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MORSE: Observations in Patriots’ Loss to Eagles

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
2 weeks ago at 4:02 pm ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

MORSE: Observations in Patriots’ Loss to EaglesEric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Some observations from the Patriots’ loss to the Eagles.

There are no such things as moral victories in the NFL. However, you can feel good about the performance of your New England Patriots against Philadelphia yesterday.  In typical Belichick style, his defense keeps them in the game until the offense can figure things out.  The game is close in the 4th Quarter with a chance to win the game at the end.  Yes, there is plenty of room for improvement and they put themselves behind the eight ball with a poor 1st Quarter (Trailed 16-0), but the offense adjusted, and Mac Jones had his best day as a Pro.

Mac Jones outplayed Jalen Hurts statistically, but not when it counted.  He was 35-54 for 316 yards and 3 passing TDs.  The one interception, an overthrown ball, ended up being a pick six and the difference in the game.

  • He missed Kendrick Bourne on another deep throw because he had too much arc on the ball and underthrew him. He was wide open for what should have been a TD.
  • Do we need to question Jones arm strength or was it just throwing off his back foot?

“I definitely let the team down tonight. … We couldn’t score because of me.” – Mac Jones

“They gave me the ball twice to win the game, and I couldn’t do it.” – Mac Jones

“We certainly did enough things to make it competitive. we had our chances… We just need to make a few more better plays. There were multiple opportunities all the way down the line.” – Bill Belichick

You must be encouraged by how both the Offense Defense and Special Teams played in this game.  There was no hesitation getting plays into the game.  The Offense was playing with pace.  With two rookies (Sidy Sow LG and Antonio Malfi RG) on the line and a starting Tackle (Calvin Anderson) who didn’t play a snap in Pre-season the Offensive line played well.  They were good against the pass and mediocre against the run. There is obvious room for improvement but there is also hope this group can gel into a cohesive unit capable of dominating the opponent.  No team ever won the Super Bowl in week one!

Penalty calls cannot be passed over and I thought the officials were quite inconsistent.  Two critical offensive holding calls against the Patriots were very questionable.  Bill Belichick was on the sideline berating the official.  Additionally, there was an obvious taunting play where Marcus Jones had a return and was tackled out of bounds and the defender got up and flexed while standing over the prone Jones.  That is taunting 99 times out of 100 but wasn’t called.

The Rookies    

Overall, they played great.  Keion White is a beast and gave All-Pro Right Tackle Lane Johnson fits.  His presence was felt on the field.  We already talked about the play of the rookie Offensive Lineman.    Marte Mapu didn’t play much but had 3 tackles.  He did play Free Safety some.  Christian Gonzalez was picked on as predicted buy he came up huge in the 4th quarter when he broke up a fourth down pass attempt to DeVonta Smith.  He ended with 7 tackles of which 5 were solo.  Pop Douglas had 4 catches for 40 yards.  Kayshon Boutte played a lot more than I thought he would.  He had catches ruled incomplete because he made a rookie mistake not keeping both feet inbounds.  I bet he will be working on that all season long until he can do it in his sleep.  The last one was on 4th down when he would have made the 1st and kept the drive alive.  Bryce Baringer was great at changing field positions.  He averaged 45.2 yards per kick with a long of 65 yards.  He had 4 of 5 punts inside the 20 and 3 inside the 10.  The other kick was a touchback.  He is a weapon.

Can’t go without mentioning the Kickoff Returns by Ty Montgomery.  He had a 43 yarder in his 2 Kickoff returns.


Jake Elliott won the game for the Eagles going 4 for 4 making kicks of 58, 51, 41 and 32 yards.  On the other hand, the Patriots and Bill Belichick can be criticized for not kicking and going for it at the 9:32 mark of the 4th Quarter at the Philadelphia 17-yard line.  He didn’t let Chad Ryland kick.  If he taken the Field Goal, the Patriots were playing for field position at the end of the game to kick the game winning Field Goal.  Belichick can’t get off easy on this one.

Myles Bryant had the game of his career.  His tackling was very noticeable with 6 tackles and 5 solo.

The Defense played well holding the Eagles to just 3 points on their 1st drive and made them run 14 plays to get there.  The 70-yard pick six wasn’t the Defense’s fault, and the turnover at the 26-yard line gave Philadelphia short field.  Overall, they held the Eagles to 257 yards of Offense, 97 rushing including holding Hurts to 37 yards.  Hurts only had 154 yards passing.

Ja’Whuan Bentley was his steady self, leading the team with 9 tackles.

Where was JuJu Smith Schuster on the final play for the Patriots?  He was on the sideline!  Kayshon Boutte was in.  Was this injury related or was he just ineffective?

The Tight Ends were 8 of 9 when targeted with Hunter Henry getting a TD and making a great grab late.

This game was much closer than I thought it was going to be.  The Patriots played well enough to come away with a victory but let it slip through their hands at the end instead of grasping that golden ring.  I am encouraged they will be a competitive team this season and they will get better.  Lack of playing time together in the Pre-Season showed.  Philadelphia can get away with that because they are a veteran team.  If Sidy Sow had played Left Guard all Pre-Season we may have had a different outcome.

Unfortunately, things don’t get better right away as they face the Miami Dolphins next Sunday night.

Posted Under: Patriots News

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