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Patriots Live Blog: Eagles Win 27-17

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
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Ryan Mallett (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Ryan Mallett (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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Final: Eagles 27, Patriots 17

That’s all she wrote from Foxboro. Really, there aren’t too many takeaways from this one, as it’s hard to judge a team playing mostly backups against the other team’s starters. It’s definitely worth nothing that Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon did not make cases for providing any sort of stability at the tackle positions, as the offensive line overall struggled yet again. Because of that, it’s hard to judge the backup quarterbacks too harshly. Ryan Mallett looked OK, completing 10 of his 20 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Brian Hoyer never really got much going, finishing 5-for-17 for 55 yards.

Unlike last week, when Chandler Jones earned headlines all over New England, there’s no big star from this one.

Fourth quarter, 2:00, 27-17 Eagles: The Eagles tack on a field goal, which at least eliminates any chance of overtime. For everyone involved, that’s great news.

Fourth quarter, 7:36, 24-17 Eagles: Sustained drive? Not quite. Two runs and an incompletion on a screen pass, and Mesko was back out there. We’re certainly seeing plenty of him this preseason.

Fourth quarter, 9:01, 24-17 Eagles: ESPN’s Mike Tirico just went on a long speech about how the NFL preseason needs to be fixed. No arguments here.

In terms of the game, the Pats are getting the ball back at their own 9-yard line. The offense has been a bit stagnant so a sustained drive would be

Fourth quarter, 12:27, 24-17 Eagles: In the Pats’ preseason opener, it was NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport who broke the bad news about Dane Fletcher. Fortunately for Patriots fans, Rapoport’s bringing good news tonight.

“Good news for the #Patriots that Patrick Chung’s shoulder injury is nothing serious,” Rapoport tweeted. “Exited game, but it’s precautionary.”

Third Quarter Analysis From Levan Reid:

The Highs

On the Eagles’ second possession of the quarter, the Pats got the ball back on downs. It was messy here but the New England defense forced the Eagles to attempt a 55-yard field goal and it was no good.

On the Pats’ second possession of the quarter, they get on the board. Ryan Mallett hit Deion Branch on a 14-yard passing play and then Stephen Gostkowski connected on a 55-yard field goal.

On the Eagles’ third possession of the quarter on a third-and-1, Niko Koutouvides came up with a great open field tackle.

The Lows

The Eagles got the first possession of the quarter and they got on the board. Nick Foles hit DeSean Jackson on a 40-yard passing play. Jackson just beat Sterling Moore and that led to a 3-yard touchdown catch by Clay Harbor. Philly used eight plays to start the quarter and take the lead. The Eagles are picking on Moore.

The Pats went three-and-out on their first possession of the quarter.

On the Eagles’ third possession of the quarter, they put three on the board.

Third quarter, :33, 21-17 Eagles: Niko Koutouvides broke through the line to make a nice third down stop, by Alex Henery hits a 42-yarder to stretch the lead back to a touchdown.

Third quarter, 4:12, 21-17 Eagles: Amid all the non-stories that will come out of this game, the biggest real story may be that Deion Branch has proven he can still play.

It’s unlikely Bill Belichick ever doubted that, but still, the logjam at receiver is going to force the coach to make a decision. On that last drive, Branch caught his third pass of the night along the left sideline, breaking free from tight coverage by Brandon Hughes. He’s averaging 17 yards per catch, and he’s looked like, well, Deion Branch. That (plus a long resume, of course) just might be enough to make this team.

The drive was capped off with a monster kick from Gostkowski, who absolutely drilled a 55-yarder that might have been good from 60.

Third quarter, 6:15, 21-14 Eagles: I fear this game may be reaching that painful point you see in preseason games where things just get … ugly.

A surefire first down was dropped by Damaris Johnson, and the Eagles scrambled just to get their field goal unit onto the field. They were flagged for illegal substitution, but no matter, as the kick sailed well wide and landed short of the goalposts.

Third quarter, 9:36, 21-14 Eagles: The Pats’ drive looked like this: 2-yard rush by Stevan Ridley, 2-yard rush by Stevan Ridley, Mallett incompletion to Stallworth. Punt.

Brandon Bolden atoned a little bit for his earlier punt muff by closing quickly in punt coverage and upending Damaris Johnson.

Third quarter, 11:02, 21-14 Eagles: Nick Foles is making a name for himself, albeit against the Patriots’ backups.

