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Eagles vs. Patriots: 10 winners, 7 losers, 7 IDKs

Final thoughts from Philadelphia’s Week 1 win that didn’t really feel too great.

Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles are 1-0 after a less than satisfying Week 1 win over the New England Patriots. Time to hand out some winners, losers, and IDKs.



The game ball goes to the Eagles’ kicker. They don’t win this game without him. Playing in rainy weather, Elliott made field goals (in order) from 32, 56, 48, and 51 yards out. Those were 12 of the Eagles’ 25 points.

He wasn’t perfect; his 48-yard make fortuitously bounced in after hitting the upright and he missed a significant extra point that would’ve made it a three-possession game at 17 to 0.

Still, the Eagles are glad to have one of the NFL’s best kickers.

Elliott is the franchise’s all-time leader in 50+ yard field goals with 21 (including playoffs). And Sunday marked the first time since 1960 that an Eagles kicker made two 50+ yard field goals in the second half of a game.


It really is crazy that nine teams allowed the Eagles to land the best player in the 2023 NFL Draft at No. 9 overall.

Carter looked awesome from the jump. He was disruptive early and often, though it wasn’t until late in the game when he finally notched his first career sack. Getting to Mac Jones in that moment brought up 3rd-and-13 and forced the Patriots to call their final timeout. Two plays later, the Pats failed to convert to seal an Eagles win.

Carter was certainly aided by playing against a Patriots offensive line missing both starting guards. But it’s still incredibly impressive that a rookie defensive tackle LEADS THE ENTIRE LEAGUE in pressures generated* after Week 1.

Carter’s dominant debut inspires confidence for not only the rest of this season but what the Eagles will hope to be a long, successful career. This is a player with truly special upside.

*Carter is tied for first with Arden Key, who Pro Football Focus also credited with eight pressures.


Slay’s interception was a gift since a high throw from Jones bounced off a receiver’s wet gloves and into his waiting hands. But kudos to Slay for being able to take it to the house by outrunning and outmaneuvering the Patriots on his return.

It was nice to see an actual big play from Slay, who hadn’t logged a pick since intercepting Cooper Rush on October 16, 2022.

Slay also deserves credit for nearly coming up with another takeaway on a Jones deep pass. His recovery speed and ball tracking was really impressive here. Self-admittedly so:

Encouraging start to the season for a player who didn’t finish last year as strong as he began. Especially at a position where guys typically don’t age gracefully.


Seven catches for 79 yards (11.3) is usually pretty good for a tight end but not as impressive for a wide receiver. In this context, Brown was the most productive option on a day where the Eagles offense couldn’t get much cooking. He nearly could’ve had eight grabs for 127 yards (15.9 average) if his sideline catch late in the game wasn’t overturned by a successful Patriots challenge. The feeling here is that the original ruling on the field should’ve stuck. The ball may have bobbled a little but did he definitely lose control? Was that 100% not a catch? Because that’s supposed to be the standard to overturn the original result.

Regardless, Brown is still very much good.


With the already-mentioned disclaimer that the Patriots’ offensive line interior was banged up, Davis had the best game of his career. He was the team’s second-highest graded defender by Pro Football Focus, only behind Carter.

The second-year defensive tackle contributed to the Pats only logging 3.5 yards per rush attempt. Davis tied for fourth on the team in total tackles with six, four of them solo. One of those was a tackle for loss ... and he finally notched his first career sack! Which was a half sack split with Josh Sweat. The size and length of Davis was apparent on that play as he was able to reach around his blocker to get an arm on Jones.

Davis also came up with his first career forced fumble by getting out in space to Ezekiel Elliott on a screen play. His freak athleticism showed up in that moment; how many other defensive tackles are making that play?

Encouraging start to the season for a player who didn’t have the most inspiring rookie campaign.


Yet again: the Patriots were missing both starting guards.

But Cox stood in a big way for the first time in some time. He had a big sequence with a tackle for no gain on third down before combining with Haason Reddick to pressure Jones into a fourth down incompletion. That turnover on downs set up the Eagles to go 50 yards over seven plays to take a 25 to 14 lead with 5:33 remaining in the game.

Added bonus: Cox also helped to prevent Josh Jobe from getting a taunting penalty by stepping in to prevent him from flexing over Marcus Jones after a special teams tackle along the Eagles’ sideline. The kind of leadership you’re looking to see from a veteran.


Ghost was the Eagles’ third-highest graded defender by PFF.

He led the team in tackles with 12, nine of them solo. No other Eagles player had more than four solo tackles. One of Blankenship’s solo tackles came when he made a really impressive open field takedown on Rhamondre Stevenson to bring up a 4th-and-8. A lot of other players probably miss that one ... but not Ghost, who had zero missed tackles all game.

Blankenship could’ve had an interception in the end zone if it wasn’t for a breakup that may have been uncalled offensive pass interference.

Blankenship trailed in coverage on a Jones touchdown to Hunter Henry but that wasn’t really bad defense as much as it was a tight-window throw to a target with a height advantage.


