It's easy to point to the Patriots three big miscues (blocked punt, pick six, punt return for TD) as the reason why the Eagles were able to leave with a victory. When looking through the play-by-play, it turns out that the Eagles defense did better than expected.
There are some negative plays that were self-inflicted, including the big turnovers and special teams play calling and mistakes. There are also the seven 3rd or 4th and long situations that the Patriots were unable to convert. There are tackles for loss, sacks, penalties, and defended passes.
In total, the Eagles defense forced the Patriots into 20 plays that put New England in a worse position than on the prior down, which is a far higher number than I would have thought while watching the game.
I was trying to find a few plays where the New England Patriots made a good play on defense just to balance the scale, and everything was coming up Malcom Brown.
Six yard loss? That's from Malcom Brown against one of the best centers in the league.
Need another big stop? Malcom Brown can seal the edge for you (also, Chandler Jones, what a play).
The biggest play of the day was a Jamie Collins strip sack. Somehow recovered by Malcom Brown.
I don't know how Malcom Brown recovered this fumble. On his back away from the play before ball is even loose. pic.twitter.com/EAkc6qiCEy— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) December 8, 2015
The Patriots invested a first round pick in Brown, who has quickly ascended to the top of the defensive tackle depth chart, and the selection has been paying off. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that Brown has been the best overall defensive tackle on the roster and he's made some tremendous strides since the bye week.
Brown isn't as great of a pass rusher as Dominique Easley, or as strong against the run as Alan Branch, but he offers the greatest flexibility at the position and doesn't have to be taken off of the field. One of his greatest traits coming out of college was his motor and he certainly hasn't disappointed.
New England has to be happy with the current level of play from Brown and the possible career trajectory. He's really been standing out on a weekly basis.