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Week 13 Game Recap: Philadelphia Eagles 35, New England Patriots 28


What you need to know

Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles traveled to New England as major underdogs and rode their defense/special teams to an unlikely victory. You heard that correctly; their defense and special teams catered a road upset. The return of Sam Bradford cemented stability at the quarterback position, and in true game manager style, he avoided mistakes while keeping the offense upright. At this point, there aren't much for superstars in Chip Kelly's offense; just contributors filling roles and occasionally making big plays. On Sunday, those big plays came via a punt return touchdown, a pick-six, a blocked extra point returned and a quarterback playing smart, collective football. The win, however, wouldn't come without some discomfort. The Eagles coughed up a fumble, botched an onside kick and nearly threw the game away late. But in the end, the defense held and the Kelly's crew ended a four-game losing streak.

New England Patriots

-James White can hopefully continue to build on his stellar performance. If he does, he will be a key factor down the stretch -Brady looks to be regressing negatively, occasionally sensing pressure when it isn't there and forcing balls into places they shouldn't be thrown. Time will tell if this is a symptom of his offensive line, receivers, or some combination thereof. -Brandon LaFell can't be trusted until he finally has a decent game in 2015.

Philadelphia Eagles

QB Sam Bradford, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 24 - 120 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0
The Eagles were a mess without Sam Bradford, who made his first start since Week 10. If there's a perfect way to reintroduce your otherwise unstable quarterback, it's by asking him to do little while protecting him a lot. That's exactly the way it worked out. Thanks to special teams and defense, he was needed only to do the thing he does best: manage the game. With a hat-tip to the offensive line, he was able to operate cleanly out of the pocket and took only one sack. The running game kept pressure off while the Eagles defense kept the game in check. The net result was Bradford attempting only 24 passes. Even though the box score is less than flattering, he looked confident and sharp, finding Zach Ertz on a third down for a score when the game was tilting against the Eagles 0-14. Then, late in the fourth, up two scores, he delivered the nail with a touchdown pass to Jordan Matthews, who had beat two defenders a on a shallow cross. All things being equal, Bradford put together a solid effort and kept his team alive in a broken NFC East.

RB Darren Sproles, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 66 - 0, Rec: 4 - 34 - 0 (6 targets)
Darren Sproles was the clear star of the day. He was a monster out of the backfield as both a runner and a receiver, and blew the game wide-open with an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown. His 100 offensive yards were the most by any Eagles player as he routinely showed burst and patience as a runner, and slipped his way through questionable linebacker play as a receiver. He led the team in receptions and carries, and dominated snap counts among Eagles' running backs.

RB Kenjon Barner, 12 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 39 - 0, Rec: 2 - 7 - 0 (2 targets)
Filling in for Ryan Mathews, who missed a third straight game, Kenjon Barner chipped in 11 touches for 46 total yards. The Eagles offensive line played a great game on Sunday, which allowed their speedy backs in Darren Sproles and Barner to find creases against the Patriots linebackers. Barner's acceleration through the gaps and around the edges makes him a great fit for the Eagles scheme. But he lost a fumble late in the fourth quarter which could have cost the Eagles the win. It was an otherwise solid day for the former track star.

RB DeMarco Murray, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 24 - 0
One would think with the Eagles in clear clock-killing mode for a good portion of the second half, DeMarco Murray would reap the benefits. Instead, he touch the ball only eight times. Seven of those touches accumulated only seven yards, with his only highlight of the afternoon coming on blast up the middle for 17 yards. He played only 14 snaps to Darren Sproles' 35 and just barely edged Kenjon Barner's 12. It was the least amount of playing time he has seen all year when healthy. Clearly, Chip Kelly has either lost faith in Murray, or he is dealing with an undisclosed injury. Whatever the case, baffling usage and even worse blocking aligns him as the fantasy bust of the year, an honor he would be running away with if not for Eddie Lacy.

WR Jordan Matthews, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 36 - 1 (6 targets)
With the Eagles in firm control of the game, Sam Bradford and his receivers weren't asked to do much. Jordan Matthews was the recipient of six targets - tied for the most with Darren Sproles - but was only able to secure three of them. His day would be almost forgettable were a not for a late touchdown in which he cut through two defenders on a shallow cross. Bradford dropped a perfect pass while rolling to his right. That touchdown all but sealed the victory as it gave the Eagles a three-score lead in the fourth quarter.

WR Riley Cooper, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (1 targets)
Riley Cooper was the only Eagles' receiver outside of Jordan Matthews to record a stat in this game. But he did contribute two big plays. The first of which occurred during an onside kick attempt by the Patriots. Cooper attacked the ball and swatted it out of bounds before New England was able to recover. Later on that same series, with the Eagles up by only touchdown and facing a 3rd and 11, he secured a high throw for 14 yards and a first down. That catch would have sealed the game had Kenjon Barner not fumbled a few plays later.

TE Zach Ertz, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 9 - 1 (4 targets)
Zach Ertz returned to form on Sunday and out-snapped Brent Celek 53-37. He was only able to secure two of his four targets, one of which was a diving touchdown catch after he beat his man in the endzone with the Eagles trailing 0-14. That was the good Ertz. The bad Ertz showed up on an onside kick attempt by the Patriots. He was first to the ball but wasn't able to secure the catch as he went to the ground, effectively fumbling back to New England.