The rookie out of Arizona just led the Eagles on an 80-yard touchdown drive, capped off with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Harbor.

Third quarter, 15:00, 14-14: Football is back on. The Eagles’ offensive starters (minus Vick, of course) remain in the game.

Second quarter analysis from Levan Reid:

The Highs:

The Pats started the quarter and they continued to drive the ball down the field. A 20-yard screen play to Shane Vereen put the Pats inside the 9, and then Ryan Mallett connected with Alex Silvestro for a touchdown. The Pats opened the quarter by putting up some points. The Pats ended up going for two and Shane Vereen punched it in.

On the Eagles’ first possession of the quarter, it was sloppy all the way around but the Pats’ defense was able to force a turnover on downs. Just too many penalties on both sides during this sequence.

On the Pats’ third possession of the quarter, they get on the board again. A big third down play to Deion Branch led to a 35-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski.

On the Eagles’ third possession of the quarter, the Pats’ defense forced them into a 3-and-out. On the third down play, Foles was chased out of the pocket by Bobby Carpenter and Trevor Scott.

On the Eagles’ fourth possession of the quarter, they were moving the ball but then Nick Foles was intercepted by Nate Ebner. That stopped the drive.

The Lows:

After the defense forced a turnover on downs, on the punt, Brandon Bolden muffed the ball and the Eagles recovered at the Patriots’ 24. That would lead to a one-yard touchdown run by LeSean McCoy. The Eagles got on the board, and it’s a rough night for the rookie.

On the Pats’ second possession of the quarter, Brian Hoyer got stripped (or sacked, depending on what you wanna call it). He coughed up the ball and the Eagles recovered. Hoyer’s pocket presence was nowhere to be found on this play. He stood there, the pocket closed and Phillip Hunt hit his arm. That would lead to a one-yard touchdown pass from Nick Foles to Clay Harbor. The Eagles have made the most of the Pats’ fumbles in this quarter. They have put up 14 points.

The Pats scored on their third possession of the quarter but the offensive line is just weak. Solder is getting beat play after play. They need the starters to get in there to help anchor these guys.

On the Pats’ third possession of the quarter, they were forced to punt. There was a good 20-yard passing play to Donte Stallworth from Hoyer but that was it. Hoyer got sacked and that pushed the Pats back.

Halftime, 14-14: Well, we made it to halftime, but not how we expected. Foles led a surprisingly effective drive, getting the Eagles all the way to the Pats’ 30 after a 24-yard scramble.

However, Foles made an awful decision on the ensuing play, and rookie Nate Ebner (yes, the former rugby player) picked him off on the 2-yard line and returned it back to the 36.

Second quarter, :48, 14-14: Brian Hoyer’s feeling the same pressure that Mallett was, and he was just welcomed to the turf by Cedric Thornton.

Mesko just punted the ball into the end zone, as this one’s just about ready for halftime.

Second quarter, 2:39, 14-14: As expected, the call was overturned.

Bolden had a second chance on the punt return, and he absorbed a monster hit from Stanley Havili. This will be a night to forget for Bolden, as far as punt returning goes.

Second quarter, 2:52, 14-14: The Patriots technically just scored on defense, though it will never stand. Brent Celek caught a screen pass and was immediately popped by Bobby Carpenter. The ball came loose, and Trevor Scott picked up the loose ball and scored.

The play is under review though and cannot possibly stand.

Second quarter, 3:09, 14-14: A long catch-and-run by Jeremy Ebert and a clutch play from Deion Branch on third-and-13 go for naught, as the Pats stall out inside the red zone. Gostkowski booted home the chip shot though, and this one’s tied up at 14 all.

Second quarter, 7:00, 14-11 Eagles: The Eagles announced that Michael Vick’s X-rays came back negative, but he won’t return tonight. So much for that Brady-Vick matchup, eh?

Second quarter, 7:38, 14-11 Eagles: Patrick Chung left the game earlier, and it’s now been announced that it’s due to a shoulder injury.

Eagles linebacker Darryl Tapp just got called for roughing the passer on what was a really boneheaded decision. The Pats are set up with first-and-10 from their own 46.

Second quarter, 9:06, 14-11 Eagles: The strip sack proved costly rather quickly, as Nick Foles delivered a nice pass to Clay Harbor in the back corner of the end zone. Harbor tapped his toes, and the Eagles jumped ahead.

