After a poor performance in their preseason opener, a 23-6 loss to the Washington Redskins, New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady and several other starters returned to action Friday night and helped the Patriots take down the Philadelphia Eagles 42-35.
Brady looked like he was going to get off to a hot start but made a key mistake. He drove the Patriots 50 yards in eight plays on the opening drive of the game, but had his next pass picked off by Eagles’ cornerback Cary Williams, who returned it 77 yards for a touchdown. Brady quickly shook that one off, taking the Patriots 74 yards on nine plays, capped by a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kembrell Thompkins. Brady finished eight-of-10 for 81 yards. After an Eagles’ fumble, rookie Jimmy Garoppolo, not fourth-year pro Ryan Mallett, took over for Brady. It took him four plays to go 28 yards, finding H-Back James Develin for a 15-yard touchdown. A series later, he found Brandon LaFell, who came over from the Carolina Panthers in the offseason, for a four-yard touchdown to finish off a 13-play, 75-yard drive.
Foles finally got the Eagles going after going down 21-7 by finding second-year tight end Zach Ertz, who bullied his way by safety Patrick Chung for a six-yard touchdown. Foles exited the game, finishing eight-of-10 for 81 yards. Mark Sanchez entered the game in relief and although he threw an interception to second-year safety Duron Harmon, he threw touchdowns to Arrelious Benn and Damaris Johnson. He finished the day an extremely impressive 11-of-12 for 117 yards.
The third quarterbacks to play for each team weren’t bad either. Ryan Mallett went seven-of-11 for 92 yards with a touchdown pass to Brian Tymss while Matt Barkley went nine-of-12 for 132 yards with a touchdown pass to rookie running back Henry Josey and an interception.
Stevan Ridley rushed for 45 yards on nine attempts but was pulled after a fumble – Ridley was benched for fumbling issues last season. The Patriots piled up 213 yards on the ground and 226 through the air. They also forced four Eagles’ turnovers.
Josey rushed for 56 yards on eight carries and the Eagles racked up 413 total yards.
The Eagles had a chance to score but had turned the ball over on downs at the Patriots’ one-yard line with 4:39 to play. The Patriots then used an 11-play, 64-yard drive to run the clock out.
The Patriots will host the Carolina Panthers on Friday night and the Philadelphia Eagles will return home to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday night.