By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots first game out of the bye week was not a pretty one. But in the end, they escaped with a gutsy 17-10 victory to improve to 9-1 on the season.
The offensive struggles continued for New England on Sunday, but the defense had yet another dominant performance. Philadelphia was without running back Jordan Howard and Carson Wetnz didn’t have Alshon Jeffery in his receiving arsenal, but the Patriots defense completely shut the Eagles offense down after a second-quarter touchdown. Philadelphia had 13 possessions Sunday, and the Pats defense forced punts on eight of them, along with a fumble and a turnover on downs.
As usual, there were ups and downs throughout Sunday’s tilt. But the Patriots bounced back from Week 9’s loss in Baltimore with a gritty road win, and started off their hardest stretch of the season with a victory. Here are the Ups and Downs from Sunday’s win in Philly:
Defense Stands Tall
The Eagles took a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter after marching 95 yards down the field on drive that ate 9:33 off the clock. It was the longest touchdown drive given up by the Patriots defense all season.
After that, they were back to their amazing selves, allowing a grand total of zero points and just 165 yards the rest of the way. Most of those yards — 98 to be exact — came on Philly’s final two possessions when they were gunning for the end zone.
Two of New England’s giants on the defensive line forced a giant fumble that changed the game, and the secondary was smothering anyone that Carson Wentz threw the football toward. Philadelphia finished just 3-for-13 on third down.
They were embarrassed a bit two weeks ago in Baltimore, but the Patriots defense was very good Sunday in Philadelphia. They allowed just 10 points to a team that was averaging over 27 points at home for the season. Pretty solid, even with Philly’s injuries.
Big Turnover By Big Dudes
About that turnover. Danny Shelton came up with the strip sack on Wentz and Lawrence Guy recovered at the Philly 22. That is two big gentlemen making a big play for the New England defense.
The Patriots got a field goal off that extra possession, cutting Philly’s lead to 10-9 just ahead of halftime.
Edelman’s Touchdown Toss
The Patriots were struggling on offense, and again in the red zone, so they went with some trickeration to start the second half. Josh McDaniels called up a double pass, that ended with Julian Edelman tossing a touchdown to Phillip Dorsett from 15 yards out.
— NFL (@NFL) November 17, 2019
That was Edelman’s first career touchdown pass in the regular season. Now go tell everyone you know that he used to play quarterback in college.
The rookie can really kick the crud out of the football. After the Pats came up empty on their second possession, he had a 55-yard punt that was downed at the Philly 5-yard line.
And that was just the beginning of a big night for New England’s punter. He sent other booming kicks that resulted in the Eagles starting drives at their own 3-yard and 6-yard line, and two at their own 12. Overall, Bailey averaged 47.5 yards on his eight punts.
The defense gets credit for this win, but Bailey also deserves a lot of recognition.
The veteran tight end finished with three receptions for 52 yards, which is the most yards for a Patriots tight end this season.
He had a nice 22-yard catch on a third-and-10, and a 19-yard snag on a second-and-12. Nice to see the veteran still has it when his number is called.
Slowwww Start Again
The Patriots had just two first downs and 29 yards of offense after the first quarter. Philadelphia dominated the time of possession battle, 10:22 to 4:38, to start the game. The Patriots punted away their two first quarter possessions, and going back to Week 9 in Baltimore, their last five first-quarter sequences have ended with a punt.
The offense never really got going against the Eagles, and Brady looked uncomfortable for much of the day. The quarterback finished 26-of-47 for 216 yards, and looked a bit distraught at the podium after the win, simply calling the offense “up and down.” That’s putting it lightly.
Jason McCourty was hit with a DPI on Philly’s first drive that cost the Patriots 49 yards, giving the Eagles the ball at the New England 26. It was really all the Eagles got on their first possession, as they settled for a 42-yard field goal.
John Simon took Wentz down on Philly’s third possession on a 2nd-and-1, but that was taken off the board by an illegal hands to the face by Shelton. Two of Philly’s first four first downs came thanks to a New England penalties.
The Patriots were charged with six penalties overall, costing them 89 yards.
Red Zone Efficiency/Edleman’s Drop
After Brady nearly threw a pick in the end zone, Edelman dropped what should have been an easy touchdown. It cost the Patriots four points. The Patriots were just 1-for-3 in the red area, and 0-for-1 in goal-to-go situations.
Phillip Dorsett suffered a head injury in the third quarter and did not return. He’s an important part to the offense, so losing him for any amount of time will hurt an already struggling offense.
Dorsett going down did thrust rookie N’Keal Harry into the No. 3 receiver role on the depth chart. Harry finished his NFL debut with three receptions on four targets for 18 yards.