The Patriots didn't put forth their best effort against a Philadelphia Eagles squad they should have been able to beat. That's just a small overview of why they lost, but Pro Football Focus got a little more in depth.
The two biggest miscues in the game came on a blocked punt which was returned for a touchdown by the Eagles to close out the first half, and the other was allowing Darren Sproles to return a punt for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Special teams isn’t usually one-third of the game, but on Sunday, it might have been more than that for New England. They absolutely gave away any chance of winning after an inexcusable miscommunication on the left side of the line led to a blocked punt and a touchdown before the half, and then some poor lane discipline ended up in a Darren Sproles punt return TD right after the half. It’s hard to really fault the offense or defense for the Patriots in this one.
The positives? There were a few.
Tom Brady played well despite two interceptions, one of which came at the goal line and was returned for a touchdown. That shouldn't have happened. The other was just a bad throw that Byron Maxwell was waiting for.
Tom Brady (+5.1) was his usual excellent self on Sunday. His supporting cast…not so much. I couldn’t help but think after seeing the Patriots’ receivers drop eight of their 37 catchable passes on the day that Brady might be currently surrounded by the least-talented offense in the NFL. While Danny Amendola is still a solid option, he dropped two passes himself, including a walk-in touchdown a few plays prior to Brady’s pick six
Jamie Collins also played well in his return to the lineup, posting a rating of +5.5, the highest on the team.
Lastly, James White finally stepped up. That's a welcome sight considering the Patriots have been looking for a way to replace some of the production vacated by Dion Lewis.
The big surprise of the day, though, was RB James White (+4.2) who caught all 10 targets and broke three tackles after the catch.
The Patriots will need a much better effort on Sunday night against a Houston Texans team that is suddenly threatening for the AFC South crown.
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