DeVonta didn’t totally light up the box score; his 10 targets resulted in seven catches for 47 yards (6.7). But he did log the offense’s only touchdown with a contested touchdown catch. And three of his grabs went for first downs.

On a side note, congrats to DeVonta on becoming a dad (hence the rocking the baby TD celebration).


Jobe absolutely laid the wood on Marcus Jones, arguably the NFL’s best punt returner. Nice special teams tackle.

More importantly, Jobe forced Kayshon Boutte out of bounds before the receiver could get both feet in to force the turnover on downs that sealed the Eagles’ win. Not an easy spot for him, coming off the bench cold to fill in for an injured James Bradberry with the game on the line.

Jobe had a good summer to earn his status as the top backup outside CB. He’ll likely be put to the test by the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night. We’ll see if he can hold up over an entire game.


Brown crushed Marcus Jones on a punt return. No defensive role for him yet but it feels like that’s eventually going to change.



Entering this game, I felt totally fine. Not nervous at all. I was pretty confident the Eagles would win, though not necessarily in dominant fashion ... I predicted them finishing on top, 27 to 20.

After the game? I felt exhausted.

The 2022 team really spoiled Eagles fans. They were so dominant that most games weren’t really stressful.

This outing serves as a reminder that that feeling from last year is the exception and not the norm. More often than not, winning in the NFL is hard-fought.

This reality is part of what made losing the Super Bowl so painful. It’s not as simple as “We’ll definitely be back next year!” You don’t just pick up from where you left off. Especially when you lose a number of key players and two coordinators.

This isn’t to say the Birds are doomed; they might very well find a way to make it back. But there will likely be a lot of stress — at least compared to last year — along the way. When expectations are so high, there’s a lot of room for disappointment.


I wanted to go with “Eagles honor Super Bowl 52-losing quarterback by beating the Patriots again” as my recap headline but it wasn’t enough of a feel-good win to justify that choice. I had to work it in here instead.


Hurts’ final line: 22/33 (66.7%), 170 yards (5.2 average), 1 TD, 0 INT, 89.2 passer rating ... 14 carries, 54 yards (3.9 average), 0 TD, 1 fumble.

The turnover was really bad. Credit to Jabrill Peppers for the good hit but Hurts simply has to protect the ball better in a situation where you’re trying to run clock to end the game. That mistake was the first time I felt like the Eagles might actually blow it and lose.

Beyond that play, Hurts did not look comfortable in the pocket. The offensive line certainly didn’t play up to their usual standard. But he didn’t help them by holding onto the ball too long; Hurts had the third-slowest average time to throw in Week 1 at 3.25 seconds. For context, that’s slower than his 3.19 average in 2021. Hurts was only the 14th-slowest in 2022 at 2.86.

Hurts played a role in Dallas Goedert inexplicably seeing just one target and being held catchless. The broadcast showed some moments when the tight end was open and Hurts failed to get the ball to him.

I fully expect Hurts to look better than this moving forward.


Let’s get some caveats out of the way:

  • The inclement weather wasn’t conducive to an offensive explosion.
  • Bill Belichick is a great defensive mind and the Patriots have some good talent on that side of the ball.
  • Johnson was in his first game as an NFL play-calling offensive coordinator.

All those things acknowledged, it’s a failure that the Eagles only managed to score one offensive touchdown. And one that came on a short field after a Patriots fumble set Philly up at New England’s 26-yard line.

There’s simply too much offensive talent on this team to merely produce one touchdown.

Johnson got outcoached, plain and simple.

Johnson obviously must be better moving forward. And I do think there is reason to believe he can be. This is a bright, young coach that many teams were interested in interviewing to be their offensive coordinator before the Eagles were able to retain him with Shane Steichen leaving.


Collectively, this was not a sharp performance.

The Eagles burned multiple timeouts due to improper personnel. They failed to properly use a timeout when they seemed to be confused about a defensive look on 3rd-and-goal on the first drive.

Johnson calls the plays, yeah, but Sirianni is not blameless when it comes to the poor offensive production. He has to play a role in making adjustments.

The Eagles’ overall approach was too conservative. They barely attempted downfield passes. They ran three draws on 3rd-and-long. They ran the clock out with 0:25 remaining in the first half when they very well could’ve tried to get in position for a field goal.

It’s hard to say Sirianni gave his team an edge in this game.


We’ll give Clay some credit for good special teams tackles made by Brown and Jobe.

But, as was the case last year, his unit was once again a weakness in many regards.

The Eagles allowed a 21-yard punt return, a 43-yard kick return, and they burned two timeouts due to personnel issues.

One of the timeouts came after the Eagles ran a coward’s draw on 3rd-and-20 in scoring range. Did they not know they were setting up a field goal in that spot?!

You probably won’t love to be reminded that the Eagles gave Clay a raise and extension after last season.


Woof. The Eagles are looking pretty vulnerable over the middle of the field, especially with Nakobe Dean getting hurt.

This much isn’t exactly a shock; the Eagles got worse at linebacker and safety with T.J. Edwards, Kyzir White, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and Marcus Epps all leaving.

