In a Super Bowl LII rematch – one of the most offensively-charged title tilts of all time – it was the defensive-minded Patriots who came out with the win on Sunday, capturing a narrow 17-10 victory over the Eagles in Philly.
Julian Edelman threw for one touchdown pass – a third-quarter heave for Phillip Dorsett that gave New England the lead for good – and added five catches for 53 yards in the win. Benjamin Watson had three catches for 52 yards. And while Tom Brady set a personal record with 14 first-half incompletions, he finished relatively strong, going 26-for-47 for 216 yards.
On the other side of the ball, Carson Wentz went 20-for-40 for 214 yards and a touchdown. But he was also sacked five times and frustrated throughout much of the last three-plus quarters.
Things started slowly for New England, which fell behind by double digits in the first quarter. But after a 95-yard first-half drive by the Eagles, which ended with a 5-yard pass from Wentz to Dallas Goedert to make it 10-0, the Philly offense was stymied the rest of the afternoon.
One of the unsung heroes of Sunday’s game? Kicker Nick Folk. While the New England offense was leaving points on the field in the first quarter, the kicker did his job, connecting on three first-half field goal attempts (35, 22, and 39 yards) to make it 10-9 at the half.
In the second half, the Pats used some uptempo in the early going to find a rhythm, and they capped it off with 15-yard touchdown pass from Edelman (after getting a backward pass from Brady) to a wide-open Dorsett. The two-pointer was good, giving New England a 17-10 lead with 10:49 to go in the third.
A fourth-quarter drive from Philly drive fell short when a fourth-down Wentz pass to the end zone for Nelson Agholor was off the mark, giving the ball back to the Patriots.
How the game unfolded:
7:43 p.m.: That’s it -- 17-10, Patriots.
7:37 p.m.: That pass for Agholor was just off the mark, and the Pats will get the ball back. The game isn’t over yet -- Philly could still get the ball back. But it’s a big step forward for New England.
7:25 p.m.: Philly has managed to get out of the shadow of its own end zone here, but some nice defensive work by the Pats has stymied Wentz and the Eagles, preventing them from crossing midfield.
7:11 p.m.: The Pats and Eagles are going back and forth here in the fourth, with both defenses dominating. New England punted the ball away again, and Philly will get possession inside its own 20. The Patriots have a 17-10 lead with 10:04 left. We’re not quite at the point where New England might be inclined to trade points for clock -- if the Pats were up two scores, maybe. But it’s too close right now. Basically, New England can’t afford to get sloppy here, even though the defense has played well in the second half.
6:54 p.m.: That’s the end of the third quarter. Really good stop there by the Philly defense. Think the unspoken belief here is that the Eagles’ offense won’t be able to tie things if this defense allows another touchdown, and so that group has responded. This game still feels a little dicey for the Patriots -- New England is winning the battle for field position, but the Pats still need to string together some first downs to close this out.
6:45 p.m.: Pats did themselves no favors there with that offensive series, so the Eagles will get the ball back inside their own five-yard line after a nice special teams play from punter Jake Bailey and Matthew Slater. Pats are up 17-10 with 3:15 left in the third.
6:40 p.m.: Starting to feel like the Patriots can really put their stamp on this one with another touchdown. They had a solid defensive stand -- punctuated with a sack -- a lousy punt from Philly, and are now at midfield with the ball and a seven-point lead midway through the third quarter. Feels like it’s an awful long way from that 10-0 start -- the Eagles are a bit of a mess right now, and New England can take advantage.
Phillip Dorsett is going to the locker room.— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) November 17, 2019
Eagles' offense since their TD: Punt, punt, fumble, punt. Only 14 total yards— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) November 17, 2019
6:22 p.m.: That quick stuff -- and some trickeration -- paid off nicely for the Pats, as Julian Edelman delivered a touchdown strike to Phillip Dorsett to make it 15-10. The Pats tacked on a sucvcessful two-point conversion, and it’s now 17-10 with 10:49 left in the third. It’s the first regular-season TD pass for Edelman.
6:18 p.m.: Pats tried to run some quick tempo stuff against the Ravens to jump start the offense. Looks like they may be trying to some of that here to start the second half.
