FOXBOROUGH -- With three games scheduled in 10 days, the Patriots had to choose when they wanted to give their starters the most reps. It wasn’t Monday night, as Tom Brady, Wes Welker and many other Pats stars didn’t dress in a 27-17 loss to the Eagles at Gillette Stadium in their second preseason tune-up.
New England’s defense without Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo allowed 144 rushing yards. Eagles running back LeSean McCoy collected 30 yards and a touchdown on seven carries, but only five yards came from the legs of quarterback Michael Vick.
The Eagles intended to use Vick for three quarters in their second preseason game against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. That plan backfired with a jolt from Jermaine Cunningham to Vick’s ribs in his second series. Kyle Love’s pressure gave Cunningham an opening to Vick, who was nearly intercepted.
After the play, Vick walked to the locker room for X-rays on his ribs, which came back negative. Vick has missed three games due to rib injuries in each of the last two seasons.
Nick Foles (18-28) replaced Vick, throwing for 217 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Rookie Ryan Mallett (10-20, 105 yards, TD) and 26-year-old Brian Hoyer (5-17, 55 yards) split time under center for the Patriots.
Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch made his preseason debut with three catches for 51 yards after behind held out of the Saints game 11 days ago. Running back Shane Vereen led with 10 carries for 25 yards. Tight end Alex Silvestro caught New England’s only touchdown, while Stephen Kostkowski made all three attempted field goals including a 55-yarder.
The Patriots will likely give their starters some action Friday when they head to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers. Their preseason schedule concludes next Wednesday on the road against the New York Giants.