PHI-NE Grades: Special teams miscues leave Pats stunned

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Eagles’ 35-28 win over the Patriots.

| 11 months ago
(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

PHI-NE Grades: Special teams miscues leave Pats stunned

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Eagles’ 35-28 win over the Patriots.

Philadelphia Eagles

– A solid, if unspectacular, performance from Sam Bradford (+0.6) in his first game back from injury. Chip Kelly basically took the ball out of his hands once they had a two-score lead in the second half, and they did their best to run the clock out before the Patriots could storm back. Bradford was on target on 16-of-22 targeted passes, and outside of one poor overthrow to Zach Ertz early in the third quarter, he kept the ball out of harms way.

– What a day for Malcolm Jenkins (+3.4). The pick-six will stick in everyone’s mind, but he made play after play against both run and pass on Sunday. There were multiple times where a Patriots’ receiver was asked to block him in the box, and on almost every occasion, he blew up the receiver—and the play. He notched five total stops, and would have had an even better grade, were it not for a missed tackle and a careless pass interference penalty.

– Is Darren Sproles (+1.5) the new feature back in Philadelphia? He took 15 carries, compared to DeMarco Murray’s eight, and was in on 35 snaps, compared to Murray’s 14. It’s hard to argue with the results, though, as he brought some decisiveness and elusiveness that Murray has been missing. Because of his stature, you wouldn’t think of him as a between-the-tackles runner, but Sproles looked comfortable and competent running the Eagles’ staple inside zone run. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his game-breaking punt return up the left sideline early in the third quarter. Sproles is a playmaker on a team hopelessly bereft of them, so the more touches the Eagles can give him, the better.

Top performers:

DE Fletcher Cox (+6.4)
OLB Brandon Graham (+5.7)
RT Lane Johnson (+4.2)
S Malcolm Jenkins (+3.4)
TE Zach Ertz (+2.2)


New England Patriots

– 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. 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 Eagles’ offense in the past has been successful at exposing opposing most linebackers with misdirection and a fast-flowing offensive line. Jamie Collins (+5.5) isn’t most linebackers. Collins was rarely out of position, and played downhill from the snap of the ball. He made five stops on the day, with a couple coming after blowing right through Eagles center Jason Kelce (-1.5). Collins also helped make up for Jonathan Freeny’s (-2.7) shortcomings next to him.

– 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.

Top performers:

LB Jamie Collins (+5.5)
QB Tom Brady (+5.1)
RB James White (+4.2)
DE Chandler Jones (+3.4)
C Bryan Stork (+2.1)

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • Devin

    Anyone know jojo lafell’s grade?

  • We Still Have Gronk

    Negative garbage, I believe.

  • aaronaperson

    Was Slater back on the field for that punt?

  • Daniel Nottingham

    I wish you would give analysis of guys like Rowe and Maxwell on weeks when they aren’t an eyesore to even it out. Rowe seemed to play well yesterday,, Maxwell too. Id guess Kiki, not so much again. I think the Eagles MLBs look to be playing hurt. All have serious talent and only Kendricks has played like a marginal player since Hicks went down.

  • Arnav Gupta

    these injuries are killing the pats, outside of Brady and maybe James White the team has looked completely different since that edelman injury.

    • Malachi

      gronk too, of course

  • e_racer

    Does anyone (of any degree of intelligence) believe Bryan Stork can handle Dontari Poe? The mismatches for the Pats only begin there. It will be a brutal game for Brady.