6:02 p.m.: That’s the half -- Pats are down, 10-9. New England did well to take Philly’s early punch, but the Pats have left a lot of points on the field, and have struggled to gain any real offensive traction. Brady’s 14 first-half incompletions are a personal low for him. But as poorly as they have played at times, they’re only down by one, and they get the ball to start the second half.
5:55 p.m.: The Patriots were forced to settle for a 39-yard field goal -- the third of the game for Nick Folk -- and it’s 10-9 with 1:44 left in the first half. New England is hanging around here, but the Pats are leaving points on the field here in the first half.
5:45 p.m.: Patriots miss out on a touchdown opportunity there with a few misfires in the red zone, and end up settling for a 22-yard field goal. It’s 10-6 late in the first half, but this one should really be tied at 10 right now.
5:33 p.m.: Nice sequence by the defense and a sharp looking return from Sanu have the Pats poised to take advantage here in the late stages of the first half. Let’s see if New England can do something with this field position--the Pats have absorbed Philly’s first punch, and they are still very much in the game.
5:29 p.m.: Patriots get a stop here, and they get a score, it’s worth noting they’ll get the ball to start the second half. As much as New England has struggled here in the early going, the Pats are still very much in this one.
5:25 p.m.: Brady doesn’t look comfortable here in the first half. The Pats need to scheme something up that’ll give him some more time, and allow his pass catchers to get some separation. And the early drops aren’t helping either.
Patriots hold the ball for 13 plays and 3:59 off the clock, but stall once they reach the Red Zone. Brady can't find anyone, not looking very comfortable.— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) November 17, 2019
Eagles 10, Patriots 3 with 8:37 left 2Q.
5:10 p.m.: That interception from Jones is overturned, and Philly has the touchdown. Thus far, this one is playing out an awful lot like the last one against the Ravens -- Pats are struggling to get offensive traction against a scrappy younger team on the road. Extra point is good, and it’s 10-0 with 12:36 to go in the first half. You don’t see many 95-yard touchdown drives against this New England defense.
5:03 p.m.: The first quarter is in the books, and the Eagles are up, 3-0. Brady is 3-5 for 27 yards, but the Pats have run just nine plays, and have failed to get any real offensive traction. On the other side, Carson Wentz is 6-9 for 46 yards, and has the Eagles in New England territory.
4:59 p.m.: Eagles doing well to keep the chains moving on this drive, especially on that screen pass to Dallas Goedert. Patriots need to get a stop here.
4:50 p.m.: Great play there by Grugier-Hill to make that run stop. A former #Patriots draft pick, NE tried to keep him around a few years ago. Pats tried to slip him through to the practice squad, but Philly picked him up. Still 3-0 with 7:09 left in the first quarter.
4:47 p.m.: Patriots starters
Defense: Guy, Shelton, Wise, Van Noy, Collins, Hightower, Bentley, Gilmore, J. McCourty, Jones, D. McCourty
Offense: Brady, Michel, Bolden, Edelman, Dorsett, Watson, Newhouse, Thuney, Karras, Mason, Cannon
4:44 p.m.: Second “semi” deep ball where Jason McCourty was targeted. One penalty, one incomplete. Do they want to go at him? Something worth watching. On another note, that last flag on the Eagles is the flip side to those RPOs--you have to be especially mindful as an offensive lineman. Can’t get too far downfield. Good call on the Eagles to nullify that first down.
4:39 p.m.: Patriots are going to have to get the ball out quickly against this hyperaggressive Philly front. Eagles are going to be bringing it all day -- look for New England to try and use that against them with reverses, screens, etc. Going to be a challenge.
4:33 p.m.: The Eagles are on the board first, thanks in large part to that PI call on Jason McCourty, a flag that set them with great field position. (It was the fourth penalty of the year on McCourty -- he’s tied for the team lead.) The New England defense stood up well in the high red-area, holding the Eagles to a field goal. It’s 3-0 with 13:38 left in the first quarter. (On a separate note, maybe it’s me, maybe it’s part of the new PI rules, but after every incomplete pass, it feels like there’s an offensive player complaining about a no call. Just enough.)
