By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia Eagles started their 2023-24 NFL season facing an old rival in the New England Patriots. On a day that the Patriots honored Tom Brady. The Eagles were able to take advantage of two turnovers by the Patriots to escape with the 25-20 victory over a New England squad that will be a problem this season.
The Eagles investment in re-tooling their defensive unit this offseason paid off in this game. The pressure got to Mac Jones early and it forced him to make a bad throw which ended up in the hands of Darius Slay Jr. for a 70-yard house call and that got the Eagles started early. Then one of the Eagles many Georgia Bulldogs Jordan Davis was able to punch the ball out from Ezekiel Elliott which gave the Eagles a shortened field that was capped off with a Devonta Smith touchdown catch. Other than that Philadelphia did not really get off to a good offensive start. Credit for that goes to the Patriots defensive unit which sacked Jalen Hurts three-times and forced him to fumble the football late in the game. They took full advantage of having seven months to prepare for the Eagles high-powered offense. They were able to shut down windows of opportunity for the Eagles on offense and shutdown their explosive run game as well. With a shortened week coming up against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night the Eagles will have to find a way to get a more balanced offensive attack because that is when they are at the best when they are attacking opposing defenses on the ground and from the air. Additionally, they need to get Dallas Goedert more involved in the offensive attack as well they only looked his way once this game and they really did not attack the Patriots in the middle or in their secondary which is not as talented as their defensive line. Having a more multi-faceted attack will be imperative if they want to beat the Vikings and return to the Super Bowl this year.
On the team’s performance in this afternoon’s game, “We just have to look ourselves in the mirror. And get **** straight” said Eagles Cornerback Darius Slay Jr.
For their part New England weathered the early storm from the Eagles who were threatening to run them out of Gillet Field in the first quarter. Once they were able to get better protection around Jones, he was able to carve up the Eagles like steak being cut up on the grill. He got the ball out fast and found the Patriots playmakers who made the Eagles pay for giving them any room to get more yards after the catch. The Patriots outscored the Eagles 20-to-nine from the second quarter on. Taking full advantage of the Eagles inexperienced linebacker unit which was easily manipulated by the more experienced Jones via a pump fake or eye movement to allow the Pats to attack the middle of the field or the secondary. Jones completed 35/54 passes, for 316-yards, and completed three touchdown passes a solid day for somebody who looked like he was shellshocked by the Eagles pressure early in this game. If the Patriots offensive line can give Jones the time, he needs to dissect the defensive attack the Patriots will make some noise in the loaded AFC East.
The difference in this game for Philadelphia was the two turnovers and the defensive line finally getting some pressure and putting Jones on the ground two pivotal times that ruined two Patriots offensive drives. The Eagles made plenty of mistakes tonight that they will need to clean up before facing a Minnesota Vikings squad that will be trying to avoid losing their first two games of the season. If the pressure does not put Kirk Cousins on the ground, he will find Justin Jefferson for six-points. That’s a hookup the Eagles will need to neutralize if they want to get their second victory of the young season on Thursday night.