We said last week that the least important factor of a preseason game is the final score … except when it’s against your Super Bowl LII opponents.
The Patriots may have fallen short against the Philadelphia Eagles in the closing minutes of that game, but they trounced the Birds in Thursday night’s second bout of preseason action with a 37-20 victory.
Gronk Nation fan Denise L. from Chelmsford, Massachussetts, got to see the outstanding performance in person after winning two tickets to the game in our ticket giveaway. Hope you had a blast Denise!
While no one is calling it a “revenge game,” it felt damn good to run up the score in Gillette as a some Philly fan tried to troll them with a banner boasting the final Super Bowl score flying high above the stadium. That was $1,000 not well spent.
Having sat out last week against the Washington Redskins, Tom Brady was on fire Thursday – looking like a QB half his age deep into the season.
“This team needs a great quarterback and you know, hopefully, I can go out and be that,” the 41-year-old phenom said earlier in the week, according to the Boston Herald. And that’s what they got.
Brady finished the night 19-of-26 for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Go-to receivers James White (six catches, 61 yards, TD), Chris Hogan (five catches, 25 yards, TD), and Julian Edelman(four catches, 26 yards) all got some love from TB12.
But that doesn’t mean he was neglecting the newbies. “Whoever’s out there the last three weeks, you’re just trying to get on the same page. We’re not doing a lot of game-planning for these games. It’s just some trust,” Brady said. “The preparation is mostly about us. But, whoever’s out there, we’ve gotta go with. I’m sure it’ll be like that at different points during the season. New guys will come in. We’ve gotta try and get them ready. Obviously all the reps we put in with Julian, (Hogan), Gronk, guys who have been here in the past have been very helpful. Everyone’s just trying to get up to speed. We’re all just trying to do our thing.”
Gronk sat out the game as he has done so often in preseason (always with reaping positive reasons when it really matters), but as usual he was the team’s best – and funniest – cheerleader from the sidelines.
Celebrate The Win With Our Gronk Nation
While the Pats’ offence was lit, their defense smothered any passion in the hearts of Philadelphia players by putting suffocating pressure on QBs Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld.
Rookie linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley scored a 54-yard touchdown return thanks to a blindside strip by Adrian Clayborn, one of eight sacks by our D for the night.
Of course, the real test of any defensive corps’ performance is what Bill Belichick thought of it, which can be summed up in four words: “We had our moments.”
“We had some pressure from different players so there were some good things there. We obviously allowed a lot of passing yardage. There were times when the rush and the coverage didn't really marry up the way we'd like it to,” he said in his Friday morning media conference call according to Patriots.com. “I'd say overall our team defense was good at times, but we need to have more consistency. When you give up over 350 yards passing, that's not good. Knocking the quarterback down, that's good. We need to marry those two together because when we didn't have the coverage on the rush we gave up too much yardage.”
As for Bentley, “Ja'Whaun's done a good job for us in all areas. He has good size. He plays with good power. We saw him make a couple of tackles the past two weeks on the goal line or in close quarters, and played with good power against blockers, and runners, and short-yardage and goal line situations,” Bill praised. “He's been in space. He's a very instinctive player. He finds the ball and has good awareness of the ball, the receiver, the route the guy is running and so forth. He learns every day. He'll learn every week … He's a very intelligent player with good football instincts and a good background.”
Sadly one rookie we’re not going to see for the whole of the 2018 season is top draft pick Isaiah Wynn. The offensive tackle/guard out of the University of Georgia tore his left Achilles in the first quarter of the game while pass blocking and limped off the field.
Patriots’ first-round pick, OT Isaiah Wynn, tore his Achilles vs. the Eagles and he will be out for the season, per source. The worst of the preseason on display.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 17, 2018
Eagles QB Foles also suffered a shoulder injury but it is considered minor – and at least he got a hug from Brady at the end of this game.
#Eagles QB Nick Foles was optimistic and confident that his shoulder injury last night was a minor one... and it is. Source said after tests that’s he’s ok. Don’t expect any prolonged recovery.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 17, 2018