Justin Evans and Zach Cunningham are just not ideal starters.

Evans didn’t even play a game from 2019 through 2021 before returning to football in 2022. When the Eagles signed him back in March, media members were told that his addition was “a depth signing and more moves are coming at safety.” Evans didn’t even start taking first-team reps until late in camp after Terrell Edmunds and K’Von Wallace failed to impress with their chances.

Cunningham was available to be signed during camp for a reason. We specifically wrote about his struggles in coverage at the time:

Cunningham cannot be counted on as a playmaker. The 28-year-old has zero interceptions and two forced fumbles since the start of the 2019 season. Cunningham’s career passer rating while targeted numbers are not great:

2018 — 103.2

2019 — 107.4

2020 — 126.0

2021 — 107.6

2022 — 96.2

Cunningham’s PFF grade from last year would put him 53rd out of 91 players.

The Patriots’ offense was sputtering until they figured out they could attack the Eagles’ weak point in the middle. One would imagine other teams will be looking to do the same.



While I was writing this post, BGN’s John Stolnis wrote an entire article about this very topic. Great minds think alike, they say.

Here are the 2022 Week 1 games that stuck out to me when I looked back at them:

  • The Chicago Bears beat the San Francisco 49ers in an especially rainy game, 19 to 10. The Bears finished with the No. 1 overall pick. The 49ers went to the NFC Championship Game.
  • Carson Wentz threw FOUR touchdown passes and had a 101.0 passer rating in a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Washington Commanders eventually benched Wentz and missed the postseason while Doug Pederson led his side to a Divisional Round playoff game.
  • The Cincinnati Bengals lost at home in overtime to the Pittsburgh Steelers. And then Cincy lost again to the Cooper Rush-led Dallas Cowboys in Week 2. The Bengals ultimately took the Super Bowl LVII champions to the wire in the AFC Championship Game.
  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers decisively beat the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium, 19 to 3, with Dak Prescott getting hurt late in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys ended the Bucs’ season and Brady’s career by blowing out the Bucs in the Wild Card Round.

Week 1 is not nothing but it certainly isn’t everything.


During his postgame presser, Sirianni mentioned he MIGHT consider playing starters in the preseason next year. It’s fair to wonder if the Eagles looking out of sorts was connected to the starters not seeing real game action until this week.

Then again, preseason snaps did not help the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kenny Pickett looked good in Matt Canada’s offense by leading five touchdown drives on five tries. The Steelers then proceeded to look lost against the 49ers in Week 1, only managing to score a single touchdown at home.


The Eagles limited the Patriots to 20 points and forced two turnovers. That’s good. So is keeping New England to a 33.33% conversion rate (5/15) on third down.

But one shouldn’t be rushing to give out gold stars to Philly’s new defensive coordinator.

It must be acknowledged that the Birds significantly benefited from some unforced errors. Boutee badly failing to get two feet in-bounds on a would-be third down conversion on the Pats’ first drive of the second half was a momentum killer. Three Patriots passes were dropped whereas the Eagles only had one.

There also seemed to be issues with communication, which factored into the middle of the field defense being bad.

I do think Desai showed some creativity at times and a well-timed blitz forced Mac Jones to step up into a Carter sack late in the game.


This inclusion is not entirely about his performance as much as it is about the Eagles misusing him.

I don’t know why the Eagles want him to be their feature back. Kenny G is fine. He’s a quality rotational back. He has shown nothing to justify the kind of major workload he received in Week 1. Gainwell accounting for more than a third (38%) of the Eagles’ total offensive touches is insane. He touched the ball more times (18) than A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, and D’Andre Swift combined (16).

No. That is not a recipe for success.


Fortunately, Dean avoided a season-ending injury. But it’s not ideal that he’s going to miss multiple games. And it remains to be seen how healthy he’ll be when he does get back.

Dean previously missed some time in training camp due to injury. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of an undersized player struggling to hold up in the NFL.


Considering their track record, you have to give this unit some benefit of the doubt. And Hurts holding onto the ball and bailing pockets definitely didn’t help them.

But PFF had Lane Johnson with six pressures allowed, Jordan Mailata with four pressures allowed (plus two penalties including an especially unnecessary hold), and Cam Jurgens/Landon Dickerson each with two pressures allowed.

They also only managed to pave the way for 97 yards on 25 carries (3.9 average).

This unit is supposed to be the strength of the team. They need to be better.


The Eagles’ punter wasn’t bad; his 44.0 net average ranked 12th out of 30 punters in Week 1 and his average hang time ranked 10th.

Of course, the concern isn’t if Siposs can be fine in the regular season. It’s that it feels insane to trust him in a playoff game after we’ve seen him be a disaster in those situations.

Siposs also seemingly made a mistake by hesitating to punt a ball, which caused an illegal downfield kick penalty. That flag gave the Pats the ball at their own 37 instead of their own 27 ... to set up New England’s second touchdown drive that cut the Eagles’ lead to two points.

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