Patriots vs Eagles: Six Keys to Victory

Tom Brady Patriots

Tom Brady wants to put a ring on it. (Photo: ICON SMI)

NEPD Staff Writer: Doug Kyed

I came away from Sunday’s victory with one very important lesson: stop worrying about the Patriots run defense! All season I’ve worried about when the Patriots are going to have to face a scrambling QB, or when they’ll have to face a competent speedy RB. After seeing the Patriots shut down Lesean McCoy and Vince Young in the running game like Kevin McCallister in Home Alone, I’m not afraid anymore.

I’m not trying to be too big of a homer after this game, but I’m feeling pretty confident in this team right now. Brady’s looking good, he’s spreading the ball around and they’ve got a multi-headed running attack. The defense is coming around, they can stop the run, they can limit the pass, they’ve been great against third downs and most importantly, they force turnovers and the offense doesn’t turn the ball over.

Here are my six keys to victory this week over the Eagles:


At this point, it’s almost boring to write about Brady. When all of his receivers are healthy and when his arm is fully healthy (which it looked like in this game) he’s nearly unstoppable. While Rob Gronkowski was getting a lot of love lately and Welker was nearly ignored last week, the opposite was the case this week. The fact is, you can’t cover everyone in this Patriots offense and either Gronk, Welker, Branch or Hernandez is going to have a nice game. With Brandon Hughes on Deion Branch and Joselio Hanson on Welker, it made sense to look their way.

I can’t explain why Tiquan Underwood and Julian Edelman were playing on offense over Taylor Price. I wish I could, but I can’t. I’ll say one thing about it though, Underwood is terrible as a WR. He was terrible last year with Jacksonville and he’ll probably be terrible in New England. I’ll give Brady and Underwood equal blame for the dropped pass against Philly, but I’d rather see Matt Slater in at WR over Underwood.

I feel like a lot of credit has to be given to the Patriots O-line as well. Sebastian Vollmer, Matt Light and Nate Solder did a great job in limiting Jason Babin and Trent Cole to zero sacks. The Patriots o-line allowed one sack inside to Mike Patterson and just two QB hits inside.


Granted, the Eagles got away from the run because the Patriots got so hot on offense, but at the same time, the Eagles did have a 10-0 lead at one point! Still, the Patriots did a fantastic job limiting the league’s rushing leader and one of the best running QBs in the league.

A lot of credit needs to be handed to the Patriots linebackers. I actually liked Belichick’s scheme of having Rob Ninkovich playing a lot of LDE. It was a bit of a hybrid 3-4/4-3 that allowed the Patriots have more athletic run stoppers on the field to limit the edges for McCoy and Young.

Trust me, I’d always like to see Mark Anderson playing over Tracy White or Gary Guyton, but you don’t need to pressure Vince Young to force him to throw inaccurate passes, it’s far more worth it to limit his athleticism.


The Patriots didn’t a allow a third down conversion until the end of the 3rd quarter. That’s pretty amazing. They only allowed four total, and three of those came on the last Eagles drive in garbage time. For a team that was playing Julian Edelman at CB on third down, that’s pretty good!

This no-name defense continues to click, and you’d think it will get even better when Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Brandon Spikes and Dane Fletcher come back. Not only will that bump Antwaun Molden, Sterling Moore and Tracy White out of starting roles, it will also move Sergio Brown and Gary Guyton further down the depth chart. I would include a CB in there, but Phillip Adams and Julian Edelman haven’t really struggled too badly.


I won’t try to say the Patriots running game was good per se, but they did win the time of possession battle 32:43 to 27:17. With such a high powered passing game, it’s very important to slow down the game down at times with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and crew.

The other key to controlling the clock was forcing the Eagles to pass as well. Everyone will look at the 400 yards that Vince Young put up, and sure, no teams should probably allow Vince Young to put 400 yards up on them, but when you’re leading 38-13, the opposition is going to have to throw the ball. I’m fine with the national media continuing to ignore the Patriots scoring defense and continue to only key in on the amount of yards they’re allowing. I hope teams continue to think the Patriots defense is a pushover.


The Patriots only forced one turnover, but that looks pretty good when they don’t allow any giveaways either. The Patriots were also only charged with three penalies to Philly’s 10 and the Patriots won pretty much every other meaningful battle as well: 3rd down efficiency, red zone scoring, but not total yards.

Call it a bend, but don’t break defense, call it a defense that only allows big yards when the game’s out of hand or call it a defense that only plays well against crappy teams, but the Pats defense has now had a good performance in seven of their last eight games.


I’ve been down on Deion Branch lately, and I’ve seen some people down on Aaron Hernandez lately as well, but on Sunday, all four of Brady’s main targets had great games. In fact, they’re the only four players that actually caught passes for New England.

