The Patriots improve to 8-3 to maintain their two game lead over the Jets in the AFC East after a 38-20 rout of the Eagles. This week's match up was hyped as a must-win for the struggling Eagles, who sit at third place in the NFC East. But for the Patriots, it meant silencing some doubters who felt they might struggle against a good defense and an often dynamic offense.
It turns out that the depleted Eagles are still in trouble, as their hot start early in the first quarter cooled quickly once Brady began to fire back.
Philly and their backup starter Vince Young looked unstoppable on their first drive of the game, going up 7-0 just 2:47 into the start of the game. Young went deep to Celek for 22 yards on the very first snap, then shortly thereafter he hit Riley Cooper for a 58 yard bomb to bring them to the New England 4-yard line. The 5 play, 84 yard drive culminated in a two yard touchdown run from LeSean McCoy.
The Patriots did nothing on their first possession, punting the ball back to the Eagles. Young promptly hit DeSean Jackson deep down the middle for 44 yards. They got all the way to the Patriot 25 yard line but failed to convert on third down, setting up a successful Alex Henery 43 yard field goal to put them up 10-0.
It was starting to look like the Patriots would have yet another scoreless first quarter when Brady and the offense got the ball for the second time. Only this time they leaned on BenJarvus Green-Ellis to establish some rhythm on and help their defense get some rest on the sideline. It worked, and on his 8th carry of the drive Green-Ellis finally put the Patriots on the board with a four yard touchdown run.
On their next drive, Brady really started to hit his stride, hitting hitting Aaron Hernandez for 30 yards and completing a deep pass to Deion Branch who almost took it to the house, getting tackled at the 1 yard line for a 63 yard gain. Green-Ellis again ran it into the end zone, to put the Patriots up 14-10. They would never relinquish the lead after that.
After they went down 10-0, the Patriots went on a 38-3 scoring run, dominating in every facet of their offensive game. Tom Brady finished the game 24/34 for 361 yards and three touchdowns; for a quarterback rating of 134.6. Deion Branch and Wes Welker had 125 and 115 yards respectively. Branch, Welker, Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski combined for 361 yards and three touchdowns, and the Patriots as a team managed 104 yards on the ground; including 27 rushing yards from Brady.
On the other hand, the Patriot secondary was prescribed a major dose of luck. Vince Young threw for 400 yards, 1 touchdown and an interception. A few huge passes dropped by Desean Jackson could have turned into points for the Eagles, but Young and his receivers struggled all night long in the red zone even when they excelled between the 20s.
Also disappointing for the Eagles was LeSean McCoy, who had one of his worst games of the season amassing just 31 yards on 10 carries. The Patriots defensive line held the best rushing offense in the league to 73 total yards on the ground.
The Pats look ahead now to next week the Patriots take on the winless Colts, which is the closest thing to a guaranteed win in the NFL as there is.