Second quarter, 9:52, 11-7 Patriots: Brian Hoyer entered the game and it was rather forgettable. On his second snap, right tackle Marcus Cannon was beat clean by Phillip Hunt, who stripped the ball from Hoyer as he went to throw the ball. The Eagles recovered and they’re set up in business at the 12-yard line.

Second quarter, 10:07, 11-7 Patriots: The Eagles get back on the board thanks to a costly error by Brandon Bolden.

The undrafted rookie was hyped as the heir apparent to BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but he’ll never earn that roster spot if he lets punts bounce right off his chest. That’s what happened on that drive, setting the Eagles up in prime position to score. LeSean McCoy (probably the only bright spot for Philly tonight) handled most of the work, with a nice inside run by Stanley Havili getting them to the 1. McCoy punched it in from there, and the Eagles are on the board.

Second quarter, 13:44, 11-0 Patriots: We’re used to seeing red zone touchdowns for the Patriots go to the tight end, just not usually in this form. Following a beautiful screen to Shane Vereen which set the Pats up inside the 10, Mallett stood comfortably in the pocket and waited for Alex Silvestro to get open along the goal line on an out route. Mallett put the ball in a great place, and Silvestro showed he has the hands to haul it in.

Interestingly, after the Eagles were whistled for illegal substitution on the point after attempt, Bill Belichick and/or Josh McDaniels decided they’d give the two-point conversion a try. Vereen punched it in from the 1, running behind fullback Eric Kettani.

And also of note, Andy Reid gave his starting defense an earful on the sidelines, and Cullen Jenkins took exception to it. The two stood face to face shouting at each other before being separated. Ugly night thus far for the Eagles.

First Quarter Analysis From Levan Reid:

The Highs:

On the Eagles’ first possession of the quarter, the Pats defense held. Brandon Spikes had a good stick on LeSean McCoy on a second down play. Defense continues to play upbeat, picking up from last week.

On the Patriots’ second possession of the quarter, they got on the board. Ryan Mallett guided the team down the field. The Pats got some help on a personal foul call on the Eagles. Then Stephen Gostkowski connected on a 51-yard field goal. Julian Edelman had two catches on that drive for 24 yards.

On the Eagles’ second possession of the quarter, on the very first play, Michael Vick got pressured in the pocket and took a huge hit from Jermaine Cunningham. Vick had to leave the game. On the same possession, the Pats defense held. Cunningham and Dont’a Hightower were big on these downs. Eagles backup Nick Foles was running in the pocket and forced into a couple of incompletions. The Pats defense is getting pressure.

The Pats ended the quarter on a positive note. They are driving with the ball at the Eagles 28. Mallett is making the most of the Eagles’ mistakes and penalties to keep the ball and move it up the field.

The Lows:

On the Patriots’ first possession of the quarter and they get nothing. Marcus Cannon got called for holding and Ryan Mallett overthrew Danny Woodhead on 3rd and long.

On the Patriots’ third possession of the quarter, Ryan Mallett got bailed out. He threw a poor ball and it was intercepted but a roughing the passer call gives the Pats the ball back. Mallett has to be better.

End of first quarter, 3-0 Patriots: The Pats will have a third-and-9 from the Eagles’ 29-yard line coming up. The drive was helped along by a third down holding penalty on Nnamdi Asomugha, which negated a sack, and a roughing the passer penalty on Fletcher Cox, which wiped away an interception.

First quarter, 3:53, 3-0 Patriots: If you knew who Michael Vick’s backup game was going into this game (and you don’t have an Eagles tattoo), then good for you. The rest of us were just introduced to Nick Foles, who looked … not … very … good.

On the more interesting side of things (potentially), let’s see if Mallett can show off that rocket arm a little more this drive. He’s been decent, considering the heavy pressure he’s been feeling on his blind side thanks to Nate Solder, which is definitely worth mentioning at this point.

First quarter, 4:30, 3-0 Patriots: Vick is on his way to the locker room. He was grabbing at his ribs, an area where he’s suffered injuries in the past.

First quarter, 6:01, 3-0 Patriots: This is the big preseason game for the Eagles, but the plans to play the starters into the third quarter may change quickly.

Mike Vick was hit hard by Jermaine Cunningham as he just let go of a long bomb to DeSean Jackson (it fell incomplete). Vick had scrambled away from a charging Kyle Love, but he unknowingly rolled right toward Cunningham, who put his helmet right to the ribs.

Vick is now out on the sideline after getting a visit from the training staff. We’ll keep an eye on Vick to see if he comes back.

