik Scalavino Patriots-Eagles analysis: An encouraging start. Offers the "Good Stuff, Needs Work and Mixed Results."
- Bill Belichick Post Game Presser (6.00 min. audio)
- Post Game Presser (5.20 min. audio)
Top Ten Role Players in Patriots History.
- Mike Reiss and Chris Gasper discuss five main points in their post-game analysis. (4.46 min. video)
- Christopher Price lists his Ten Things We Learned Last Night.
- Mike Reiss's blog has loads of news, nuggets, and stats from the game last night.
- Chris Gasper says Brady "looked much closer to the QB who threw 50 touchdown passes in 2007 than a petrified passer focused more on his knee than reading defenses."
- Karen Guregian passes Brady on his first test but says thanks to yeoman work by his offensive line, Brady didn’t feel much heat.
- Ian Rapoport points out that Brady was barely touched in his return; players felt good "shaking the rust off."
- Shalise Manza Young writes that the extra work put in after practice between Tom Brady and Chris Baker paid off.
- Chris Forsberg notes that Julian Edelman is likely to remember his NFL Preseason debut, but his teammates won't let it go to his head.
- Karen Guregian noticed Julian Edelman's Wes Welker impersonation last night.
- Mike Reiss notes the biggest adjustments for Darius Butler have been the speed of the game and talent of the receivers. He's been preparing, learning the playbook so he doesn't have to think about what he has to do out there.
- Ian Rapoport notes Andrew Walter was first off the bench because Belichick wanted to see him play, not because he's ahead of Kevin O'Connell.
- Christopher Price hears that the Patriots are still in play for DE Kevin Carter.
- Christopher Price offers the Patriots practice schedule for the week of Aug. 14-20.
- Mike Reiss reports Michael Vick will get his second chance in Philadelphia. Head coach Andy Reid believes in second chances, he's done his homework, and signed Vick to a 2-year contract.
Johny Diaz reports on the debut of sports radio station, The Sports Hub 98.5 FM. Airing of the Patriots three Super Bowl wins confuses some listeners, attracts others. I could listen to Gil Santos all day. "It's good! It's good! It's good!"
- Tom Curran (Pro Football Talk) Brady impressive in return.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Hobbs says Brady 'looked 100 percent to me'.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Before we hit Vick overload, here's Brady's night.
- Bob Brookover and Jeff McLane (Philadelphia Inquirer) Eagles' special teams not even ordinary against Pats.
- Matt Gelb (Philadelphia Inquirer) Eagles bow in preseason opener.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Eagles embrace Vick as their brother.
- Peter King (SI) Philadelphia Eagles, Michael Vick a near-perfect match.
- Vick: A multi-dimensional weapon. (Nat'l Football Post)