The New England Patriots are back in the win column, thanks to a 17-10 come-from-behind win against the Philadelphia Eagles. The reigning world champions may not have played the prettiest of games, but they made enough place to beat a quality opponent on the road and stay on top of the playoff race in the AFC. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the players that stood out — without the benefit of a film review — during Sunday’s contest.
Winner: P Jake Bailey
When the Patriots lost to the Eagles in Super Bowl 52, they did not punt even once. On Sunday, Jake Bailey had to kick the football away eight times — and he played a big role in his team’s victory while doing so. The rookie, who also handles kickoff duties since Stephen Gostkowski’s season-ending injury, averaged 47.6 yards per punt with a net of 46.0 and consistently helped New England stay ahead in the field position battle: six of Bailey’s punts landed inside the Eagles’ 20-yard line as his ball placement and hang-time stood out.
Winner: WR Matthew Slater
While Matthew Slater again had no impact on his listed position, the wide receiver/special teams standout was once more terrific in his role in the kicking game. He usually was the first man down the field to disrupt opposing punt returns, and also downed one of Bailey’s kicks at the Philadelphia 3-yard line. The Patriots’ punt coverage unit is among the best in the NFL and Slater’s performance is a big reason why. It certainly was against the Eagles.
Loser: QB Tom Brady
It’s easy to pin the blame for New England’s offensive struggles on Tom Brady, but his supporting cast did not exactly help him get into a rhythm versus a talented defense. That being said, the 42-year-old was visibly off against the Eagles: he rushed through his motion even when not pressured, was inaccurate at times with his ball placement, and also was nearly intercepted in the end zone on a throw intended for Mohamed Sanu. Brady did enough to bring the Patriots back into the game and hold onto the lead, but his mediocre final stat-line — 26 of 47 for 216 yards — is reflective of his performance as a whole.
Winners: DT Lawrence Guy and DT Danny Shelton
The first impression of the Patriots’ defense against the Eagles was one of “here we go again” after the home team scored a field goal on its first possession and had a 95-yard touchdown drive one series later. New England bounced back, however, with defensive tackles Lawrence Guy and Danny Shelton playing a big game: the two veterans were stout at the point of attack against Philadelphia’s ground attack and also had an impressive outing versus the pass. Their most notable play came in the second quarter, when Guy came up with a fumble recovery after Shelton had knocked the football loose on a sack.
Loser: OT Marshall Newhouse
Marshall Newhouse had some serviceable plays again, but on the whole he disappointed once more at the left tackle position. The backup, who is filling in for Isaiah Wynn since he was placed on injured reserve after Week 2, looked slow once again and was sloppy in his technique — too often allowing the pocket to collapse on Tom Brady while getting little upfield push in the running game as well. Needless to say that Wynn can’t come back soon enough.
Winner: WR Julian Edelman
Not all was perfect, but Julian Edelman again proved himself the most reliable weapon that Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels have at their disposal. The MVP of Super Bowl 53 finished the day as the team leader in targets (10), catches (5) and receiving yards (53) and also was responsible for the team’s lone touchdown of the day: on a 3rd and 11 in the Eagles’ red zone, McDaniels called a double pass that ended with Edelman throwing a 15-yard scoring pass to Phillip Dorsett.
Loser: TE Matt LaCosse
After missing the Patriots’ previous three games because of injury, Matt LaCosse had a quiet return to the field. While he did play 21 of a possible 74 offensive snaps (28%), the first-year Patriot finished the game with just three receiving yards on two catches and nearly turned the football over on the second pass coming his way: LaCosse’s offensive progress was ruled to have been stopped on an apparent fumble that would have likely been returned for a touchdown, but not every officiating crew will blow the play dead that quickly.
Loser: WR Jakobi Meyers
With Phillip Dorsett leaving the game in the third quarter because of a head injury, the Patriots were down to only four wide receivers — one of them being Jakobi Meyers. The undrafted rookie had a positive moment when he converted a 3rd and 6 in the fourth period, but he also drew Brady’s ire later that same drive when he ran the wrong route on a deep passing attempt. The quarterback’s frustration with Meyers was obvious and the youngster was not targeted for the rest of the game.
Winner: K Nick Folk
Playing in his second game since the Patriots signed him to replace a struggling Mike Nugent, Nick Folk again looked solid. The veteran was not asked to do much — he attempted just three total kicks with none from more than 39 yards out — but he did his job whenever called upon: Folk made all three of his field goal attempts and helped New England stay close in the first half after the team fell behind 10-0.
Winner: CB Stephon Gilmore
The Patriots knew that the key to stopping Philadelphia’s passing game was Zach Ertz, and they invested heavily in covering him: a variety of defenders was used in different alignments — from bracket to one-on-one coverage — to slow the talented tight end down. One player who played a prominent role was cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who moved Ertz’s way on third downs. The result? Only one third down target and not a single reception.
Pats Pulpit Live: Week 11 at the Philadelphia Eagles
Welcome to another victory edition of Pats Pulpit Live! The Patriots move to 9-1 on the season with a huge 17-10 win on the road in Philadelphia over Carson Wentz and the Eagles.Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Sunday, November 17, 2019