Instant Replay: Patriots 42, Eagles 35

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Instant Replay: Patriots 42, Eagles 35

BOX SCORE

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Both teams racked up more than 25 first downs. Both teams went over the 400-yard mark. Both had multiple quarterbacks with passer ratings over 108.2. Both committed more than 80 yards of penalties.

Apparently, defense and discipline were optional Friday night when the Eagles and Patriots clashed at Gillette Stadium in the second preseason game (see 10 observations). The Pats won the slugfest, 42-35, scoring two third-quarter touchdowns that ultimately propelled them to the win.

The Eagles (0-2) tied the game at 28-28 in the third on Damaris Johnson’s 5-yard touchdown catch, but the Patriots scored touchdowns on their next two drives, a 10-yard run by Roy Finch followed by a 28-yard touchdown connection between Ryan Mallett and Brian Tyms, as the Pats (1-1) went up 42-28 and then held on to win the see-saw contest.

The Birds had struck first with cornerback Cary Williams returning a Tom Brady pick 77 yards for a touchdown on New England’s first series, but Brady and Jimmy Garopollo combined for three touchdowns that put New England up 21-7.

Arrelious Benn’s blocked punt set up a second-quarter touchdown pass from Nick Foles to Zach Ertz, then Mark Sanchez entered and threw a touchdown pass -- sort of -- to Benn that tied the game at 21-21.

QB report
Foles bounced back from his two-interception game, completing 8 of 10 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown for a 133.8 passer rating. His counterpart, some guy named Tom Brady, also completed 8 of 10 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. But Brady threw a pick, so his passer rating plummeted to 94.2, which was the lowest of all six quarterbacks who played in the game.

Sanchez once again looked strong. He made one bad toss, resulting in an interception, but otherwise completed 11 of 12 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns for a 112.2 passer rating. Matt Barkley completed 9 of 12 passes for 132 yards with one touchdown and one pick. He posted a 103.5 passer rating.

Offensive hero
Speaking of bounce-backs, how about Jordan Matthews? The kid had the deer-in-the-headlights look against the Bears but came back to catch nine passes on nine targets for 104 yards, an average of nearly 12 yards per catch.

Offensive zero
Not really a shining moment for Ifeanyi Momah. The 6-foot-7 receiver lost a fumble and then somehow gave a touchdown catch to Benn when he failed to secure a diving catch, allowing the ball to bounce into his teammate's hands. Momah played plenty of snaps but finished with two catches for 20 yards.

Defensive hero
Hard to find one when the Eagles allowed more than 30 first downs and more than 420 total yards of offense. Give it to Williams, who behaved himself all week against the same team he called a bunch of “cheaters” and then picked off Brady and ran it back 77 yards for the touchdown.

Defensive zero
Curtis Marsh allowed three touchdowns. Yes, three touchdowns. On one series alone, he was flagged for holding, then pass interference, then gave up a back-shoulder touchdown pass from Brady to Kenbrell Thompkins. Brandon Lafell beat him for a touchdown from Garoppolo and Tims got Marsh for a touchdown from Mallett. If you’re counting, that’s three touchdowns allowed to three different Pats QBs.

Good, then bad
Let’s start with Alex Henery. He had a nice opening kickoff that went about five yards deep into the end zone. Then he kicked an extra point. Then … he missed a 47-yard field goal wide right. Couldn’t have come at a worse time, since his “competitor” Cary Spear had perhaps the worst week of practice you’ll ever see from a kicker. In the same vein, Johnson got open to catch a 5-yard touchdown catch from Sanchez but then bobbled a pretty, arcing spiral from Barkley that turned into an interception. New England then drove downfield and scored a touchdown.

Notable
Nate Allen started opposite Malcolm Jenkins at safety for the second time in two preseason games. ... Vinny Curry had a crippling block along the sideline to help spring Williams’ 77-yard touchdown return. ... The Eagles turned the ball over four times. ... Bennie Logan, who didn’t play against Chicago, started at nose tackle. … The Pats converted their first seven third downs. ... Brandon Graham, who played well against the Bears, didn’t enter the game until late in the third quarter. … With three running backs out, rookie free agent Henry Josey played a ton of reps and turned a reception in the right flat into a 27-yard touchdown with a few nifty moves.

