The Philadelphia Eagles second 2014 NFL preseason game against the New England Patriots was sloppy at times but also featured some encouraging rebound performances from key players. The Eagles' starting defense struggled despite benefiting from a big play early while the Eagles' offense went from turning the ball over on their first play to finishing the first half with a solid touchdown drive.The Patriots' backups generally bested the Eagles' backups in the second half and the game ended with a final score of 42-35. The Eagles are now 0-2 in the preseason.
There's a lot to talk from the game about so let's get right to it.
First team offense
Very first play of the Eagles first offensive drive: quarterback Nick Foles completes a pass to wide receiver Ifeanyi Momah and the 6-8 pass catcher fumbles the ball. Not good. An 8 second possession.
Second offensive drive isn't much better. Right tackle Allen Barbre struggled to protect Foles. Philadephia gets 5 plays off for a gain of 9 yards before having to punt.
Third drive. The Eagles move the ball 51 yards on 8 plays, which is good, but the drive ends in a missed 47-yard field goal, which is not good.
Fourth drive. Foles throws to Celek and the Eagles tight end is CRUSHED by two Patriots defenders (VIDEO). Celek was too tough, though, and hung on to make the catch. A few players later Foles finds Zach Ertz in the endzone for a touchdown. That's much better. It was a low bar to rise above, but that was easily the best Eagles offensive drive of the preseason.
First team defense
The Eagles kicked off so the defense started on the field first. The Patriots converted for a few first downs before... Cary Williams picks off Tom Brady and returns the ball 77 yards for a touchdown?! Not exactly the most expected play, but it's probably a moment that Williams savored considering his comments about the Patriots (cheaters!) earlier this offseason. It looked like a bad throw from Brady on top of miscommunication between him and his target. Great block by Vinny Curry to make space for Williams on the return, by the way. Unfortunately for Williams, he injured himself on the play and did not return. Nickel cornerback Brandon Boykin took over for him on the outside.
Second defensive drive. Some interesting players rotating in with the first string: cornerback Curtis Marsh, defensive lineman Brandon Bair. Speaking of Marsh... rough drive for him. Holding penalty, pass interference penalty, beat for a touchdown on a back shoulder throw from Tom Brady. Yikes.
Third defensive drive. The Eagles have bad field position and the Patriots take advantage for a touchdown.
Kicker Alex Henery booted the opening kickoff through the back of the endzone for a touchback. Encouraging.
Henery misses a 47-yard field goal wide right. Not so encouraging.
Blocked punt by Arrelious Benn gives the Eagles two blocks in two weeks. Bair blocked a field goal against the Chicago Bears last week.
Nick Foles: 8/10 (80%), 81 yards, 8.1 average, 1 TD, 0 INT, 133.8 Rating
Mark Sanchez: 11/12 (91.2%), 117 yards, 9.8 average, 2 TD, 1 INT, 112.2 Rating
Matt Barkley: 9/12 (75%), 132 yards, 11.0 average, 1 TD, 1 INT, 103.5 Rating
G.J. Kinne: Did not play
Good news for the Eagles to see a strong performance from starting quarterback Nick Foles after a shaky outing last week. Foles looked confident out there and threw some really good passes despite missing two of his starting receivers in Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper.
Aside from the interception, Mark Sanchez was flawless. There's no doubt he's had a great summer and looks like very capable backup. I'm not sure that's something many people saw coming when he was first signed earlier in the offseason.
Matt Barkley had some bad luck on Friday night. His first pass of the game was fumbled by wide receiver Jeff Maeh. Another pass was intercepted after being tipped into the air by Damaris Johnson. Barkley rebounded from those misfortunes by finishing the game with a solid performance.
SO MANY PENALTIES. AGAIN. It's so ridiculous.
Final count: Eagles 10 penalties, 86 yards | Patriots 11 penalties, 83 yards. That's 21 combined penalties for 169 yards. That figure doesn't account for penalties that were declined or off-setting.
Second year tight end Zach Ertz is already a beast. He reportedly killed the Patriots during practice this week and he carried that over to the game. He's a mismatch nightmare.
Jordan Matthews looked MUCH better this week than he did against the Bears. 9 catches for 104 yards, 11.6 average, and a long of 25 yards on 9 targets. Most importantly: no drops.
That Arrelious Benn touchdown catch after Ifeanyi Momah initially dropped the pass was really something, huh? Watch it here if you missed it. Kind of sums up how the night went for each player, too. Momah struggled while Benn made the most of his opportunities. It's been a good camp for Momah and a quiet camp for Benn but tonight the two players flipped the script.
Allen Barbre's preseason performance hasn't exactly been encouraging.
Brandon Bair and Beau Allen stood out on the defensive line for the second straight week.
What a terrible showing for Curtis Marsh. He allowed three touchdowns, got called for penalties, and was just generally toasted in coverage way too often (PICTURE). It's a shame for Marsh because he's had a good training camp, but that play certainly didn't carry over into the game.
Undrafted free agent rookie running back Henry Josey sure did make the most out of his playing time with both Matthew Tucker and Chris Polk missing the game due to injury.
The following players left the game and did not return:
CB Cary Williams (hamstring)
WR Josh Huff (shoulder)
CB Brandon Boykin (cramps)
Another nine Eagles players did not play in Friday's game due to injury including starting wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper.
The Philadelphia Eagles have off Saturday, August 16th, before returning to training camp practice on Sunday, August 17th. The Eagles play their next preseason game on Thursday, August 21st at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
We'll have more in-depth coverage of Friday night's Eagles-Patriots game on Bleeding Green Nation coming shortly. Stay tuned.