The New England Patriots arrived in the City of Brotherly Love primed for their second preseason game of 2021. After partaking in two days of joint practices with the Philadelphia Eagles, New England was eager to show exactly how effective they can be on both sides of the ball. While Philadelphia chose to rest many of their starters, the Pats rode solid performances by quarterback Cam Newton and Mac Jones, along with a very impressive night for the defense, to a 35-0 victory over the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
Here are some of the highlights from the Patriots second preseason matchup with Philadelphia:
First Half Scoring Highlights
Linebacker Matthew Judon continued to show why he may be one of the best free agent signings in the NFL this season. Judon drew a bead on an errant snap to Eagles quarterback Joe Flacco, knocking the ball to defensive back Jalen Mills, who receivers the ball at the Philadelphia 9-yard line. Running back Damien Harris took a five-yard rush into the endzone, as the Pats capitalized on the turnover.
New England would once again light the scoreboard toward the end of the first quarter. Cam Newton looked comfortable and in-rhythm throwing the football; connecting with Sony Michel in the backfield on a few receptions. The Pats incumbent quarterback would find Jakobi Meyers on a well-placed 28-yard pass through zone coverage. Meyers maintained great body control along the side for the touchdown.
When the ball was given to Mac Jones, the rookie did not disappoint. His first series was a 17-play, 91-yard drive, lasting just over nine minutes. Jones nearly connected on a beautiful ‘would-be’ touchdown to receiver N’Keal Harry. Harry was unable to corral the pass as he landed awkwardly on his left shoulder. Rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson would cap the drive with a one-yard rush for the touchdown.
Second Half Scoring Highlights
Jones opened the second half by leading a methodical, 9-play 75-yard drive. The rookie showed strong pocket presence, finding receiver Gunner Olszewski on two separate occasions. Running back J.J.Taylor continued to make his case for a roster spot, displaying a nice spin move, before taking his second red zone carry into the endzone.
On his final scoring drive of the night, Jones would once again lead his team 70 yards on 10 plays, utilizing the rushing abilities of both Stevenson and Taylor. FOr the second time in as many games, Stevenson would earn his second touchdown of the game on another one-yard rush.
Defense With the Shutout
Despite seeing minimal time throughout the first two preseason contests, Judon has been a difference maker. His ability to get after the quarterback, set the edge to facilitate the run defense, and occasionally drop into coverage make him a perfect fit as an outside linebacker in New England.
Harvey Langi may be facing an uphill battle to make the 2021 Patriots roster. However, the 28-year-old linebacker made a strong case to earn his second tour of duty in New England. Langi would finish the evening with 5 total tackles, one sack and a tackle for loss. He also notched an interception, making an aggressive move to snag a pass-breakup from defensive back Justin Bethel.
Quinn and Bear It
While Quinn Nordin has widely been considered to have the upper hand over veteran Nick Folk for the kicking job in New England, the undrafted rookie may have returned to Earth’s atmosphere on Thursday. Nordin missed a 36-yard field goal and two extra points, each pushing to the right of the goal post. He would, however, connect on a 24-yarder in the fourth quarter to give the Pats a 35-0 lead.
Rhamondre Stevenson has been the proverbial ‘toast of the town’ for his performance throughout New England’s first two postseason contests. Stevenson continues to demonstrate an ability to blend power and speed in his running style, making him an effective weapon both in the open field, and short-yardage goal-line alignments. However, protecting the football is an absolute must in a Bill Belichick/Josh McDaniels offensive system. Unfortunately for the rookie, he fumbled the ball in the fourth quarter, which was subsequently recovered by Philadelphia. It is a safe bet that the miscue will be brought to Stevenson’s attention more often than not during the next few days.
The Patriots return home to Foxboro, Massachusetts. On Wednesday, August 25 and Thursday, August 26, the Pats will host joint practices with the New York Giants at the Gillette Stadium practice fields. Practices will begin at 10:00 a.m. and are open to the public. These will be the final two days for fans to watch practices in their entirety this season.