4:24 p.m.: Patriots win the toss and defer. Time for the Foosball!
4:05 p.m.: New PI call situation going well.....
4:03 p.m.: I’m going with New England in this one with a late cover. I’ll say Patriots 27, Eagles 21.
3:55 p.m.: This will be Vinovich’s second New England game of the season -- he was the lead official for the 43-0 win over Miami in South Florida earlier in the year.
Bill Vinovich will be working as the referee for today's #Patriots-#Eagles game. He's worked several big New England contests over the years, including Super Bowl XLIX. For more on his record as an official, check out his page here. https://t.co/quC5eur91d— Boston Globe Sports (@BGlobeSports) November 17, 2019
3:35 p.m.: As we’re waiting on Patriots-Eagles this afternoon, I’m sitting here and watching the Ravens carve the heart out the Texans and wondering: Does this game tell us more about Houston or Baltimore? In other words, have we overrated the Texans -- are they nothing more than a team that’s probably 9-7 and a fringe wild-card contender? Or are the Ravens this good, a team using the last few weeks to announce itself as one of the NFL’s elite? I’m inclined to think it’s more of the latter than the former. But there’s a lot of football left. Regardless, this Baltimore team is clicking on all cylinders right now and doing a terrific job keeping the pressure on New England when it comes to that No. 1 seed.
3:28 p.m.: When it comes to the latest betting line, not much has changed over the course of the week -- it obviously depended on who you listened to, but this one opened with the Patriots as three- to four-point favorites, and really didn’t move too much over the last few days. Odds Shark had New England as a 4.5-point favorite as of this afternoon, which feels about right. When it comes to the spread, Odds Shark also has the Patriots at 15-6 in their last 21 games after an ATS loss, something to keep in mind. I think there coule be some dicey moments in this one, but New England should barely cover in this one. (I say the Patriots in a close one -- weigh in with your vote here.)
Tom Brady's weapons vs. Eagles:— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) November 17, 2019
WR: Edelman, Sanu, Dorsett, Harry, Meyers
RB: Michel, White, Burkhead, Bolden
TE: Watson, LaCosse
Maybe the healthiest the Patriots have been at the skill positions since Week 1.
3:10 p.m.: Looks like weather won’t be a big issue for Sunday afternoon -- the chance of precipitation is relatively minimal, and temps will be pretty much stuck in the lower 40s. A seasonable afternoon -- good football weather.
3:01 p.m.: Damien Harris, Patrick Chung, Byron Cowart, Cody Kessler, Ryan Izzo, Korey Cunningham, and Gunner Olszewski are the inactives for the Patriots Sunday afternoon. The most notable news to come out of this annoncement? N’Keal Harry is active. Doesn’t mean he’s going to play a whole lot, but the simple fact that he’s available is big for a New England team that could use a boost at wide receiver. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds -- I imagine that if he feels comfortable and gets some snaps, it could be at the expense of Mohamed Sanu, who has (at least from the outside) looked very comfortable in the Patriots’ passing game to this point in his career with New England. I also wonder if he’s purely a red-zone threat this afternoon. It’s been an area where the Patriots could also use some help, and a big body like Harry would certainly help. Regardless, here’s hoping the youngster gets a chance to show what he can do.
As for the others, there are no real surprises -- both Chung and Harris were downgraded earlier on the weekend, while the others have been healthy scratches for at least a portion of the season. Still going to be interesting to see who matches up on Philly’s tight ends -- Chung has been so good for so long at the job, but he’s not available.
2:35 p.m.: Biggest question of the day when it comes to the New England offense.
2:20 p.m.: Welcome back to football! The Patriots return to the field Sunday afternoon for a date with the Eagles in what promises to be a compelling contest for a few reasons, including the fact that New England might be able to get a little payback for Super Bowl LII. We’ll have the usual pregame rundown -- weather updates, latest betting information, inactive analysis (schedule for just before 3 p.m.) and a prediction, as well as all the updates you need all day.
We’ll kick things off -- per usual -- with your pregame reading list to get you ready: