BOSTON (CBS) – Stick with CBSBostonsports.com’s Patriots-Eagles LIVE Blog for all the updates from the Patriots preseason opener:
Final – Patriots 31, Eagles 22: Nothing like a good preseason football game on a Friday night, huh?
Well, maybe not towards the end — even for all the Tebow fanatics. But the Patriots held on for the 31-22 win, and the first team offense looked solid in their two drives.
Tom Brady was Tom Brady — going 7-for-8 for 65 yards and a touchdown, spreading it out to four different receivers.
His backups weren’t so good, with Mallett looking very uncomfortable on the field before leaving with a head injury. Tebow took over and went the rest of the way, going 4-for-12 for 55 yards in the air, and rushing for 31 yards on four carries. But he was mostly ineffective while on the field, and still has a long ways to go.
The Patriots defense did not look great either, but played mostly their second-unit. And to pile on, special teams wasn’t all that special either. But it’s just the first preseason game, so Belichick has plenty of time to straighten things out.
The Pats defense did come up with a stop on the final play of the game, with the Eagles threatening to put in one final score on the evening. But Dane Fletcher was there to stuff Matt Tucker to end the game. It was a solid game for Fletcher, in his first game back since his injury last preseason, finishing with three tackles.
We’ll have plenty more reaction and analysis coming your way, and 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV both have postgame shows to break it all down.
4th Quarter, 2:33: The Eagles marched down the field again, but once again, turned it over on downs after unsuccessfully going for it on fourth down.
Matthew Tucker tried to go up the middle on 4th-and-3, but a wall of Patriots met him there for the stuff.
The Patriots take over deep in their own zone with 2:33 left, so look for lots of running on this possession.
4th Quarter, 6:36: And there goes Tim Tebow and the Pats offense.
A very quick three-and-out on that drive, with Tebow getting sacked for an eight-yard loss on 1st-and-10. He couldn’t hit Brandon Bolden on 2nd down, and then hit Aiken for eight yards on 3rd-and-18.
Tebow now 4-for-11 for 55 yards on the night.
4th Quarter, 8:40: With Dennis Dixon in at QB for the Eagles, the Patriots D comes up with a stop.
After Philly marched down to the New England 30, Marcus Bernard sacked Dixon for a seven-yard loss. Bernard joined the Patriots in the offseason after three years in Cleveland.
The next two plays went to defensive end Jason Vega, who tripped up Dixon on a pair of scrambles to set up a 4th-and-10 for the Eagles.
Dixon wanted to go to Will Murphy, but linebacker Steve Beauharnais got a hand on it at the line and Murphy couldn’t handle the pass.
Here comes Bra…. Tebow and the Pats offense.
4th Quarter, 4th Quarter, 13:15: LeGarrette Blount has gone over the century mark and now has 101 rushing yards, but that’s all that really happened on the last drive by the Patriots.
Blount carried the ball twice for five yards, but then Tebow came up short on his deep bid for Dobson down field and the Patriots were forced to punt.
4th Quarter, 14:55: The Eagles inch a little closer, with Matt Barkley hitting Greg Salas inside the 10-yard line, and the former-Patriot-for-a-minute took care of the rest for a 12-yard touchdown.
Rookie corner Logan Ryan had a chance to make a play on Salas, but whiffed on the tackle.
Things got worse for the Patriots when Barkley hit running back Matthew Tucker for the two-point conversion to make it 31-22 Patriots with plenty of time left in this one.
Needless to say, Bill Belichick was not pleased with either of the last two plays. He’s showing the defense what they did wrong on the sidelines, and they’ll probably see it all over again in the film room next week.
End 3rd Quarter — Patriots 31, Eagles 14: We’re through three quarters with the Patriots up 31-14.
The Eagles are driving and threatening, with the ball at the New England 12.
3rd Quarter, 2:12: The last drive led by Tim Tebow was better, but it still didn’t net any points for the Patriots.
He ran the ball three times for 19 yards, picking up a first down on a nice 14-yard keeper on a 2nd-and-9. He even completed a deep pass, hitting Kamar Aiken for 15 yards on a nice play-action play.