Penalty count
Oh, so, so, so many. Just on Marsh alone. The Eagles were flagged 10 times for 86 yards, while New England drew 11 for 83.

In-game injuries
Williams injured his hamstring on his 77-yard touchdown return and didn’t return. Josh Huff injured his right shoulder on a first-quarter kickoff return and didn’t return. Brandon Boykin suffered from cramps and also didn’t return, but the Eagles said he’s fine.

Injury scratches
Those who didn’t play for injury reasons were: cornerbacks Nolan Carroll (hamstring) and Jaylen Watkins (hamstring), wide receiver Riley Cooper (foot), inside linebacker Jake Knott (hamstring), center Julian Vandervelde (back) and running backs Chris Polk (hamstring), David Fluellen (calf) and Matthew Tucker (hamstring).

NFL Notes: Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott sits out OTAs after minor car crash

NFL Notes: Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott sits out OTAs after minor car crash

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was a passenger in a minor car accident and is missing the first three offseason practices as a precaution.

Elliott, the 2016 NFL rushing champion as a rookie, bumped his head in the crash Sunday night, but running backs coach Gary Brown said Wednesday that Elliott doesn't have a concussion.

Coach Jason Garrett said Elliott would miss the third practice of the week Thursday after sitting the first two sessions with soreness and neck stiffness. Garrett said Elliott was expected to practice next week.

Elliott, who made the All-Pro team after Dallas drafted him No. 4 overall last year, finished with 1,631 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns, both club rookie records.

Redskins: Cousins expects negotiations to go to deadline
ASHBURN, Va. -- Kirk Cousins is getting valuable snaps on the practice field going into his third season as a starter. The Washington Redskins quarterback is also getting just as many chances to answer questions about a long-term contract.

Cousins is facing the prospect of playing a second consecutive season on the franchise tag with a July 15 deadline looming for he and the Redskins to agree on a deal. With less than two months until the deadline, he doesn't seem concerned and doesn't expect anything to happen until the calendar flips to July.

"Deadlines do deals," Cousins said Wednesday after the team's second session of organized team activities. "That's just kind of a rule in negotiating, so why would something happen way before a deadline? It just doesn't make sense. I'm not in a hurry, they're not in a hurry, so we'll just see how things go. I'm being patient."

Cousins said July 15 will be a "telling date" as it was last summer when there was no deal done and he was locked into playing on the franchise tag . After breaking his own franchise record with 4,917 passing yards while making just under $20 million last season, the Michigan State product would make about $24 million this year if he doesn't get a long-term contract.

Cousins one-year salary would be the second-highest of any NFL QB, behind only Cam Newton. But a multi-year agreement would speak volumes about what the organization thinks of the 28-year-old Cousins. Team president Bruce Allen said Monday there is a "constant dialogue" with agent Mike McCartney and that the July 15 deadline would be the driver toward a deal.

Cousins described the talks as "positive," and Allen said he was still optimistic about getting a deal done (see full story).

Browns: Top pick Garrett sits out with a ‘little nick’
BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns are not taking any chances with Myles Garrett, their No. 1 draft pick and $30 million investment.

Garrett is being kept off the practice field by the team this week because of an unspecified injury. The former Texas A&M star would not disclose his medical issue on Wednesday, but said it's nothing significant.

"They just wanted to be cautious about a little nick," Garrett said. "But I'll be back out there next week. I want to be out there. They're holding me right now. But I'll be out there full tilt next week."

Garrett signed a four-year, $30 million contract last week and the Browns aren't taking any chances with their prized first selection. Coach Hue Jackson indicated Garrett might be dealing with something following last week's rookie minicamp, but he didn't reveal Garrett's problem.

"He'll be fine," Jackson said. "Obviously I'm just going to very cautious with guys. Anytime guys have a little soreness, I want to make sure we're totally healthy. I think when we had the rookie minicamp there was a little soreness. I just wanted to make sure that was out before we stuck him out there again" (see full story).