Trust is a word that gets thrown around a lot with the Patriots and it’s pretty obvious that these are four of the most trusted targets Brady has ever had. When Ochocinco and Taylor Price won’t step up, at least Branch, Welker, Hernandez and Gronkowski are still around to take the load off. This was obviously done with an unhealthy Nnamdi Asomugha, no Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a weak safety and linebacker group, but it was still a solid effort. Asante Samuel and Joselio Hanson are no slouches.

Hernandez might not have gained 100 yards or caught a touchdown, but he had a nice quiet game with a one handed catch and 62 yards on six catches and seven targets. No fumbles, no drops, mistake free football which is very nice to see for the 22 year old.

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7 Responses to “Patriots vs Eagles: Six Keys to Victory”

  1. TD says:

    One key; #12. Moved around the pocket, called audibles at the line and delivered big plays to Welker, Branch & Gronk.

    As for the guys competing for the #3 WR spot. If they are not in the lineup (Ocho, Price) it is because they are not grasping the routes and the blocking responsiblities in practice and/or games. If BB & #12 cannot rely on them, they are not playing.

  2. DWE2012 says:

    The Reason or the Excuse regarding; Why Price wasn’t in and Edleman & Underwood were?
    BB will always throw things off, just to throw opposing team’s off, but to be blunt, he clammed up on Q&A regarding Price recently as well. Personally, I think Price is in the boat that peole are saying about OCHO.
    He’s just not getting it. He’s not grasping a complex Offence correctly/properly OR timely. + I think he’s a little Fragile if i had to say so. Between Being little fragile and not catching on….not being able to fully put it together……..unless part of it is BB playing pawn & holding him back for a bit, Thus next year Price will be shredding the field…..I say Price need’s to go. and in a deal prefferably to me, W/Hoyer.
    Both could command a decent pick and or player that we could use/need and actually put to use.
    Cunningham as well….? Between not being up to par/potential and as well in addition depending on if we stay with the 4-3 OR the 3-4, he’s also on my 2Go List….

    *I say specifically we use this game against the Colt’s who are tossing games IMO, and A/. use both Ridley and Vereen all game long(along with Woody), and even more so……B/. Play Hoyer A.S.A.P regarding when we have the game won. We need to showcase him a bit, give him some rep’s and show what he’s got so we can see what we can get for him? It’s a contract year, we have Mallet, he is(Hoyer is) never used, why pay him more for absolutely nothing?

    Price, either play’s early next season OR goes by the trade deadline.
    Hoyer, I’d look at either Seattle, Bear’s, K.C. or even Houston to dump him to.
    Cunningham, Debatable. But i’d throw him in with either one of the above two.

    • qwerty55555 says:

      From a fan perspective, he appears fragile

      When Price did get on the field, he did should good route running and decent talent

      There is no hint that he doesn’t understand the Patriots plays book or system

      I’d like to see Price prove

      1) he is not injury prone

      2) prove himself in games more

      to determine if he should be clearly cut or kept on roster nest season

      • DWE2012 says:

        *How would for you, he prove he’s “NOT” injury prone……?
        If he’s not injured as much as some would or could think…..wouldn’t he be put in more by this time already???

        *How would for you, show “proof in games more”……?
        If he’s ‘NOT” a little more injury prone than some has been let on about be it a simple fan thought or an actual “knowledgable football guy with or without connection’s to the game somehow. & / OR if he was actually catching on more than some may seem to think, why again wouldn’t he then be in more games still???

        The only way to prove your not injury prone(weither it’s known or not), aand the only way to prove that you’ve caught onto “the system”, is by BB & TB12 having the confidence in what they see you have done and do in practice and then of course on the field………

        ***Again, if he’s not injury prone and he’s caught on then he’s either in regular starting with intergration RIGHT NOW, and subsiquent intergration fron the begining of the year 1st thing next season……… ON THE REGULAR, or it’s Peace-Out Price by the trade deadline!!!!!!!!!

        There is NO REASON for him not to have the intergration of him on our Offencive team by now UNLESS he is either 1 or 2 thing’s if not both.

        A/. He’s injury prone more than what’s been let on.
        B/. He’s just not grasping it like he should.
        OR C/. BB is deliberetly holding him back as a diamond in the ruff & will put him in the spotlight after we see what’s up at the end of the year with both Welker’s contract & Ocho’s actual worth.

        *You don’t bring in a guy like Underwood from the Jag’s if Price is worthy now, and you don’t clearly spend 4.5 million up front plus a few 2 to 3 MIl a year for three year’s on Chad OCHO johnson if Price is good………

        On another tip; What do you all think it’s gonna take to get D12 in New England/Boston area playing for the Celtic’s?

        D12( Dwight Howard) would go well in this area…..right along side with TB12(Tom Brady).

  3. qwerty55555 says:

    The most important thing from here on out is going into playoffs healthy.

    Also McCourty picking up his game and secondary improving communication.

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