But after his long strike to Aiken, things stalled out for Tebow and the Pats. He picked up no yards on a keeper on 1st-and-10, couldn’t hook up with Aiken on 2nd-and-10, and after buying some time with his legs on 3rd-and-10, overthrew Aaron Dobson near the end zone. He’s now just 3-for-8, but has 47 yards through the air and another 31 on the ground.
An Eagles penalty gave the Pats five more yards to work with, and Belichick sent Gostkowski out to attempt a 53-yarder which he missed wide right. He’s now missed attempts from 53 and 44 yards on the night.
3rd Quarter, 9:15: LeGarrette Blount is making his case for a roster spot.
The back broke two 14-yard runs — fighting for each of those 14 yards both times — and capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown to put the Patriots up 31-14.
Blount now has 96 yards on nine carries. That’s pretty good, even if it is the preseason.
We can’t forget this: Tim Tebow completed a short pass to Brandon Bolden that went for 17 yards. Tebow now 2-for-5 for 32 yards.
Ryan Mallett is questionable to return, so there will be plenty of Tebow in this half.
3rd Quarter, 13:06: Facing a 3rd-and-6, Tebow calls his own number and rushes for 12 yards to move the chains.
Next play though, he holds on to the ball too long and gets sacked for a five-yard loss.
3rd Quarter, 13:39: The Patriots defense forced a three-and-out on the Eagles’ first possession of the second half, though they can probably thank Matt Barkley for that.
Ryan Mallet is still on the sidelines with Tim Tebow under center for the Patriots.
Halftime — Patriots 24, Eagles 14: Tim Tebow has a completion! Rejoice! Bench Brady!
Actually, it was a short pass to Leon Washington that the back took 15 yards to end the half. He better have completed that pass.
Tebow is now 1-for-4 for the 15 yards, and the Patriots head to the locker room with a 24-14 lead at the half.
Overall, it was a great first half for the Patriots first-team offense, with both the run and pass game finding the end zone. Brady finished the night 7-for-8 for 65 yards and a touchdown, spreading those seven completions out between four targets (Amendola, Thompkins, Dobson, and Vereen).
Stevan Ridley started the game with a 62-yard rush, and though he ran out of has in the end, finished the drive with a one-yard score. He has 92 yards on eight rushes, with LeGarrette Blount also chipping in with 63 yards on four carries (51 of those yards coming on a 51-yard touchdown).
The defense hasn’t looked great so far, with both Michael Vick and Nick Foles picking them apart. Most of the starters in the defensive backfield are watching this one from the sidelines, but the 159 pass yards by the Eagles is troublesome.
Break out your rosters for the second half; there are going to be a lot of new, young faces out there for the Patriots.
Who is #5 again?
2nd Quarter, 1:08: Tebow Time didn’t last long, or net the Patriots any results.
Tebow’s first pass was too high for Dobson, and though his second pass was better, Sudfeld couldn’t make the catch. He was then sacked by Knott and Vinny Curry for a 10-yard loss.
Mallett looks to be OK on the sidelines, so we’ll see how the Patriots play this the rest of the way.
2nd Quarter, 1:37: Ryan Mallett just took a shot from Eagles linebacker Jake Knott, so you know what that means.
2nd Quarter, 4:24: LeGarette Blount is usually good for one long, wild touchdown run a year, so let’s hope he didn’t just use it up in the preseason.
Blount ran all over the backfield before breaking free for a 51-yard touchdown run. He ran left and had nothing, turned right and had nothing, but found a hole and took it all the way for the score.
It’s not how the coaches drew it up, and they probably weren’t too pleased to see him on his feet all over the backfield, but he made a nice play to put the Patriots up 24-14.
Blount now has 63 yards on four carries.
2nd Quarter, 5:45: Mixed bag for Mallett and the Pats offense on that one. He looked good getting the Pats into the Red Zone (with the help of Shane Vereen’s legs), but couldn’t hook up with Dobson on two passes from 16 yards out, and then couldn’t connect with Edelman on third down.
The Patriots settled for a 34-yard field goal from Gostkowski to take a 17-14 lead.
