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Week 13 Patriots vs Eagles Instant Analysis and Observations: New England Annihilated at Home

Tom Brady was really bad out there

The pick six on the goal line was terrible. Throwing a second end zone interception is insane. Brady showed zero protection for the football and he has reached a point where he feels like he has to play Hero Ball and make everything happen on every single play. He's not wrong, but he needs to take care of the football. The final few drives to close the final score were only needed because of poor play for the first and third quarters.

LeGarrette Blount found his footing, but...

...I have no idea what the coaching staff was doing. Blount and Brandon Bolden combined for 76 yards on 16 carries, for a healthy 4.75 yards per carry clip, but Brady ended the game with 56 passing attempts. I understand the game script late in the fourth required the Patriots to throw the ball, but man, they abandoned the rushing game early and they were having plenty of success. James White definitely stood out and should hopefully see a larger role in the offense moving forward.

The coaches ignored the wide receivers strengths

Instead of continuing to play with hitch routes and slants, the Patriots were running their typical...check downs to running backs? Swing passes to Danny Amendola? It was a bizarre strategy that definitely didn't play out. The scouting report showed that the Eagles really struggled on comeback routes, and the Patriots took advantage on their scoring drives. Then, for whatever reason, the coaches ignored the fact that Brandon LaFell was eating, and then dialed up deep option routes that led to interceptions and incompletions.

Of course, the wide receivers dropped pretty much every thing thrown their way, so there wasn't much Brady of the coaching staff could do.

The offensive line is healthy and awful

It doesn't make sense, but the unit has never been healthier and never been worse. It's not any single player, but it seems like the level of play has fallen across the board. David Andrews isn't the issue. Nate Solder couldn't save this unit. Part of it is the youth and the miscommunications between the young guards on simple stunts. But this isn't a fix for this year and it will likely be a key factor in any playoff game down the road. Josh Kline's injury only adds to the issue as he leads the Patriots OL in snaps this season.

The pass rush was extremely quiet

Of course the Eagles spent a good chunk of their day just running the ball, but the Patriots only registered two quarterback hits and two tackles for loss on the day. You would have hoped that the New England pass rush could have made some more noise on Sam Bradford's drop backs, but the loss of Dominique Easley was felt on the day.

Dont'a Hightower is the most important player on defense

I don't think this is hyperbole. Jamie Collins wasn't 100%, but the Patriots seriously missed Hightower out on the field as the Eagles continued to hand snap after snap to their third down backs in Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner. The Patriots linebackers weren't able to make a play until it was too late and Sproles wrecked the Patriots defense in the passing game.

The secondary was also quiet

The Eagles didn't really challenge the Patriots defense, instead opting to dink and dunk down the field, picking on the Patriots linebackers. Jordan Matthews and Sproles were the only receivers to pick up more than 20 yards on the day. It was just a quiet outing.

Special teams was atrocious

Yes, they converted an onside kick, but two special teams scores allowed and that funky Nate Ebner drop kick made no sense. It was not a good day in the office.

The season isn't over, but the Patriots can't lose anymore

The Broncos and Bengals still have a game to play against one another, which means that the three teams currently at 10-2 will have at least one loss among them to act as a tiebreaker. Of course, the Patriots can't afford to lose any more games or else they're in serious jeopardy of having to play during Wild Card weekend.