For the second preseason game, this was not the showing Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson wanted. A very sloppy game all-around, plus quarterback Nick Foles was forced to leave the game early with a shoulder strain. While there were many negatives, there were still some positives in the Eagles 37-20 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
This one was pretty much a no-brainer, as Gibson was easily the Eagles best player of the night. He again demonstrated his special teams value with a dazzling 46-yard kick return on his second attempt. He was good all night on kick returns.
Then at receiver, Gibson hauled in a four-yard touchdown pass from Nate Sudfeld mid-way through the second quarter. He also hauled in a perfect 57-yard pass from Sudfeld with the offense backed up on it own 2-yard line in the third. Gibson led the Eagles in receiving with 90 yards on five catches with a touchdown on offense.
Darby was one of the few starters that had a solid night, including two PBU’s, including one-on-one with Chris Hogan on a deep ball attempt, though both should’ve been picked. But it was still a very good showing for the Eagles veteran corner.
Sudfeld was dropping dimes this week, looking so much more confident after a pretty good start against Pittsburgh last week.
He led the Eagles to their lone score of the half, finishing that drive with the touchdown toss to Gibson. He also made some great throws and nearly led the Eagles to score right before the end of the half. Sudfeld threw a strike over the middle to Dallas Goedert during that drive, then hit Carter.
But on fourth and goal from inside the 5-yard line, Sudfeld scrambled and tried to flip a pass to Carter. Pederson gave him an earful on the sideline either on a decision or maybe changing something at the line of scrimmage.
Sudfeld came back to lead another solid touchdown drive in the third, ending with a beautiful throw to Richard Rodgers. He followed that with the 57-yard pass to Gibson, and then a 31-yard touchdown pass to Rashard Davis.
Sudfeld finished 22-of-39 for 312 yards, three touchdowns and an interception that wasn’t his fault.
Overall, you have to be pretty excited about the kid in the right direction, but there are still some things he needs to learn and execute better.
Carter started making a name for himself with a couple nice catches late in the first half, including a 24-yard reception from Nate Sudfeld that helped give the Eagles a chance at points late in the half. He then hauled in a pass for a first down after making a nice adjustment to the ball in traffic in the third. Carter finished third in receiving with 48 yards on three catches.
No one wants to see the Eagles Super Bowl MVP quarterback and potential Week 1 starter be in his column. But it was a night to forget for Foles in his first game action of the preseason, starting 0-for-4, then left game in second quarter with shoulder strain after a Adrian Clayborne strip sack., which led to a 55-yard scoop-and-score. He finished 3-for-9 for 44 yards and was sacked three times. The good news is it seems like Foles will be okay after suffering the injury.
It was certainly a night to forget for Big V. He gave up two sacks, including one against Clayborne that led to the 55-yard scoop-and-score, on what was easily the Eagles’ starting offense’s best drive of the game. Plus, that was the play Foles was injured.
Good thing this game doesn’t count, because the Eagles starters on both sides of the ball were anything but stellar. First off, the Eagles committed six penalties in first quarter (1 declined) alone, seven in the half. The starting offense didn’t get past midfield until late in the half when it ended up going the other way for six. The starting defense allowed a touchdown on the opening drive that was extended by penalties. Overall, the Eagles committed nine penalties for 97 yards.
In addition to giving up three sacks when Foles was under center, and then another five more, the Eagles’ O-Line didn’t run block nearly as well either, only mustering 43 yards total.
Getting another start at receiver, Aiken didn’t take advantage, most notably having a drop on second series when he was wide open over the middle.
The Eagles were once again called for the new helmet rule, and one call seemed questionable.
Rodney McCleod was called for lowering helmet on the opening drive. While McCleod did lower his helmet, it was after ball carrier lowered his head too. Neither made helmet-to-helmet contact. That’s a situation where the flag should stay in the official’s pocket.
Nigel Bradham was then called for it late in first quarter after a catch by Julian Edelman. Edelman was going down and Bradham lowered his head. That was a good call.
Jeremy Reaves was also called for it and that was a good call as well, as he clearly hit the receiver helmet-to-helmet.