Mallett is now 8-for-16 for 75 yards on the evening — with 52 of those yards coming on this drive.
2nd Quarter, 7:26: Julian Edelman just hauled in a nice third-down completion to move the chains, but took a big shot from Eagles safety Nate Allen to his back.
He popped right up, so it looks like all is good.
2nd Quarter, 7:33 We have a Zach Sudfeld sighting!
The undrafted rookie broke a slew of tackles and took a short Mallett pass for 22 yards and a first down, making good use of that 6-7, 225-pound frame.
2nd Quarter, 10:37: Foles and the Eagles went marching in Chip Kelly’s read-option offense.
Foles ran the no-huddle to near perfection, picking the Pats defense apart with short passes. He even ran for a first down of his own, and Bryce Brown punched it in from eight yards out to tie this one at 14-14.
Tough go for the defense, but it was a lot of second-teamers out there. Rookie Jason Collins didn’t look great, over-running Foles on a sack bid.
2nd Quarter, 14:09: After three straight completions to Daniel Fells, Mallett overthrew a wide open Josh Boyce in the end zone.
Things didn’t get much better for the Pats after that. Mallett couldn’t hook up with Vereen on a short pass and Julian Edelman recovered his own fumble on the next play.
Stephen Gostkowski lined up for a 44-yard field goal, but missed badly wide right. Not a good way to start for the Patriots kicker, but at least it’s only preseason.
End 1st Quarter – Patriots 14, Eagles 7: Bill Belichick doesn’t care if it’s the preseason, he’s still going to challenge a play he disagrees with. And for some icing on the cake — he was right.
He challenged if a Foles’ incomplete was a fumble, and won. Veteran Tommy Kelly put the pressure on Foles, and Chandler Jones picked it up. The Patriots take over on their own 43.
Ryan Mallet looks a lot better this time out, completing all four of his passes for 33 yards. And that brings us to the end of the first quarter, with the Pats up 14-7.
1st Quarter, 2:16: Mallett looked a little anxious in his first drive. It didn’t help that he had to start things at his own one-yard line, but he threw behind Dobson on second down and was a little to strong for Vereen on third down.
The good news is Zoltan Mesko can still kick a football very well. He booted a 46-yard punt.
Nick Foles is now in for the Eagles as he tries to beat out Vick for the starting job. He’ll start things at the Patriots 47-yard line.
1st Quarter, 3:12: After giving up a 19-yard completion to Riley Cooper, the Pats defense buckled down and forced the Eagles to punt.
Brandon Spikes came up with a pair of stops, first on a Chris Polk run up the middle for a yard loss, and then again on third down keeping Eagles tight end Brent Celek from moving the chains.
Tom Brady is on the sidelines, so his evening is over. Ryan Mallett is taking over under center.
1st Quarter, 5:05 The Patriots didn’t pass the first time they had the ball, but made up for it on their second drive.
Brady went down attempting his first pass, though he got rid of the ball before he could be sacked. The offensive line did their job on the play, the Eagles secondary just had all of Brady’s targets covered.
After that, it was Brady being Brady — and he went to his rookie receivers.
Brady got things started by going short to Danny Amendola for a quick six yards on second down. He then went to Kenbrell Thompkins with his next two passes (with a couple of Ridley runs mixed in) before going deep to rookie Aaron Dobson for 23 yards.
Brady went back to Thompkins on his next two passes before hitting Shane Vereen in the back corner of the end zone for his first touchdown of the preseason. The play was reviewed but upheld, and the Patriots find themselves with a 14-7 lead.
Brady went 7-for-8 on the drive and finished with 65 yards. The Patriots pushed the tempo, and the newcomers kept up. Thompkins ended up with four receptions for 23 yards.
Good to see the Patriots offense firing on all cylinders so far — even if it is just preseason.
1st Quarter, 9:33 The Eagles didn’t wait around to test the Patriots secondary.
Michael Vick went deep DeShaun Jackson who hauled in a 47-yard score over Aqib Talib. In all it took the Eagles just five plays to march 77 yards down the field to tie things up at 7-7.
Talib and Jackson battled all week in the joint practices, and this probably won’t be the last we see of this matchup tonight.
