By Feb. 4, it’ll have been 791 days since the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles last met.
Safe to say that the next meeting will matter a little more than the previous.
Philadelphia’s 35-28 win over New England on Dec. 6, 2015 has long since been deleted from most mental hard drives – at least from those around Foxborough. The Patriots hadn’t lost back-to-back games in three years; the Eagles had given up 45 points in back-to-back games and lost three in a row. But a 14-point comeback – fueled by a punt, a blocked punt and an interception all returned for touchdowns – saw the latter improve to 5-7 on the regular season as the former fell to 10-2.
Yeah, it was an odd night at Gillette Stadium. And there were many odds and ends from that game most will never didn’t need to know – or recall – ahead of Super Bowl LII.
So, hey, here are 35 of them, seeing how the Eagles put those digits on the board.
1. Doug Pederson was in his final season as the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator when New England hosted Chip Kelly’s Eagles for a 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff. Kelly would accrue one more win as Philadelphia’s head coach before being relieved of his duties three weeks later.
2. Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe started against his current team in that Dec. 6 matchup, playing 86 snaps within the Eagles’ defense and an additional 10 on special teams. The rookie second-round pick out of Utah recorded three tackles.
3. Onetime Eagle Damaris Johnson, who was signed by New England five days prior amid attrition at wide receiver, gained six yards on an end-around. Johnson, donning No. 15, was waived 10 days later.
4. Ex-Patriots practice-squadder Jonathan Krause made his regular-season NFL debut for the Eagles, catching his first career pass for four yards. It was one of two games Krause appeared in for Philadelphia.
5. Now-Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount gathered a team-high 13 handoffs for 54 yards versus Philadelphia. New England had lost Dion Lewis due to a torn ACL in November, and would lose Blount as well in mid-December.
6. Defensive back E.J. Biggers, who went on to make an offseason stop with the Patriots in the spring and summer of 2016, played 39 snaps on defense and 20 in the kicking game against them.
7. An eventual member of the U.S. Olympic rugby team, Nate Ebner drop-kicked the ball 24 yards after the Patriots took a 14-0 lead in the second quarter against the Eagles. It was one of two kickoffs he’d be tasked with.
8. Eagles special-teamer Chris Maragos blocked a Ryan Allen punt in the final seconds of the first half. And from there, Najee Goode took it 24 yards to the house to tie things at 14. The Patriots haven’t conceded a blocked punt since Maragos went untouched by Geneo Grissom, Darius Fleming and Ebner that night.
9. A pass intended for wideout Danny Amendola over the middle was intercepted and returned for a 99-yard TD by Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, giving Philadelphia a 21-14 lead midway through the third quarter. Unsurprisingly, it is still the longest interception return of Jenkins’ career, ahead of a 96-yarder with the New Orleans Saints in 2010.
10. Amendola completed a 36-yard, direct-snapped pass to Tom Brady on a third-and-3 with 2:59 left in the third. Brady’s catch marked the second of his career and first since Week 15 of the 2001 season, when Patriots Hall of Famer Kevin Faulk hit him for a pickup of 23 yards against the Miami Dolphins.
11. Thirty-three seconds later, the Patriots quarterback was picked off for a second time. This time, corner Byron Maxwell had his hands on it. Heading in, Brady hadn’t ever thrown an interception in versus Philadelphia – a stretch spanning three regular-season contests as well as Super Bowl XXXIX.
12. Eagles all-purpose back Darren Sproles returned a 46-yard punt for an 83-yard touchdown. It landed in the books as the seventh punt-return TD of Sproles’ career. The 34-year-old, currently on Philadelphia’s injured reserve, is still looking for his eighth.
13. Then-Philadelphia QB Sam Bradford completed 14 passes for 120 yards. Bradford did, however, have two touchdown tosses in his 2015 Patriots matchup, with wideout Jordan Matthews and tight end Zach Ertz reeling in the third-down damage.