First quarter, 6:15, 3-0 Patriots: Stephen Gostkowski missed his only opportunity last week, but he nailed his first one this week, a booming 51-yard boot that perfectly split the uprights.

The highlight of that drive came on a quick wide receiver screen to Edelman, who motioned right to left before the snap and handled a bullet from Mallett behind the line. Edelman showed great burst to pick up a good chunk of yardage and get the drive going.

First quarter, 0-0: 11:00: Just as Jon Gruden was getting comfortable comparing LeSean McCoy to Barry Sanders (!), Brandon Spikes met the running back in the open field and laid a monster hit on the Eagles’ running back. A Vick pass sailed incomplete on third down, leading to an Eagles punt.

Julian Edelman’s believed by many to have a guaranteed roster spot because of his special teams skills, but he just muffed that punt before eventually picking it up and gaining a few yards. In a camp this competitive, fumbling punts is never a good strategy.

First quarter, 0-0, 13:26: Well, that wasn’t much of an opening drive at all. A couple of Shane Vereen runs and a Ryan Mallett incompletion, and Zoltan Mesko’s gotten some early work. Mike Vick and the Eagles are ready to take over.

First quarter, 0-0, 15:00: The Patriots receive the opening kick — something they rarely do — with Donte Stallworth kneeling in the end zone for the touchdown.

7:55 p.m.: Levan Reid also passed along the following quotes from ESPN play-by-play man Mike Tirico:

On the Patriots playing three preseason games in 10 days: “This schedule stinks. I think the whole preseason structure is bad. I think it’s time the league changed it. We need to go to two preseason games, and do more of what the Patriots did two weeks ago against New Orleans [with joint practices before a preseason game] or they’re going to do against Tampa [this week]. I’d put them in the stadiums and cut the prices by 50-60 percent and give access to fans that can’t get here all year. You could have somebody on the PA system saying, ‘Now we’re going to do 7-on-7 drills … this is what this drill does.’ Watch your team come together, watch two good teams, and you might have seen Brady and Brees on the field for 60 or 70 snaps, as opposed to [a preseason game]. The product the NFL gives its fans in the preseason is not the product you have during the year.”

On the Patriots not having big issues compared to other NFL teams: “No drama. How many national stories, even beyond ESPN, have you seen about the Patriots? Very little. That’s fine [for Bill Belichick]. What are the stories? Defense needs to be better. And the depth of the number of people that played in the back end, if they are all healthy are they better? Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower — let’s see them again and can they make a big impact on the defense, and help make the back end better? You mention the O-line, I want to see when you bring back the veterans in terms of receivers — and they added Brandon Lloyd — do we have a better receiving corps that will make this team even tougher to stop offensively? Those are problems teams like to have. The Patriots don’t have the big issues the others have, and that’s why most people think this will be a 12-, 13-, 14-win team and we’ll see you in January.”

He also touched on the Tim Tebow-Mark Sanchez issue in New York and said he doesn’t think they are as bad as they have been over the last two preseason games, but he still doesn’t think it’s going to get much better.

7:45 p.m.: Well, if you were hoping to see the starters in action tonight, you’re going to be very, very disappointed.

Here’s an update from Levan Reid:

The Patriots’ inactive list is almost to big to write down. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t expect to see the starters and some veterans playing tonight.  No Brady, Mayo, Hernandez, Welker, Gronkowski, Lloyd. I’m almost sure there is no Wilfork. That’s strange, because Gronk is out there in uniform warming up but the word is he’s not playing. This will truly be a depth chart game, a chance for the guys who are on the bubble to make a move and maybe solidify a spot before cut day.

Also, we will get a chance to see Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer and see where they are in their development. I think the Pats are strong on Hoyer, but Mallett needs to show something and make some improvement. He will have that chance tonight.

FOXBORO (CBS) — After a long break between games, the Patriots are finally set to get back into game action tonight, when they host Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles.

As is customary with all of Bill Belichick’s preseason games, we have no idea what to expect with regard to playing time for the starters. With another game on the horizon on Friday night, and with cuts due in a week, this game and Friday’s game could be more about competition for the team’s final roster spots than they are about the starters gearing up for the regular season.

But again, who really knows?

So we’ll all tune in to this Monday Night Football affair. Check back here on the live blog throughout the night for updates on the game.

As we all wait for kickoff, check out the Four Stories To Watch.

You can also listen to Andy Hart’s chat with Toucher & Rich from this morning right here.

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