1st Quarter, 12:40: The Patriots have their first touchdown of the preseason, and Tom Brady hasn’t had to throw the ball once.
It was a steady dose of Ridley and LeGarette Blount, with Ridley capping off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run. Blount picked up a first down on a nice second effort on 3rd and short a few plays before the touchdown.
Ridley finished the drive with 68 yards on three carries and the touchdown. In all, the Patriots picked up 80 yards on six run plays.
Now we get a look at the Patriots defense.
1st Quarter, 14:20: On the first play from scrimmage, Stevan Ridley takes the handoff and runs 62 yards inside the 20. He looked a little gassed at the end, but we’ll give him a break seeing how it’s his first run in a game this season.
First Quarter — The Eagles won the toss, and Chip Kelly pulled a play out of Bill Belichick’s playbook: he deferred.
So the Pats will start on offense. Here comes Brady and company.
Pregame — 7:13 p.m.: Here is the full list of Patriots’ inactives for tonight’s game — courtesy of Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald:
WR Michael Jenkins
WR Mark Harrison
CB Ras-I Dowling
S Devin McCourty
CB Alfonzo Dennard
S Nate Ebner
FB James Develin
TE Brandon Ford
OL Marcus Cannon
RG Dan Connolly
OL Markus Zusevics
OL Tyronne Green
OL Kevin Haslam
TE Rob Gronkowski
DE Jermaine Cunningham
DL Armond Armstead
Running back LeSean McCoy is not expected to play for the Eagles.
Pregame — 7:03 p.m.:In just a short while, the New England Patriots will kick off their preseason in the city of brotherly love against the Philadelphia Eagles.
After a weeks worth of joint practices, both teams are ready to hit the field and play some football — and we’re sure fans are ready to catch a glimpse of the new-look Patriots.
The starters are expected to start, so Tom Brady will take the field for a brief appearance in this one. It was raining hard in Philadelphia throughout the day and showers are expected during the game, so chances are Brady and others will only see a series or two.
So that would mean a lot of Ryan Mallett and, of course, Tim Tebow. But this preseason tilt is a lot more important to other players on the offense than the backup quarterbacks.
Pats-Eagles: What To Watch For
The Patriots will trot out a whole new receiving corps featuring a trio of rookies in Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and Kenbrall Thompkins, who all have been getting stellar reviews from the last week of practice. Offseason addition Danny Amendola is also new to the mix, and without the injured Rob Gronkowski the Patriots will have to use this preseason to get all the new receiving targets acclimated it Brady and the system.
We also don’t know who Brady’s top tight end target will be with Gronkowski likely missing the beginning of the season. Zach Sudfeld has been the big name in camp, and we’ll get our first look at the undrafted tight end in game action tonight. Jake Ballard has been said to be struggling mightily, so he’ll have to make an impression over the next four games to compete with the likes of Daniel Fells and Michael Hoomanawanui .
There are also plenty of questions on the defense, starting in the secondary. It should be better this season, with Aqib Talib getting a full training camp in the system and the addition of veteran safety Adrian Wilson. But after Talib there are numerous questions about the New England corners. Health is a big concern, with both Ras-I Dowling and Alfonzo Dennard out tonight due to injuries. Veteran safety Devin McCourty is also inactive, so that will mean a steady dose of the rookie defensive backs like Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon tonight.
We spotlighted the Pats’ first pick Jamie Collins in What To Watch For earlier today, and he’s just one of the young guns to watch on the defense tonight. Both Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower are primed for a big season this year, and we could get an early glimpse of what’s in store this evening.
As for the game itself — follow us for all the updates throughout the night. You can catch the game on WBZ-TV — with Dan Roche and Christian Fauria in the booth, joined by Matt Chatham and Steve Burton on the sidelines and Patriots Football Weekly’s Andy Hart and Paul Perillo providing insight and analysis from Gillette Stadium.
And on the 98.5 The Sports Hub’s airwaves, Bob Socci will make his debut as the new play-by-play man for the Patriots, alongside Scott Zolak.
We’ll be bringing you all the updates here as well, so check back throughout the evening.