It wasn’t pretty, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes, in this league, you need to find a way to win ugly, and that’s exactly what the New England Patriots did on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. So, even though we may not be super excited about the way the Patriots played during their 17-10 victory, the end result is the most important result. Let’s take a look at some of the other takeaways from the game though.
The offense still looks terrible, but hopefully some of that will be fixed once Marshall Newhouse isn’t starting at left tackle anymore. I don’t remember the Patriots running so many gadget plays during the regular season before, although it’s always fun to see Julian Edelman throw a strike for a touchdown. I think it speaks to the lack of confidence they have in the offense right now, though.
It was great to see N’Keal Harry out there, and, although he didn’t have a huge impact on the game, building some rapport with Tom Brady is essential for him helping later in the year. I also thought Sony Michel had some good success running the outside. He made some people miss, and even lowered his head to pick up some extra yards. Of course, he also dropped an easy pass that could’ve turned into to an interception, so it was far from a great performance.
Tom Brady, meanwhile, looks completely rattled and frustrated right now. I suppose when he’s under as much pressure as he has been this season, that is to be expected a bit, but it’s worse than that. I don’t know if his receivers are doing a good enough job getting open, and I also don’t think he trusts them to make the plays that are in front of them. Hopefully, the offensive line will be fixed when Isaiah Wynn comes back, but the receiver issue isn’t getting any better. It’s something that the entire offense is going to have to figure out if they want to compete for a championship again this year.
Then there’s the defense. After a long pass interference penalty that gave the Eagles an easy field goal, and the longest drive against them in eight years (95 yards), they really settled down into a groove. The Eagles would finish the game 3-13 on third down, and after the first two scores wouldn’t score again the rest of the game.
Terrence Brooks stepped up and had a great game in Patrick Chung’s absence. He was flying all over the field, and, if it wasn’t for a bogus penalty, would’ve forced the game-sealing interception. Jamie Collins has a quiet game, but Danny Shelton and Kyle Van Noy were very good. On the down side, Jason McCourty had maybe his worst game as a Patriot, first getting flagged for the long DPI, and then getting beat quite a few times, including once in run support when he crashed way too hard and gave up the outside to Miles Sanders.
Overall, the Patriots came out very slow and flat, but they were able to rebound. Having to kick three red zone field goals is unacceptable (I know one wasn’t technically in the red zone, but I’m counting it anyway), and they have a lot to figure out offensively, but they still have Tom Brady. The defense did a nice job settling down and stopping the Eagles after it looked like they might be in trouble.
The Patriots are still the number one seed in the AFC, and, although they don’t look like the best team right now, they will be in the mix when the playoffs kick off. That’s the main thing we’re all concerned about, and it’s something they have been doing for a long time. The win yesterday clinched the Patriots’ 19th consecutive winning season. I know this run isn’t over yet, but it’s still amazing they’ve been able to be so consistently good. It’s that consistency that gives me hope they’ll figure everything out for the rest of the season, and there’s no reason to think otherwise.
Pat is a host of The Patriot Nation Podcast
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