The New England Patriots improved to 4-4 on the 2021 NFL season with a 27-24 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday at SoFi Stadium. Despite their return to .500, thus resurrecting their playoff hopes, the Pats chose to pass on making a deal at Tuesday’s trade deadline. However, the Pats continue to make news as they start to make preparations for their Week Nine matchup with former Patriot Stephon Gilmore and the Carolina Panthers. From a ‘day of firsts’ for a Pats’ defensive back to practice squad reversions, here are the latest Pats news and notes, courtesy of the Patriot Maven Notebook.
Ekuale Reverts to Practice Squad
New England Patriots defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale reverted to the team’s practice squad, as confirmed by Monday’s NFL transaction wire. The 27-year-old had served as a standard elevation for the Pats’ Week Eight victory over the Los Angeles Chargers,
Ekuale played on 14 defensive snaps on Sunday, contributing with a key push of the pocket in the fourth quarter, which facilitated safety Adrian Phillips’ pick-six. He had made his Patriots debut in Week Seven against the New York Jets, seeing action on 17 snaps, contributing one sack.
The 6-foot-3, 305 pound defensive lineman has now twice served as a standard elevation, meaning that the Patriots would need to promote him to the 53-man roster to take part in any additional on-field action for the Pats in the remainder of the 2021 season.
Phillips Has a “Day of Firsts”
Patriots safety Adrian Phillips had quite the memorable day against his former team on Sunday. The ex-Bolt intercepted a fourth quarter pass from Chargers QB Justin Herbert and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown. While Phillips’ pick-six sealed the Pats’ victory on Sunday, it also provided him with a handful of individual milestones. It was the 29-year-old’s first career touchdown, as well as being the first time he logged two interceptions in one game. Phillips also intercepted Herbert in the second quarter. Lastly, it was the first interception returned for a touchdown by a Patriots’ defensive back since safety Devin McCourty returned a pick 43 yards for a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 20, 2020.
Folk Plays Connect Four…Again
For the third time in 2021, Patriots kicker Nick Folk connected on all four of his field goal attempts, from 24, 48, 46, 30 yards respectively. It marked Folk’s third third time accomplishing the feat in 2021, all coming during road games. He made all four of his attempts at Houston on Oct. 10 and at the New York Jets on Sept. 19.