In a Super Bowl rematch of sorts, the Eagles struggled in their second preseason game of 2018, falling to the New England Patriots by a final score of 37-20.
Nick Foles started at quarterback, playing in his first game since Super Bowl LII after being sidelined with muscle spasms in his neck, and completed 3-of-9 passes for 44 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He was sacked three times, including one resulting in a fumble returned for a touchdown. Foles exited the game after that play with a shoulder strain that will be re-evaluated in Philadelphia on Friday.
"I thought the balls were a little high early, just a little accuracy issue," head coach Doug Pederson told reporters after the game. "We had some plays I think he would want back and we'd want back as an offense and we've just got to continue to work. It's part of the game and we have to make the corrections this next week and then get ready for our next one."
Quarterback Nate Sudfeld impressed, finishing 22-of-39 passing with 312 yards, three touchdowns, and a tipped interception. Wide receiver Shelton Gibson stood out for the second straight week with five receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown.
Foles and the first-team offense had trouble in the first quarter, going three-and-out in its first two possessions and going just six plays on the third. Foles completed just one of his first seven passes, an 8-yard reception by wide receiver Bryce Treggs, and was sacked twice.
Aided by two Eagles defensive penalties, quarterback Tom Brady marched the Patriots' first-team offense down the field on its opening drive and finished with a 4-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Hogan.
Ronald Darby shined on the second Patriots possession, breaking up two deep Brady passes and forcing a punt. But Brady drove the Patriots from their 20-yard line to the Eagles' 19 on their third drive, helped by an unnecessary roughness call on linebacker Nigel Bradham. The defense tightened to force a field goal attempt and New England led at the end of the first quarter 10-0.
Foles stayed out with the first-team offense to start the second quarter and found tight end Zach Ertz over the middle for a 20-yard gain. Two plays later, Foles was sacked on a play-action shotgun pass by Adrian Clayborn, and Ja'Whaun Bentley took it 54 yards for a touchdown to make the score 17-0 with 12:35 remaining in the second quarter.
Foles' night ended as he went to the medical tent for evaluation, later announced to be a shoulder strain. Sudfeld came out with the first-team offense and went three-and-out. On Brady's next trip, the Eagles held the Patriots to a three-and-out.
The Eagles got on the board with a seven-play, 69-yard scoring drive. It was helped by two pass interference calls on Patriots cornerback Keion Crossen, drawn by wide receivers DeAndre Carter and Kamar Aiken, respectively. Sudfeld found Gibson wide open in the end zone for his second touchdown of the preseason, cutting the Patriots' lead to 17-7.
The Eagles' defense bent but didn't break on the next possession as Brady drove the Patriots' offense from their 20-yard line to the Eagles' 29. Three plays later, the Patriots were forced to kick a field goal and made it a 20-7 game. The Eagles followed with another three-and-out possession that included two sacks of Sudfeld.
With 1:51 remaining in the first half, the Patriots' two-minute drill worked perfectly as Brady took the offense 69 yards on four plays in just 59 seconds and ended with a 20-yard catch-and-run touchdown by running back James White to make it 27-7.
The Eagles didn't quit, moving the ball 73 yards in eight plays and 49 seconds highlighted by a 28-yard pass to tight end Dallas Goedert and 24-yard pass to Carter. But the Patriots' defense tightened in the red zone and the Eagles turned it over on downs. At halftime, the Patriots led 27-7.
Quarterback Brian Hoyer replaced Brady to start the second half and the Eagles' defense forced a three-and-out. Sudfeld stayed in the game with the Eagles' second-team offense to start the half. After three straight runs by running back Matt Jones to earn a first down, Jones dropped a Sudfeld pass and it fell into the hands of Patriots linebacker Christian Sam for an interception.
Penalties continued to plague the Eagles in the second half as a lowering the head to initiate contact call led to the Patriots' fourth touchdown of the night. Hoyer's 11-yard pass to Cordarrelle Patterson made it 34-7 with 10:27 left in the third.
The Eagles found their way back into the end zone with a nine-play, 78-yard scoring drive that took 3:42 off the clock. Sudfeld found tight end Richard Rodgers for a 17-yard touchdown to make the score 34-14 with 6:45 left in the third.
After a Patriots three-and-out, the Eagles at their 1-yard line, Gibson made another stand-out play with a 57-yard reception from Sudfeld. On the next Eagles possession, Sudfeld added to his impressive night with a perfect 31-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Rashard Davis. The third quarter ended with the Patriots leading 34-20.
The Patriots added on another field goal to make the score 37-20 with 11:25 left. Quarterback Joe Callahan entered the game late for the Eagles and completed two passes on three attempts for 7 yards.
The Eagles will be back in action again next Thursday at 8 p.m. when they travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns in the third preseason game, a nationally televised affair on FOX.
Take a look at all the photos from the Eagles' second preseason game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.