Thoughts and Analysis: Patriots Turn Dream Into a Nightmare for Eagles

Derek Havens
November 28, 2011 at 09:00am ET

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The New England Patriots traveled to Philadelphia and defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38 - 20 on Sunday afternoon. The Patriots delivered a great overall performance and remain in the AFC East drivers seat. Here are some thoughts on the team's victory. -

Sunday's victory was Tom Brady’s 119th career win as a starter in the regular season, tying Johnny Unitas for sixth most in NFL history. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

- The Eagles got on the board right away, needing just five plays to take the early 7-0 lead thanks to a 58-yard bomb from Vince Young to Riley Cooper, that was eventually finished off two plays later by LeSean McCoy. After a 10-point start, the Patriots took control of the game and flipped momentum, scoring 21 unanswered points.

- Tom Brady had another fantastic performance on Sunday afternoon. He final stat line was 24 - 34, 361 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. His 3,627 passing yards are now most of any quarterback in NFL history through 11 weeks.

- Is there a defense in the league capable of stopping Rob Gronkowski? The second year tight end is having an absolute monster year and he had a great game on Sunday evening. He now has 11 touchdown passes on the season and has turned in to one of Brady's favorite targets.

- The Patriots defense continues to be strong in the redzone. Yes, this unit can be burned and they give up yards, but they have been holding opponents to field goals instead of touchdowns. After 11 games and 12 weeks into the season, New England's defense is ranked 11th in points per game allowed league-wide at 20.3 ppg.

I also thought the Pats run defense played one of their best games of the season, as they held the NFL's Leading Rusher LeSean McCoy to 31 Yards.

- Along with Andre CarterMark Anderson has had a very good season for the Patriots.  I have been in favor of him seeing more playing time for quite awhile and he seems to be capitalizing on his opportunity.

- How about Julian Edelman's night? He takes 16 defensive snaps, 23 offensive snaps, plays kick off coverage and returns two punts. Even though he did not catch one pass, he crushed Vince Young on a blitz and had three tackles; the same number of tackles as defensive captain Jerod Mayo.

- I feel like I need to show Pats punter Zoltan Mesko some love. In his second year, Mesko has developed into a very good special teams weapon and can swap field possession for New England. Very rarely does a punter get any attention, but I thought Mesko's play this season was worth a mention.

- The Patriots third receiver has been an issue all season. Chad Ochocinco has struggled, Taylor Price cannot make it on the field and on Sunday, Tiquan Underwood drops a touchdown catch from  Brady in the second quarter. Someone needs to step up and fill that role for New England before they get to the playoffs.

Sterling Moore had never played safety until joining the Patriots this season. Very quietly, Moore has done a pretty good job throughout the past few weeks -- not great -- but pretty good. It's definitely nice to see some of these young players develop.

Chad Ochocinco has made a few plays this season, but there are still some question marks surrounding him. The wide receiver was added to the team's injury report with a reported hamstring issue and was inactive for Sunday's game.  I have a gut feeling the wide receiver will give New England solid production later in the season, but he's definitely not there yet.

Furthermore, I found it curious Drew Rosenhaus, Terrell Owens' agent, was on the sidelines for a portion of the game. It might be nothing, but i just thought it was noteworthy.

- Late in the game, Eagles fans were chanting "Fire Andy." While I do not believe Philadelphia should fire Reid, if they were to let him go, should the Patriots be interested? Not as a head coach, but as an offensive coordinator. Reid does have some differences in philosophy, but many fans have not been particularly pleased with Bill O'Brien and the play calling; a role Reid could fill in the off-season. Do I believe this will actually happen? Probably not, but it does make for interesting discussion.

- When I take a look at my pre-game thoughts and prediction from earlier in the week, I was little off. While I picked the Patriots to win 31 - 27, New England's defense played better than I expected and contained the Eagles high octane offense. Even though the Eagles have struggled this season, there is a lot of talent on that football team and the Patriots did a great job getting a solid win at Lincoln Financial Field in week 12.

I will be posting my "Report Card" and "Tale of the Tape" observations over the next few days. For now, the Patriots will return home to host the Indianapolis Colts next week.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me:@PatriotsHaven!