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).

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie rails against political polarization in Washington

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie rails against political polarization in Washington

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie isn't often very outspoken on football or political matters. 

He has apparently made an exception. 

Just a few days before Lurie is tentatively scheduled to speak to Philadelphia reporters while in Phoenix for the league's annual meetings, the Eagles owner authored a story for Time Magazine railing against political polarization in Washington.

Lurie has not spoken to reporters publicly since last March in Boca Raton, Florida, at the 2016 owners meetings. 

The owner's essay was published just hours after House Republican leaders pulled legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Friday afternoon. Lurie, for the record, donated money to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign last year.

Lurie, the Eagles' 65-year-old billionaire owner, in the story, uses football as an example for which Washington should strive. 

Here's how Lurie begins the piece:

"What do football, political polarization and autism have in common? They all illuminate aspects of the human condition, explaining who we are, where we are headed and the hurdles along the way. As a sports team owner I rarely publicly discuss politics, but as a member of a family touched by autism, I often think about the unspoken millions of people who live with the daily challenges of this disorder."

Lurie then goes on to explain why football can act as a guide for Washington when it comes to united for the common good:

"What I have learned from football can be applied to society at large. Just as we intensely game-plan against an opponent in sports, we need to game plan for the reality and consequences of polarization. Extreme polarization is the opponent -- not each other. A football team is made up of players from a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences and political viewpoints. What unites them is grit, determination, and the desire to win. They join in a common goal and do what is necessary to transcend their differences for the greater good of their team.

"What unites Americans is far more negative. We are now in an age where communicating verifiable information becomes secondary to the goal of creating a common enemy that unifies people in fear, negativity and opposition. This masks our inability to solve serious domestic problems (poverty, violence and institutional racism to name three current examples) and diverts our attention from obvious suffering."

Lurie then writes that we, as Americans, have the "necessary resources" to tackle serious problems, like autism, but lack the leadership to put aside differences. 

The whole piece isn't very long and is worth reading in full to gain a better understanding of its context. 

Next week while in Phoenix, Lurie will surely be asked about what motivated him to write the piece. 

Eagles withdraw all but 1 rule proposal for owners meetings

Eagles withdraw all but 1 rule proposal for owners meetings

As the annual NFL meetings get set to kick off next week, the Eagles originally proposed four playing rule changes and a resolution that could have eventually led to bringing back Kelly green uniforms as an alternate option. 

But after getting feedback from the NFL's competition committee, the Eagles are withdrawing all but one proposal, according to league sources. 

The only one left would prohibit players from leaping over the line of scrimmage on kicking plays. For now, players are allowed to leap line as long as they don't make contact. That proposal, which the NFLPA has previously supported, seems likely to pass. 

That means the other three playing rule changes and the proposal to allow teams to wear helmets that would match their alternative jerseys won't be specifically discussed. 

Translation: No Kelly green jerseys yet. 

Among the 15 proposed playing rule changes the league released on Friday, teams were responsible for seven of them and the Eagles accounted for four of the seven. 

Just because a specific proposal won't be directly discussed, it doesn't mean that topic won't be discussed by the committee in Phoenix during next week's annual league meetings. 

For instance, one of the Eagles' proposals would alter the current replay system. While the Eagles' individual proposal won't be discussed, replays will be a topic of discussion during the meetings.