Eagles Defense Deserved Better Fate

Ed Kracz

New England Patriots quarterback and future first-ballot Hall of Famer Tom Brady didn’t throw a touchdown pass and completed just 26 of 47 throws for 216 yards.

The Patriots had only one touchdown and were held below 300 yards of total offense.

The Eagles defense did its job at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. That it wasn’t good enough to secure a win is on the offense, which mustered very little after taking a 10-point lead and lost 17-10 to New England.

“I think our defense is heading in the right direction,” said Eagles safety Rodney McLeod after the Eagles fell to 5-5 and must now get ready to face a rested Seattle Seahawks team that was on a bye.

“We are playing like ourselves. We need to create more turnovers to help the offense, get the ball back to them in better field position, but outside of that we are playing confident.”

If that is one knock on the Eagles defensive outing on Sunday it is that – they could not force a turnover.

But that is quibbling.

These were the Patriots, who had the highest point differential in the NFL coming into the game.

Head coach Doug Pederson wasn’t in the mood to expound on many of his answers in his postgame interview, but he did concede that his cornerbacks, particularly Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby, were up to the challenge of playing Brady and the Patriots’ offense.

“I thought they played well,” said Pederson. “Just quick observation I thought they played well. Obviously, they're a good football team, good passing team, and they did make some plays, but overall, l I thought we held up well.”

It was the third straight game the Eagles defense held an opponent under 20 points.

“We’re just doing a good job of matching up and we’re playing a lot more man-to-man,” said safety Malcolm Jenkins. “Getting guys back in the secondary healthy is definitely helping. Our defensive line is doing a great job against the run, making teams one dimensional.”

New England managed just 74 yards rushing and scored only one touchdown, which came off a backward pass from Brady to Julian Edelman, who found Phillip Dorsett in the end zone for a 15-yard strike that completed New England’s first drive of the second half.

“It was a trick play,” said cornerback Jalen Mills. “That’s what happens. You can always say that one guy should do this, one guys should do that. It was just a good play and they did that at the right time.”

The drive was helped by a glaring missed tackle by linebacker Nate Gerry. Instead of stopping Rex Burkhead at the line of scrimmage following a short throw-and-catch, Burkhead was off to the races for a 30-yard gain to the Eagles’ 30-yard line.

Gerry did have the Eagles’ only sack of Brady and he ended with a team-high 10 tackles.

Three times in the first half the Patriots entered the red zone, but came away with just three field goals.

On one of those red zone trips, the Eagles held New England to a 22-yard field goal after the Patriots set up at the 4-yard line with a first-and goal. Brady threw three straight incomplete passes.

The defense also stood tall after Wentz fumbled away the ball at his own 22. New England gained only one yard from there and settled for a 39-yard field goal to cut the Eagles’ lead to 10-9 heading into halftime.

“I thought we played well and battled, but there were some drives we needed to win the game and we didn’t make the plays,” said Jenkins, who had seven tackles to tie cornerback Avonte Maddox for second most tackles in the game. “We had a solid game, but just didn’t make enough plays.”