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Takeaways From Loss At New England

Posted Aug 15, 2014

FOXBORO, Mass -- In a 42-35 loss to New England in preseason game No. 2, the Eagles turned the ball over too many times, committed too many penalties and failed to get off the field on defense. It was, simply put, one of those preseason games ...

FOXBORO, Mass. - In a 42-35 loss to New England in preseason game No. 2, the Eagles turned the ball over too many times, committed too many penalties and failed to get off the field on defense. It was, simply put, one of those preseason games in which not enough went right.

It was, keep in mind, a preseason game, and the coaches will relish the chance to make some corrections. But it was an ugly performance that included 21 accepted penalties (both teams) for a total of 169 yards, four Eagles turnovers, missed tackles by a defense that allowed New England to convert 10 of 15 third downs and gain 476 total net yards and 35 first downs.

  • The Eagles gave backup linemen Vinny Curry, Brandon Bair and Beau Allen reps with the starting defense and all three had moments. It’s going to be competitive right down to the wire to see who makes the 53-man roster at defensive line. Curry battled against the run, something the coaches wanted to see.

  • The defense just couldn’t get off the field against quarterback Tom Brady, who was 8 of 10 for 81 yards and a touchdown. New England converted all four third downs in the first quarter and controlled the football in those 15 minutes, running 23 plays to the Eagles’ six.

  • Tough night for cornerback Curtis Marsh, who was called for a couple of early penalties and was in coverage on three touchdown passes. He came back and hung tough, but Marsh didn’t help his chances of making the 53-man roster.

  • Some injuries in the game: Cornerback Cary Williams left with a hamstring injury after returning his interception for a touchdown and wide receiver/kick returner Josh Huff left with a shoulder injury returning a kickoff in the first quarter.

  • Wide receiver Jordan Matthews had a strong second outing, catching 9 passes for 104 yards as he was targeted 9 times. He looked decisive and confident and much faster out of his routes. He's going to be a very fine player and showed a great bounceback after a so-so first game.

  • Ifeanyi Momah turned the ball over on the first snap of the game after catching a Nick Foles pass over the middle.

  • Nate Allen started at safety alongside Malcolm Jenkins and was OK, but Earl Wolff made his push as a reserve with a forced fumble and a well-timed blitz on which he batted down a pass.

  • Tight end Brent Celek had another one of those catches that reminds you how tough he is and how he’s one of the best tight ends in franchise history. He grabbed a 23-yard pass and then took two massive hits, lost his helmet and held on to the football. Tremendous.

  • Think Zach Ertz is on the verge of a big season? He had another two catches and 26 yards and simply creates tremendous matchup advantages for the offense.

  • Arrelious Benn helped his roster position quite a bit with a blocked punt – a sensational one, at that, during which he was outstretched and got his hand on the kick –and then with a catch off a pass that Momah dived for in the end zone and lost in the air. Benn was in the right place at the right time and delivered the touchdown.

  • Don’t count out Damaris Johnson. Depending on the severity of the injury to Huff, the Eagles could need a kickoff return man. Johnson might be the next best option. Johnson also lined up in the backfield and ran a wheel route to catch a touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez to give the Eagles a sixth straight touchdown in a red-zone possession. Johnson had seven carries and 14 yards and three catches for 30 yards.

  • Alex Henery made poor contact on a 47-yard field goal attempt that wobbled right in the first half. He needs to make those kicks. His kickoffs were fine, but Henery’s got to hit the ball more effectively from 50 yards and in. "You've got to make 47-yard field goals in this league," said head coach Chip Kelly after the game.

  • Allen Barbre gave up a sack early but otherwise had a solid performance at right offensive tackle.

  • Quarterback Mark Sanchez turned into another fine performance, completing 11 of 12 passes for 117 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His lone mistake: an interception to open the third quarter. The Eagles are in good shape at quarterback.

  • Matt Barkley was much, much improved in Game 2, completiing 9 of 12 passes for 132 yards. He threw an interception that Johnson should have hauled in as he run a wheel route. Instead, the pass bounced off of his shoulder pad.

  • Nick Foles said he played "cleaner" football against New England than he did in Chicago. Foles was 8 of 10 for 81 yards and a touchdown. The quarterbacks, collectively, were 28 of 34 for 330 yards, 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions .

  • Can Henry Josey make the team? He stated his case with eight carries for 56 yards and a 27-yard touchdown after catching a screen pass and dancing down the sidelines. Chris Polk hasn't played in a few weeks and Matthew Tucker missed the game. Josey took advantage of his opportunity.

  • Kelly said he is hopeful that wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper will return for Sunday's training session at the NovaCare Complex. That would be welcomed for a wide receiver corps that has had its share of injuries in the summer.

  • Those who did not play on Friday night: Cooper, Maclin, cornerback Nolan Carroll II, running back Chris Polk, cornerback Jaylen Watkins, running back Matthew Tucker, running back David Fluellen, linebacker Jake Knott and offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde.

  • Until the Patriots stuffed Damaris Johnson on four straight runs from in tight -- one run was from the 2-yard line and three were from the 1-yard line late in the fourth quarter -- the Eagles were perfect in the red zone in the preseason. They're still very good, converting 6 of 7 opportunities in the two games after ranking 18th in the NFL in red-zone efficiency last year.

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