Vikings: Bridgewater recovery still uncertain despite progress
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Teddy Bridgewater has reached the point in rehabilitation where he's able to drop back to pass on his surgically repaired left knee.

Just when the 24-year-old quarterback might return to live action with the Minnesota Vikings remains largely unknown.

"Just hoping that eventually he'll be able to come back on the field, but that's still the unknown," said general manager Rick Spielman, who clarified Wednesday that Bridgewater has not been given the green light for full practice.

That's predictable, considering he's less than nine months removed from the dislocation, torn ACL and other ligament damage that occurred to his knee during a non-contact drill .

But the Vikings raised some optimism about Bridgewater's recovery Tuesday by posting to their website a 38-second, slow-motion video clip of him taking a handful of drop-backs and throws. Their first organized on-field offseason workout was closed to the media.

"We wanted to at least put something out there to show that this is part of his rehab," Spielman said (see full story).

NFL: Pro Bowl returning to Orlando for second consecutive year
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Pro Bowl will return to Orlando in 2018 for the second straight year.

Orlando will host the Pro Bowl on Jan. 28, 2018, at 3 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN and ABC, the NFL announced Wednesday. Last season, the NFL played its all-star game in Orlando for the first time at Camping World Stadium.

The NFL has a two-year deal with an option for a third year to play the Pro Bowl in Orlando.

The 2018 game will feature the AFC vs. NFC format, which returned last season.

Supplement-free Lane Johnson heaviest he's ever been, feels he has much to prove

Supplement-free Lane Johnson heaviest he's ever been, feels he has much to prove

It's only natural to have some reservations about Lane Johnson after he was suspended for 10 games last season for his second violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. One more positive test and the Eagles will lose their starting right tackle for two full years.

Fortunately, Johnson seems determined to avoid any future run-ins with the league. The 27-year-old changed his entire approach this offseason, cutting out negative influences or any other voices at all while preparing for the 2017 season.

"I just trained by myself back in Oklahoma," Johnson said after the Eagles' first full-team practice of OTAs on Tuesday. "Trained by myself and everything went good. I came back, my body weight is about 325, so I'm heavier than I've ever been. I feel in good shape, and I have a lot to prove, so it's a big year for me.

"I did everything by myself. There wasn't going to be any mishaps."

Two suspensions totaling 14 games later, Johnson has gained a healthy fear of being unknowingly steered toward an illegal supplement.

Johnson tested positive for PEDs before the season last year after taking a banned substance known as peptides and was eventually slapped with the full 10-game penalty after a lengthy appeal process. The fifth-year veteran always maintained peptides were not listed on the label of the offending supplement.

Johnson filed a lawsuit against the NFL and the players' association in November after the suspension was upheld. Its status is ongoing.

Johnson also served a four-game suspension in 2014.

When he's not in trouble with the league office, Johnson is a vital cog in the Eagles' offense. They went 5-1 with him and 2-8 without him last season.

"I feel like whenever I'm playing, I try to be the best right tackle in the NFL," Johnson said. "My deal is to just stay on the field, play a complete season, and I think it will be a big year for me."

Johnson isn't concerned about losing a competitive edge, physically or mentally, after dropping supplements altogether.

"I've always been the athlete that I am," Johnson said. "That's what I'll continue to prove. I'm gonna go play and show people what I can do."

Signed in January 2016 to a five-year contract extension worth $56 million, Johnson has plenty to prove. He was working out in place of 35-year-old left tackle Jason Peters, who wasn't at the start of OTAs, on Tuesday and is expected to one day replace the nine-time Pro Bowl selection permanently.

Despite his checkered past, it sounds like Johnson knows exactly what's on the line, which is why he chose to go it alone this offseason. The only person you can trust is yourself.

Then again, Johnson still has his vices, which might raise some eyebrows with the news he's up to 325 pounds — eight more than his listed weight.

"My big deal is cutting out the ice cream, the Ben & Jerry's late at night — the stuff you want to indulge in," Johnson said. "If you get me on an ice cream binge, it's not good."

The Eagles can probably deal with a little extra ice cream, just as long as Johnson remains committed to keeping dodgy supplements out of his body.