EAGLES START SEASON 1-0 WITH ROAD VICTORY IN FOXBOROUGH
- Philadelphia has the most season-opening victories in the NFL since 2011, capturing 11 of its last 13 kickoff weekend matchups (7-1 record in Week 1 games since 2016).
- Philadelphia is 8-2 in season-opening away games since 2009.
- Nick Sirianni is 3-0 in season openers for his Eagles career, all on the road
- Jalen Hurts has won 18 of his last 19 regular-season starts
- Philadelphia claimed an early 3-0 advantage with a 32-yard FG by Jake Elliott, which capped a 14-play, 61-yard scoring drive (7:18) on the team's game-opening possession.
- The Eagles made it a 10-0 score in the first quarter when Darius Slay intercepted Patriots QB *Mac Jones *and returned it 70 yards for a TD. It was the longest pick-6 of Slay's career.
- The takeaway was his 3rd career INT-TD, having previously done so on 11/21/21 vs. New Orleans (51 yards) and 12/9/18 at Arizona with Detroit (61 yards).
- The score marked Philadelphia's first INT-TD since Josh Sweat's 42-yard return on 12/24/22 at Dallas. The Eagles also recorded a pick-6 during the 2022 season opener, when *James Bradberry *went 27 yards for a score on 9/11/22 at Detroit.
- Philadelphia has produced INT-TDs in each of its last two games at Gillette Stadium (previously Malcolm Jenkins' 99-yard return against *Tom Brady *on 12/6/15).
- The Eagles made it a 16-0 game in the first quarter when they finished a 4-play, 26-yard scoring drive with a 5-yard TD pass from Jalen Hurts to *DeVonta Smith. The possession was set up by a Jordan Davis FF against Patriots RB Ezekiel Elliott that was recovered by Zach Cunningham.
- Defensively, the takeaway that set up the scoring drive featured Davis' first career FF as well as Cunningham's first FR since 11/3/19 at Jacksonville with Houston.
- Jake Elliott kicked a 56-yard FG in the third quarter to give Philadelphia a 19-14 advantage during the third quarter. The score completed a 10-play, 33-yard drive by the Eagles.
- Elliott is the franchise's all-time leader in 50+ yard FGs (21, including postseason).
- Elliott's 56-yard FG tied for the 3rd-longest of his NFL career, trailing only a 61-yard FG on 9/24/17 vs. N.Y. Giants and a 58-yard FG on 10/10/21 at Carolina.
- Philadelphia extended its lead to 22-14 at the beginning of the fourth quarter with a 48-yard FG by Jake Elliott, finishing an 11-play, 50-yard scoring possession.
- Jake Elliott added on a 51-yard FG to increase the Eagles lead to 25-14 midway through the fourth quarter.
- Elliott has made two 50+ yard field goals in the same game for the second time in his career (previously occurred 1/8/23 vs. the New York Giants).
- This marks the first time since 1960 that an Eagles kicker has made two 50+ yard field goals in the second half of a game.
MORE FROM THE GAME
- Brandon Graham debuted in his 14th NFL season, tying Chuck Bednarik (1949-62) for the most in Eagles history. Graham also appeared in his 179th game (4th-most in franchise history).
- Jason Kelce started his 140th consecutive regular-season game, which marks the 2nd-longest active streak among all NFL players, trailing only Atlanta's Jake Matthews (144).
- Kelce's streak is the longest by an NFL center since Casey Wiegmann from 2001-11 (175). It is the 2nd-longest in team history, behind Jon Runyan (144, 2000-08).
- James Bradberry recorded the 100th PD of his career during the first half.
- Cam Jurgens made his first career NFL start at the RG position.
- Jalen Carter recorded his first career sack with 51 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, joining Fletcher Cox (9/9/12) and Corey Simon (9/3/2000) as one of three Eagles to record a sack on the road in their first career game. – Compiled by Alli Waddington
Spadaro: 15 takeaways from the Eagles' win over the Patriots
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – This went as expected, the Eagles' opener at New England did, with a tough, physical game of football chess that saw Philadelphia get off to a terrific start, stall in the middle part of the game, and then chip away, chip away, chip away in the later going to win their third straight season lid-lifter on the road – 25-20 over the Patriots on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
"I think first and foremost, I think that's a great, great win, a great win for us, being able to be resilient." quarterback Jalen Hurts said. "Obviously for me, winning is the only thing that matters and that's something that I've always said all the time. And so that is the mentality right now. That will always be the mentality. Winning is the only thing that matters. I think we obviously have things that we need to work on and have to be better in those situations when the ball is in my hands, and I take full accountability for that. But good thing about it is we get the opportunity to play on Thursday."
It was a grinding victory, and all that matters is that the Eagles are 1-0 and have a short week ahead with Minnesota (0-1) coming to town on Thursday night.
"I know we have a lot to clean up," center Jason Kelce said. "But we won the game and we'll take it. That's all that matters. We're leaving here with a win."
Sunday had its share of just about everything, so here is what stood out in the hard-fought win ...
1. Huge defensive effort, particularly late in the fourth quarter after a Jalen Hurts fumble was recovered by New England at the Philadelphia 41-yard line with 3 minutes, 28 seconds remaining. After Ezekiel Elliott gained 5 yards, the defensive line came up big. Josh Sweat and Jordan Davis sacked quarterback Mac Jones for a 7-yard loss on second down, Milton Williams put pressure on Jones on a downfield throw on which cornerback Darius Slay (more on him later) made a nice breakup, and then on fourth-and-17, the line again put some pressure on Jones and made him throw incomplete. Then, after the Eagles failed on a fourth-and-2 play with two minutes remaining, the defense gave a little, gave a little, but ultimately held on downs.
