FOXBOROUGH, Mass – Even without Tom Brady, New England's offense had too much success against Philadelphia's first-team defense on Monday night.
And it didn't take long for the frustration of the night to bubble over: head coach Andy Reid was shown shouting at both defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins and defensive line coach Jim Washburn on national television as the Eagles fell behind 11-0 early in the second quarter.
Why the tension? After a first-series three-and-out stop, the Eagles defense allowed a 56-yard drive on 11 plays to set up a Stephen Gostkowski 51-yard field goal and then an 80-yard drive that ended with a Ryan Mallett touchdown pass to tight end Alex Silvestro. The Eagles committed two penalties on third downs to keep that drive alive, and then gave up another first down on a third-and-9 play to keep the Patriots' drive alive.
Then the emotions bubbled over on the Eagles' sideline.
"It's football," said Jenkins. "Football causes that. If you're out there playing, you've got to be emotional. It was nothing. Nothing was addressed. It's an emotional game and sometimes you need that spark and especially now in the preseason. I'm a real competitive person and when i get out there, I want to win regardless. It wasn't anything directed at anybody or personal like that. It wasn't anything about a specific play; it was through the game. We've got a short window on where we need to be as a team and we need to come out and I don't care if it's preseason or not, we need to play like it. We can't come out flat."
On what Reid said, Jenkins was direct.
"He comes at you," said Jenkins. "He wants to get the best out of you. He wants to make sure you're focused and the right stuff is going on, that's all. You have to respect that and you can't fault that as players. Obviously, that's not the way I should have handled it, but you just get emotional; you want to play hard and the team to do well."
After the game, Reid said that the incident was over and that he and Jenkins had spoken and that it was all about "emotion."
The defense had every right to feel frustrated. As Brady watched from the sideline, Mallett used an array of screen passes and quick passes to keep the Philadelphia pass rush off stride. Three defensive penalties – one on Darryl Tapp for a dead ball penalty for pushing a Patriots lineman from behind, one on Fletcher Cox for roughing the passer and one on Nnamdi Asomugha for defensive holding – didn't help the defensive cause.
The Eagles allowed New England to convert 7 of 11 third downs in the first half and to roll up 161 yards of offense. There were some good things -- a Phillip Hunt sack and forced fumble led to a touchdown -- but New England scoring drives of 56 yards, 80 yards and 63 yards marred the effort and pointed the Eagles toward the practice field, where they know they need more work.
"We'll get there," said defensive end Trent Cole. "This is the preseason. We're working on a lot of things. We'll have it all together for the regular season. I think everybody believes in each other here and we know what we have to do to make things right."