The Patriots took pride in redeeming themselves against the Eagles after their loss in Super Bowl LII. Since their last matchup, much has improved on New England’s end; the most important of which is their defense. The defensive line took home the MVP in their 37-20 victory over Philadelphia.
The defensive has been the most inconsistent part of the Patriots team since last season. However, the defensive line couldn’t have looked more prepared for the coming season in this game. During the Eagles’ first 3 drives, the defense only allowed 3 yards and 1 first down, with 2 sacks. Overall, the line finished the game with 8 sacks for 47 yards, 7 tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hits, and 1 forced fumble. The defensive line held its own the entire game, with no help from the secondary. They only let Philadelphia convert for a first down 3 times during the entire time. Had the secondary been as strong as the defensive line, the Eagles wouldn’t have scored at all during the game.
Cordarrelle Patterson, a new addition to the team from the Oakland Raiders, had an impressionable first game as a Patriot. He finished the game with 4 receptions for 51 yards and 1 touchdown. Brady threw a short pass to Patterson who turned around, broke his defender’s ankles, then jogged into the end zone for an easy touchdown to put New England even further in the lead with a score of 34-7. The wide receiver’s first touchdown of the season was incredibly athletic and a good indication of what he’s capable of achieving.
James White never fails to put up a good performance, even in the preseason when everyone is still working out their kinks. The running back wrapped up with 4 carries for 31 yards, 6 receptions for 61 yards, and 1 touchdown. White motivated his team to keep pushing, all the while making his job look too easy. The way he weaves around defenders as if they’re standing still is amazing; he practically walked into the end zone for his touchdown. Brady targeted White the most during this game, and he will continue to favor him during the regular season.
The entire secondary put up a mediocre performance during this game. From start to finish, each player showed lackluster enthusiasm for the sport they were playing. There was no urgency to get to the spot, to fight for positioning, or to stop the receiver. The Eagles converted for a total of 22 first downs during the game, 15 of which were by passing. They recognized early in the game that the way for them to fight back was to attack the holes in the secondary. The defensive line gave them nothing, but the secondary was too slow to keep up. Philadelphia only rushed for a total of 43 yards, but their passing game earned them 316 yards. The secondary has a lot of wind sprints ahead of them if they want to keep up with the rest of the defense this season.
Grissom had 2 tackles and 2 quarterback hits during the game. His performance wasn’t terrible, but the 2 penalties he received were. The first penalty he received was for pass interference and brought the Eagles to the spot of his foul, near the end zone. The result of his error was Philadelphia’s first touchdown of the game. Later in the game, Grissom was called for holding, and the offense was again brought right up to the end zone. Luckily the first half ended before the Eagles could make anything happen, but fouls like those can cost New England big time in games that matter.
Jordan Richards had a similar game to Geneo Grissom. He finished the game with 1 tackle and 1 pass defended. The pass he broke up was in the end zone, a critical stop to give the Patriots more momentum. However, he had 2 penalties that cost the Patriots part of their lead during the game. Richards lowered his head to tackle an Eagles player at the end of the third quarter, which cost the team an additional 15 yards and put them right in position to score on the next play. On that next play, the defensive back was called for grabbing another player’s face mask. Belichick is going to have words for all the players who collected avoidable penalties during this game.
New England’s next game will be against the Carolina Panthers. The secondary has the most to improve on from this last game and if they can’t pull themselves together, the Panthers will tear them apart.
-Caitlyn Allen is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media and covers the New England Patriots. Follow her on Twitter @caitlyyyn_allen