Both the Eagles and Patriots were held scoreless in the first quarter, but it only took one play for New England to score in the second frame. On 2nd-and-goal from the Eagles' 4-yard line, Tom Brady found James White in the end zone to put the Patriots on top. A few minutes later, the Patriots doubled their lead with a well-placed ball from Brady to former-Eagle Danny Amendola in the end zone. But the Eagles' offense answered with a touchdown of their own and then came up with a huge special teams touchdown just before halftime to knot the score up at 14-14 at the midway point.
Huge Play Goes Eagles' Way
Often times, the difference between winning and losing comes down to the ball bouncing one way versus another. With 16 seconds left until halftime, the Patriots set up to punt away to the Eagles and take a 14-7 lead with them into the locker room. Instead, safety Chris Maragos broke free into the backfield and cleanly blocked the ball, which bounced directly into the waiting hands of linebacker Najee Goode, who returned it 24 yards for a touchdown to tie the game up at 14 apiece.
Ertz Touchdown Puts Philly On The Board
After being forced to punt on each of their first four drives, the Eagles were in desperate need of an offensive spark. After the Patriots elected to attempt a drop kick instead of a traditional kickoff midway through the second quarter, Philadelphia's offense was given a short field. Beginning at their own 41, Sam Bradford and the Eagles went 59 yards on eight plays, marching down the field and finishing the drive off with a 5-yard strike to Zach Ertz in the back of the end zone. It was the third-year tight end's first touchdown of the season after having a handful of would-be scores called back this year because of penalties.
Sproles And Barner Getting Brunt Of Carries
With DeMarco Murray struggling to get going and Ryan Mathews out with a concussion and groin injury, the Eagles have leaned heavily upon reserve running backs Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner so far today. Murray has rushed five times for one yard, while Sproles has added 44 yards on seven carries, and Barner has added another 25 on three carries. Sproles also leads the Eagles in receiving yards so far, with 34 on our catches.
Pick Plays Continue To Hurt Eagles
Throughout this season, the Eagles' defense has been on the wrong end of a handful of big plays coming on rub actions – where two receivers criss-cross with one another in order to force a switch or create separation. On the Patriots' first touchdown, James White was able to get free in front of the right pylon after tight end Scott Chandler was able to use his size to block off safety Walter Thurmond and linebacker Mychal Kendricks.
Penalties Making Big Difference
In the first half, the Eagles were whistled seven times for 92 yards, while the Patriots were flagged just once for nine yards. Philadelphia was fortunate enough to knot up the score with a big special teams play to end the second quarter, but unless the team has similar fortune in the second half they'll need to play with more discipline the rest of the way to keep this one close.
The Eagles traveled to New England to face the Patriots in Week 13. View the full gallery here...