2. Defensive tackle Jalen Carter had his first career sack late in that defensive stand and while the statistics say he had only one tackle, it was for a 3-yard loss and he added a quarterback hurry. He has so much talent and as the defensive line rotated throughout the game, Carter made his presence felt.
"I'm not saying it's my time, but it's time for someone to make a play," Carter said. "At that moment in the game, everybody is rushing trying to make a play for the win. Everybody is just trying to execute the plan."
3. Things started so well for the offense. On its first drive, Philadelphia featured running back Kenneth Gainwell, who had the lead role in the backfield (Rashaad Penny was a healthy scratch). Gainwell had eight touches on the drive for 43 yards (6 rushes, 29 yards; 2 catches, 14 yards). He also made a key block on safety Jabrill Peppers to allow Hurts to convert on a third-and-11 run with a 14-yard gain. In all, Gainwell gained 43 of the team's 56 yards on the drive and 4 of 5 first downs. The drive ended with a Jake Elliott 32-yard field goal.
4. Elliott kicked field goals of 32, 56, 48, and 51 yards. He was on point and had no problem with distance on a rainy New England day.
5. Darius "Big Play" Slay certainly started the season off the right way, picking off Jones on New England's first offensive drive when a Jones pass glanced off the hands of wide receiver Kendrick Bourne into the hands of Slay, who headed down left sideline, made a move inside, and scored on a 70-yard return to give the Eagles a 10-0 lead.
"We got the win, that's all that matters, but we've got to go out there and put out a better tape," Slay said. "We need to go out there and fix our mistakes. Overall we got the win and that's what it's all about. But as a leader on this defense I know we need to go out and execute better cause we're better than that. I have to give props to that team, they came out and made adjustments. We're better than that and we got to go and make a better tape."
6. The defense then had another takeaway on the following possession when Davis stripped Elliott of the football and linebacker Zach Cunningham recovered. Hurts turned that into a touchdown pass to wide receiver DeVonta Smith.
"I didn't even know what happened until I walked to the sideline," Davis said. "I just thought I got a tackle for a loss. Just doing the fundamentals, wrapping at the ball, securing the tackle, and then whatever happens, happens. Grateful for (Cunningham) scooping it up."
7. And what a throw that way – Hurts rolled right and threw a perfect pass with safety Kyle Dugger in coverage and Smith made a sliding catch in the end zone.
"It was perfect coverage, Cover 0. It worked out," Smith said. "It was a great throw by Jalen. He threw the ball low and kept the ball away from the defender." – Written by Dave Spadaro
The Eagles are in New England to take on the Patriots to kick off the 2023 regular season. Check out the best photos from the game!
Justin Evans displays his never-quit mentality in first season with the Eagles
The sixth-year safety was out of football for three years and now is slated to play an important role on gamedays.
Adversity is a part of life. Everyone faces it at some point or another. For some, they must battle more than others. That was the case for Eagles starting safety Justin Evans who was out of football for three years. Evans is back and better than ever, ready to contribute in whatever way he can this season.
"I am trying to get better at something every day," Evans said. "That is what I am always focusing on."
Evans was a second-round pick in 2017 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He started 21 games in his first two seasons until an injury put a long pause on his NFL career.
A toe injury sidelined Evans for numerous weeks late in his second season before an Achilles injury took him out for the next two years. Evans then went without a team in 2021, but re-entered the league last season with the New Orleans Saints.
There were points where Evans considered hanging up his cleats and stepping away from the game he loves.
"I had put football in the past," Evans said. "My mind and body were out of it."
Having a good mindset and using his philosophy of getting better at something every day, Evans was able to work himself back into playing shape.
It was a long road back for Evans, who spent a lot of time rehabbing his injuries and waiting for a team to call.
"Once I started to get my mind back into the swing of things, my body started to come around," Evans said.
"He shows that never-quit mentality," fellow safety Terrell Edmunds said. "A lot of people in that situation probably would have quit. You never know exactly what you have to do until you do it. He was a person in that position and overcame that obstacle."
After a long wait, his return to football saw Evans play in 15 games with the Saints last season, registering 26 tackles and two pass deflections.
In the offseason, Evans signed a one-year contract with Philadelphia.
He could not ask to be in a better situation, where his mind is in a great place and his body is back to where he wants it to be.
"It is an amazing feeling," Evans said. "I went three years without doing anything. Being able to come back and play last year, and my body is still feeling good, that is all I could ask for at the end of the day."
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Evans has quickly made a positive impression on his coaches and teammates. A positive attitude and strong play in his first few months on the team have helped his game progress.
"He would not be in the position he is in if his attitude was not what it is," Blankenship said. "I love playing beside him right now and getting to know him more."
"He does not have any fear," cornerback James Bradberry said. "He is tackling and being physical throughout our practices. He also is a knowledgeable guy. Of course, he was away from the game for a while, but his experience is showing."
Evans played in all three preseason contests, registering nine tackles, including one for a loss.
He was also a big contributor on special teams in the preseason.
The safety returned two punts for 21 yards, with his longest being a 15-yard return. He also defended kickoffs, punts, and field goals.
"I was surprised when I saw him back there catching punts," said a laughing Bradberry. "You have to have great ball skills in order to return punts. And that is one thing you need to play safety. He has that."
And after a strong preseason showing, Evans earned one of two starting safety spots for the season opener against the Patriots.
Evans recorded seven tackles on 77 defensive snaps in a 25-20 road victory. That was tied for third-most in the game.
For Evans, whether he is starting or not, it does not matter what that role is.
"Whatever that role is, I am going to do it," Evans said. "If they want me to play defense all game or special teams all game, I will do what it takes." - Written by Owen Boyle