1 Patriot Place–The Patriots lost back to back games for the first time since 2012 last weekend against the Eagles, and for most of the game, it was a struggle for New England. The Patriots got off to a 14-0 lead, but gave the Eagles phenomenal field position when they tried a surprise onside kick with defensive back, Nate Ebner. The Eagles recovered and put points on the board. The Patriots struggled to score again until the fourth quarter when the game was already becoming out of reach. New England gave up 21 points to the Eagles when their defense wasn’t even on the field, and Bill Belichick said you’re not going to win any games in the league if you do that. The 21 points came off a blocked punt for a touchdown, a punt return touchdown, and a 99 yard pick 6. New England ended up rallying back to come within 1 score in the game’s last minute, but drops continued to plague the Patriots offense.
The late fourth quarter comeback attempt fell short, but their efforts did show a lot of mental toughness to stay in the game with that big of a deficit. The Patriots got receiver Danny Amendola back on Sunday, as well as linebacker Jamie Collins. Collins is reported to have dropped weight and muscle due to an illness that sidelined him the previous 4 weeks. Amendola appeared to still be getting the kinks out as well after catching a touchdown early in the game, Amendola played limited snaps and had a crucial drop on the Patriots final drive.
Drops continued to be the story of the game as Lafell, Amendola, and Martin all dropped balls on the game’s final drive. Brady and Amendola appeared to be getting back into a rhythm, but Lafell and Brady look out of sink, and flat out lackluster. Brady threw a pick while looking to Lafell deep down the right side line earlier in the game, but Lafell stopped his route short, and thus Brady’s pass sailed straight into the arms of a defender. Similar situations happened during that game that may have cost New England a touchdown, or two. Lafell again stopped running when he had a go route down the left side line, and then tried to start running again, but it was too late and Brady overthrew by a two yards. Another play cost New England a possible touchdown when Brady gives a phenomenal effort to escape the pocket and makes a throw over to Amendola who appears to catch the ball in stride at the Eagles 10 yard line with nothing but green grass ahead of him, but he couldn’t corral it and after a couple of bobbles, he ended up dropping it.
Perhaps the only bright spot in the loss to the eagles was a pass from Danny Amendola to Tom Brady who was left wide open. This was only Brady’s second reception of his career, his first coming in 2001. The crowd erupted as they saw Brady steaming down the sideline at the speed of light. This is the kind of creativity the Patriots will continue to need from offensive coordinator, Josh Mcdaniels if they want to get back on the winning path.
The Patriots hope to get Rob Gronkowski and Dont’a Hightower back soon, both who have knee injuries, so they can make a run for the first seed in the AFC. For now, New England will have to take on a hot Texans team made up of many former Patriots. It will be a matchup of the mentors vs. the mentees, as the Patriots will face their former offensive coordinator, now head coach of the Texans Bill O’brien along with linebackers coach Mike Vrabel who was a long time New England linebacker. Brady’s former backup, Brian Hoyer will be leading the way for the Texans, and Brady will also hope that long time friend and former teammate, Vince Wilfork, will take it a little easy on him Sunday Night.