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The New England Patriots (8-3) made it three in a row against Philadelphia (4-7) Sunday, throttling the Eagles 38-20 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa.
After a shaky first drive that resulted in a punt, Tom Brady and the New England offense were brilliant all afternoon. Brady tossed for 361 yards on 24-34 passing with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Brady routinely made plays in and out of the pocket, setting up a Deion Branch 63-yard catch that culminated with a BenJarvus Green-Ellis touchdown and later a 41-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker. Brady connected with Welker again on a nine-yard TD to open the third quarter, extending the Patriots’ advantage to 31-13.
Rob Gronkowski capped the scoring with a 24-yard grab halfway through the fourth.
Brady spread the ball effectively, despite just four receivers garnering catches.
Deion Branch – 6 receptions, 125 yards
Wes Welker - 8 receptions, 115 yards
Aaron Hernandez - 6 receptions, 62 yards
Rob Gronkowski - 4 receptions, 159 yards
The offense had a clear grasp of the tempo throughout, scoring with quick-strike attacks (scoring drives of five and eight yards) and long-marches (scoring drives of 12, eight, eight and 14 plays). New England possessed the ball for 32:43, and out rushed the Eagles’ 104-73.
Green-Ellis was essential in leading the Patriots from an early two-score deficit, scoring from four and 1 yards. He finished the afternoon with 44 yards on 14 carries.
The defense looked shaky to begin the contest, surrendering 10 points on Philadelphia’s first two drives. The Patriots settled down thereafter, limiting the Eagles to just 10 points over the final 51:47.
While the yardage numbers may look bad — with 466 allowed — many of them were in garbage time when the contest was in hand. For example, Vince Young totaled 400 passing yards and 40 rushing yards in the loss.
The Patriots won the turnover battle 1-0, and were effective in the red zone with two stops in four opportunities.
Head Coach Bill Belichick received contributions from everyone, including a first half interception from Antwaun Molden, sacks from Kyle Love and Rob Ninkovich, 10 tackles from Kyle Arrington, and a trio of tackles from Julien Edelman.
This game was vintage Brady, masterfully dissecting the opposing defense en route to 361 yards. He kept the Eagles on edge all afternoon, and has rebounded well after the Dallas-Pittsburgh-New York Giants stretch.
The Law Firm has his best game in nearly two months, reaching the end zone for the first time in six games and having his second two-score game of the year. Green-Ellis finished the game with 44 yards on 14 rushes, including a four-yard score for the Patriots’ first touchdown of the game.
His first TD cut the deficit to 10-7, before the Law Firm gave the team the lead for good with a one-yard plunge to give the Pats a 14-10 edge.
The Patriots were finally able to have a successful game on their third-down performance on both sides of the ball. The New England defense limited the Eagles to just 4-13 on third down, while Brady and the Patriots offense converted 6-11 attempts. The Pats converted three third downs on their first scoring drive.
Arrington was on the wrong end of a pair of long Vince Young passes early in the first quarter that allowed the Eagles to jump out to a 10-0 lead. Riley Cooper corralled a 58-yard strike on the third play of the evening, while DeSean Jackson was on the receiving end of a 44-yard bomb on the second drive.
Despite a quintet of touch backs to mar Eagles’ field position, place kicker Stephen Gostowski once again finds himself on this list. The Memphis alum was 1-2 on the day, but missed a 39-yard attempt which would have extended the Patriots lead to 17-10 in the second quarter.
Quarterback Tom Brady was on the wrong end of several successful Eagles’ blitzes early. Philadelphia sacked Brady one time, had two hits and constantly applied pressure early on.
The Patriots will look to improve their winning ways next Sunday, hosting the winless Indianapolis Colts (0-11) at 1:00 p.m. at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The game will be the first Patriots-Colts game since November 1997 that Peyton Manning will not start against New England.