TE Brent Celek, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (1 targets)
With Zach Ertz back in the lineup, and without much need for passing, Brent Celek's box score doesn't have much to brag about. He did secure his only target on a nice catch-and-run for 16 yards that put the Eagles in scoring position. Ertz scored the touchdown a few plays later.


New England Patriots

QB Tom Brady, 89 offensive snaps, Pass: 29 - 56 - 312 - 3 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 6 - 17 - 1, Rec: 1 - 36 - 0 (1 targets)
2015 is turning out as an exact opposite of the 2014 season for the Patriots. In 2014, the Patriots started off with numerous duds, then starting getting hot, eventually winning it all. In 2015, the Patriots started off on fire, but have played like a pedestrian team over the last month without any convincing wins. Though his o-line and receiving corps continue to stink up the joint partially due to injuries, Brady had his fair blame in the game against the Eagles. His most egregious plays were his two interceptions, which were absolutely baffling, particularly his 100 yard pick 6. Brady tried to thread a ball to Danny Amendola, one of the dumbest decisions and throws you'll see any quarterback make. The ball was deflected, popped in the air, and returned for a pick 6 for a complete momentum shift. One of the better plays of the day involved trickery that saw Danny Amendola take a snap and use Brady as a wide receiver for 36 yards. Who knew? After that play, Brady promptly threw another interception on a deep ball to Brandon LaFell, as there was clear miscommunication on the route. Why Brady keeps throwing deep balls to LaFell is anyone's guess, as LaFell has played simply terribly this year, but he keeps trying to force the issue with absolutely no success. These gaffes, along with special teams miscues, allowed the Eagles to rattle off 35 unanswered points. In spite of that, Brady did throw for 4 touchdowns, though they weren't enough to make up for the gaffes. His first was a short toss to James White, who leaked out of the backfield. His second touchdown was a beautiful route by Danny Amendola, who blew by a cornerback on a corner route for an easy score. Brady's third touchdown came in near garbage time on a Scott Chandler corner route, while his 4th was a quarterback sneak. Brady also constantly sensed phantom pressure in the pocket, something you don't see often from him. He and the entire team needs to get their act together, or they'll be one and done in the playoffs in spite of Gronk and Edelman's returns.

RB LeGarrette Blount, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 54 - 0
Though he ran decently, Blount was an afterthought for most of the second half as the Patriots played catch up, limiting his touches. His first series of the game saw a couple of great cutbacks to pick up plenty of extra yards. But going forward, if the Patriots fall behind in other games, he won't be able to see his necessary workload to be effective.

RB James White, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0, Rec: 10 - 115 - 1 (13 targets)
About the only player to actually show up for the miserable Patriots offense was James White, who arguably had a breakout game against the Eagles. Particularly once the Patriots got down big, Brady continually looked White's way, and White delivered, catching multiple key passes and even showing some Dion Lewis-esque moves on his way to a stellar day. White's touchdown was a simple out from the backfield, beating coverage in the process. If he plays like this, the Patriots offense finally has a dynamic back out of the backfield, as that's something that has been sorely missing since Dion Lewis went down.

WR Danny Amendola, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 36 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 7 - 62 - 1 (13 targets)
Though Amendola played reasonably, he did have a couple drops, with a key one on the Patriots final drive to ensure the Eagles won the game. He's definitely a good slot receiver, but probably isn't suited as the Patriots #1 target, which means Edelman and Gronk need to heal up ASAP for the passing attack to thrive again. Amendola's touchdown was a nifty corner route against a defensive back that saw him pretty wide open as he blew by his defender.

WR Brandon LaFell, 84 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 27 - 0 (9 targets)
There's below average, there's bad, and there's how Brandon LaFell played against the Eagles. Continually getting no separation, miscommunications with Tom Brady, critical drops, and more were all in play for the wide receiver. If the Patriots had more depth, there would be little doubt that LaFell wouldn't be seeing the snaps he is. Unfortunately, with injuries, he has to be on the field, and it's not working well at all. On one deep ball he could have caught, LaFell simply stopped his route, and ended up narrowly missing a catch. One of Brady's interceptions was a miscommunicated deep throw to LaFell. It's clear LaFell may not get back to his 2014 form, which is sad since has the opportunity to shine right now.

WR Keshawn Martin, 86 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 45 - 0 (8 targets)
Though he played meaningful snaps against the Eagles, Martin's biggest contributions were a deep P.I. call and a critical drop on the final drive of the game. It was not a good game for Martin, who struggled to catch the ball at times, and struggled to get separation against a beatable secondary at others.

TE Scott Chandler, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 61 - 1 (7 targets)
Chandler mixed the good with the bad, as usual. He had a nice contested catch early in the game, and did score a touchdown on a corner route. He also helped James White score his touchdown, as Chandler was a focal point by the defense in the red zone due to his size. However, he mixed in his usual dropsies here and there. Until Gronk is healthy, he's the guy, for better or for worse.