Unlike last week against the Washington Redskins, the New England Patriots put on an offensive show against the Philadelphia Eagles Friday night at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady played the first two series along with most of the starters as the Patriots won a shootout against the Eagles 42-35.
Brady took 23 snaps and had a pretty good rhythm going with his receivers. On the first drive off the game, the Patriots offense had no problem driving down the field until Brady threw an interception to Eagles cornerback Cary Williams. The interception was returned for a touchdown, but the Brady and the offense bounced right back, marching right down the field and scoring on a touchdown reception from Brady to Kenbrell Thompkins to tie the game 7-7.
Jimmy Garoppolo was then inserted into the game and played the rest of the first half. The rookie continued to show promise as he led the team to two more touchdowns that put the Patriots up 21-7. One was a nice back of the end zone pass to Brandon LaFell and the other was a nice pass to fullback James Devlin who basically walked in for a touchdown.
Fourth-year quarterback Ryan Mallett played the entire second half and delivered some fireworks of his own. He ran in for a touchdown and completed a touchdown pass to wide receiver BrianTyms. Overall, there wasn’t much defense from either side. Darrelle Revis did make his debut, but an abundance of penalty calls seemed to take both defenses out of the game. There were many bright spots for the Patriots on Friday night, but here are three that stuck out.
Ryan Mallett: The fourth-yeah quarterback bounced back nicely after being outplayed by Garoppolo in the preseason opener. Mallett showed some mobility and more of a pocket presence, as he was able to drive the offense down the field a few times. His touchdown pass to Tyms displayed both his arm and touch. All three quarterbacks had their moments in the game, which is only good news for the Patriots. The team could carry three quarterbacks through the season.
Malcolm Butler: The rookie cornerback seemed to be all over the field and around the ball again this week. He helped linebacker Dont’a Hightower force a fumble in the first quarter, then forced and recovered a fumble later in the game. Butler wasn’t as impressive as he was in the first preseason game, but it appears the Patriots have found something special in Butler. His play is possibly the reason the team traded cornerback Justin Green to the Dallas Cowboys earlier in the week.
Brandon Bolden and the running game: With the departure of LaGarrette Blount, the Patriots are looking for a power back and Bolden can be that man. He showcased his speed and power in delivering a couple nice runs. Overall, the running game was impressive. Undrafted rookie Roy Finch had seven carries for 37 yards and a touchdown.