Eagles (5-7) vs Patriots (10-2) Week 13 – Recap

I have been very critical of this team from the front office through the coaching staff and down to the 53 man roster, and rightfully so.  The Philadelphia Eagles proved me wrong today beating the Patriots 35 – 28.  What a great game from a team that desperately needed one.  They went into New England and beat one of the best teams in the league.  It got a little dicey at the end but the deficit was too much for the Patriots to over come.  I am in favor of Chip Kelly being replaced at years end if the bottom falls out of this season.  I’m on record asking for his job and I’ll stand by that statement.  One win doesn’t change how I feel.  There is a larger body of work to look at.  More so than 1 week.  That being said, Jeffrey Lurie is a well known Bostonian.  By virtue of this victory that all but locks in a return for Chip.  Now, if they lose the remaining 4 games in blowout fashion that could change but it looks like chip is safe.

Here is the prediction from my preview blog.  I’m happy to say I was dead wrong about this prediction.  Hopefully I’ll be wrong the rest of the season.

WHAT I LIKED

Chip Kelly – As mentioned above myself and all fans have been hard on Kelly recently but he really did a great job yesterday.  He got this team ready to play and it was clear he made some adjustments.  We all know DeMarco Murray doesn’t fit here.  He’s seeing ghosts when he’s carrying the ball.  Murray is bouncing everything and avoiding holes.  Chip realized it wasn’t working, so he went with the younger Barner and veteran Sproles.  These guys did a good job hitting the hole and fighting for extra yards.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this was Murray’s role for the remainder of the season.

Offensive Line – The Eagles offensive line was perfect yesterday.  They pitched a shut out against the likes to Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich.  They kept Bradford clean giving up 1 sack and only allowing 3 QB hits.  The only reason they gave up the sack was on a QB run in the 4th Quarter where Bradford couldn’t quite get to the line of scrimmage.  In comparison the Patriots allowed 13 QB hits and 4 sacks.

Defensive Line – Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and Fletcher Cox really stood out to me.  These guys got after Brady and company all game.  Graham had 4 QB hits by himself.  They tallied up 4 sacks including one by Conor Barwin who rushed the passer on a more frequent basis than in previous games.

Defensive Backs – I understand the Patriots trotted out the JV wideouts and JV tight ends.  The Eagles still had to make plays and thats exactly what they did.  Eric Rowe did an outstanding job.  He was tested often and really held his on.  The Patriots tried to get Brandon Lafell over the top on him multiple times and he shut it down every time.  EJ Biggers was workman like in the slot as well.  In the second half he really held down Amendola tackling him right away on flanker screens.  Maxwell and Jenkins added game changing interceptions as well.  Jenkins interception  was the Eagles first ever INT against Brady.  It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Sam Bradford – Bradford saw game action for the first time in 3 weeks.  After missing the previous two games he went 14/24 120 YDS and 2 TDs.  I know those numbers aren’t great but most importantly 0 turnovers.  He arguably made the play of the game completing a 3/10 pass to Riley Cooper.  The pocket started to collapse around him.  Sam stood firm, kept is eyes downfield and delivered a strike to close out the game.

Special Teams – We’ve been waiting for these special teams all year.  Last year this unit was outstanding and really fell off this year.  A punt block/return for TD and a punt return by Darren Sproles all but buried the Patriots.  Chris Maragos deserves to be first in the lunch line at Nova Care this week.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

Penalties – Eagles had 8 penalties for 97 yards.  I know the worst officiating crew was handling this game but that’s still no excuse.   Before halftime they had 7 for 92.  They were able to clean it up in the second half but the offense stalled in the first half because of the flags.

End of Game Hands – Zach Ertz and Kenjon Barner almost played spoiler to a great Eagles win, snatching the defeat from the jaws of victory.  Ertz had a very easy onside kick recovery.  He just dropped the ball and the pats were able to recover.  After the recovery they drove the field for a TD.  Kenjon Barner really blew it.  He might have blown his chance at additional carries in future games.   Keep in mind Ryan Mathews will be back soon so normally he wouldn’t even have been in that game situation.  He was fighting with he ball and got a little sloppy.  Jamie Collins ripped the ball out and of course the Patriots recovered.  Barner needs to be better and realize he doesn’t need to fight for extra yards.  Understand where the team is in relation to score and time.  This is a learning experience for the young RB.

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