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Patriots get revenge on Eagles as defenses dominate in Super Bowl LII rematch

The New England Patriots have returned from their farewell week with a spirited 17-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. A game that included two of the best quarterbacks in the league was instead a defensive battle. The Pats improved at 9-1 while the Eagles’ record dropped to 5-5.

Here are three things that stood out from this game.

  1. The fireworks were few and far between: the revenge of Super Bowl LII presented very few of the fireworks that made the victory of the 41-33 eagles an immediate classic. Instead, both teams fought offensively as they looked like shells of themselves.

Carson Wentz was still injured in that February 2018 match, so this rematch meant nothing to him. Tom Brady told reporters this week that he has yet to overcome the loss of Philly, but was unable to translate those emotions into a dominant show on Sunday.

Patriots get revenge on Eagles

Neither of the two offenses managed to settle into a rhythm despite multiple approaches. The no-huddle did not bring the time sought by any unit. Bad direction has produced mixed results, as have conjuring tricks. Both quarterbacks struggled with precision, and this showed more on the third fall. Wentz and the Eagles have converted only 3 of the 13 attempts at reducing the money while Brady and Patriots were 5 by 16. For the game, Wentz managed to complete only 20 of 40 passes for just 214 yards and a touchdown, and was fired five times. Brady, meanwhile, completed 26 of 47 yards for 216 yards and no touchdowns. And the Patriots’ solitary touchdown came on a trap from the large receiver Julian Edelman to Phillip Dorsett.

  1. Family needs everywhere: both the crimes of Eagles and those of Patriots are fighting because of a common deficiency: wide-ranging talent. Philly’s most explosive weapon, DeSean Jackson is in injured reserve and Alshon Jeffery was sidelined with an ankle injury. New England has not yet found a collaborator to fill that gap caused by Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, and we are more than halfway through the season. Both teams have talented quarterbacks and guys like Brady and Wentz can help improve their support. But they still need targets that can win 1-on-1 matchups.

Edelman remains a special player, but it’s easy for the defenses to focus on limiting his production when they don’t have to worry about his teammates. Dorsett has left the game with a head injury and Mohamed Sanu has yet to settle in a comfort zone. Brady had to throw away the balls more often than he wanted because the boys weren’t opening before the pressure came. We continue to wait for a new threat to emerge for patriots, but so far it has not happened.

Wentz, meanwhile, missed his main goals even more. Too often he held the ball too long, hoping that something would open down, only to be fired. In addition to Wentz’s struggles, it was the head injury to deal with Lane Johnson’s right arm. Protection problems really arose once Johnson left the game. Wentz could never get comfortable. There were even times when he had sufficient protection, but none was open. There were some rare events in which the targets opened, but the quarterback seemed nervous and his passages sailed high or were short.

  1. Defenses deserve credit: we should not completely block offensive struggles over the lack of a vast talent for receivers. Both the Eagles and the Patriots invented and executed effective game plans. The Patriots looked like their usual dominants, and recorded their 28th takeaway leader in the championship on a lot of Wentz fumes in the first half. New England pass rushes overwhelmed Philly’s line during the game. Both units did a good job against the race, and they did a good job of limiting the big play. The Patriots has a couple of almost wiretaps. Both teams can thank their defenses for keeping them in Sunday’s game.

The New England defense is so dominant that the Patriots will have the chance to win any game they find themselves in. Even the defense of the Eagles offers them a chance, but a loss like Sunday’s will bite. Philly kept the vaunted Patriots at only 17 points and about 300 net yards. It is usually a recipe for success. But they failed to get the offensive production needed for a win. Meanwhile, the Cowboys won on Sunday and improved to 6-4 to stay on top of the NFC East.

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