14. DeMarco Murray finished third in the Eagles’ backfield with eight carries, taking a backseat to Sproles and Kenjon Barner in what’d be his only year in Philadelphia.
15. In the absence of Rob Gronkowski – who was carted off the field with a knee injury the week prior against the Denver Broncos – Scott Chandler, Michael Williams and Asante Cleveland tallied a combined 97 offensive snaps for New England at tight end.
16. Amendola, Chandler and James White were on the receiving end of Brady touchdown passes against Philadelphia. And Brady’s touchdown to Chandler, from 14 yards out with 5:33 to play, would be the final six of the tight end’s career.
17. It’d be first game of White’s career in which he’d catch double-digit passes and go over 100 yards receiving. The fourth-round back from the previous year’s draft posted 10 and 115, respectively.
18. Eagles edge-rushers Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham collected four sacks on Brady, netting a loss of 24 yards in all.
19. Dave DeGuglielmo’s starting five offensive linemen against Philadelphia were Sebastian Vollmer, Josh Kline, Bryan Stork, Tre’ Jackson and Marcus Cannon. For added O-line context: Nate Solder was sent to IR in October of the campaign, Kline left the Eagles game with a shoulder injury, a rookie named Shaq Mason rotated in, and another greenhorn in David Andrews did not play.
20. Eagles first-round receiver Nelson Agholor went catchless despite being on the field for 54 percent of the offensive snaps. The USC product was the intended recipient of two passes.
21. Philadelphia flex tight end Trey Burton, who finished the 2017 regular season with five touchdowns, played two snaps when he last faced New England.
22. The lone sack registered by the Patriots’ defense came from captain Jerod Mayo. Mayo’s sack, which went for a loss of under a yard, would be the final one of the linebacker’s eight-year Patriots tenure.
23. With three minutes left, Brady sneaked into the end zone for the 17th – and most recent – rushing touchdown of his regular-season career to bring New England within seven. Brady has scored one in postseason play since then.
24. Stephen Gostkowski successfully converted New England’s final onside kick as current Indianapolis Colts starter Rashaan Melvin recovered with five minutes to go in a 35-21 game.
25. Philadelphia’s offense punted on seven of its initial nine drives and fumbled on the 10th.
26. Barner had the ball jarred free by then-Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins with 1:13 still ticking on the clock, and it was scooped by first-year defensive tackle Malcom Brown. Collins had missed New England’s previous four games with an undisclosed illness.
27. A fourth-and-10 Brady pass attempt to Keshawn Martin fell out of the receiver’s grasp. And Philadelphia took over for a final kneel-down up 35-28.
28. With Julian Edelman rehabbing back from surgery to repair a Jones fracture, Brady targeted Martin and fellow wideout Brandon LaFell a total of 17 times for seven completions and 72 yards.
29. The New England offense out-gained Philadelphia by a margin of 427 to 228.
30. Seven of the 18 players to log an offensive down for New England are still with the organization. Seven of the 17 to log a defensive down still are. And of the 37 players to enter on special teams for the Patriots versus the Eagles, 18 remain.
31. Four of the Eagles’ 11 defensive starters that day – Graham, Jenkins, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and linebacker Mychal Kendricks – reside on the active roster heading into Super Bowl LII.
32. It was the second consecutive week in which the Patriots blew a 14-point lead, with the Broncos previously doing so en route to a 30-24 overtime win at Mile High.
33. “… When you give up 21 points when your defense isn’t on the field, you lose about 98 percent of those games,” Bill Belichick said in his postgame press conference. And – without fact-checking – that percentage sounds about right.
34. The Eagles’ win gave the franchise a 7-6 all-time advantage against New England dating back to 1973, and snapped a four-game losing streak that dated back to 2003.
35. Nick Foles, the Eagles’ backup-turned-starter for Super Bowl LII, went 15-of-35 passing for 146 yards and an interception for the St. Louis Rams on the same Sunday that New England and Philadelphia last crossed paths.