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Oh the brilliance of the NFL preseason. Four games broadcasted and covered by national media like they were being played in the middle of November. But unfortunately, when the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles suited up for their Monday night preseason showdown at Gillette Stadium, the lack of a full effort from both sides was extremely obvious given the complete absence of Tom Brady from the game, which the Eagles went on to win 27-17. So much for the perfect season.
Without Brady, the Patriots passing game was led by backups Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer, with each quarterback putting up decent numbers. Mallett completed 10/20 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown to Alex Silvestro, which at the time gave New England an 11-0 lead. Hoyer completed 5/17 passes for 55 yards in limited action. Unfortunately the stats were relatively deceptive, as Mallett was nearly picked off on numerous occasions and Hoyer was all but ineffective.
Of course, with the potential of injuries the major fear of any fan or team in the preseason, the news that Brady amongst other starters were benched for the meaningless scrimmage was a very good thing for Patriots fans. The majority of the receiving core, including Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Lloyd, and Rob Gronkowski were given the night off, as well as both Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo.
Okay, let’s not overreact here. Aside from the fact that the Patriots ended up losing the game, not too much went wrong on the field. Of course individuals will review the tape and have room to improve, such as Brandon Bolden who mishandled two different punts, but overall the team functioned as well as it reasonably could be expected to without so many regulars.
Then again, the Eagles weren’t exactly lining up the best they have to offer (which is still a mystery from the 8-8 team from last year), and yet they managed multiple drives attacking the Patriots defense leading to scores. No matter the analysis of the performance of either team though, what can be taken away are injuries which unfortunately affected both sides.
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick left the game with a rib injury after being hit by Jermaine Cunningham at the close of the first quarter. Vick was scrambling in the pocket when he was struck, and took x-rays which were negative indicating no broken ribs. For the Patriots, Patrick Chung left with a shoulder injury, as did Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for the Eagles. Neither player managed to return.
The Patriots waste little time before their next preseason action with a bit of a scheduling quirk, playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday, and then the New York Giants next Wednesday on the 29th. So while three games in ten days might be a bit of a challenge for coach Bill Belichick and the team, they will receive adequate rest before their season opener on September 9th against the Tennessee Titans.
Tags: Aaron Hernandez, Alex Silvestro, Brandon Bolden, Brandon Lloyd, Brian Hoyer, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Jerod Mayo, Michael Vick, New England Patriots, Patrick Chung, Philadelphia Eagles, Rob Gronkowski, Ryan Mallett, Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, Wes Welker