Tom Brady dissected the Eagles' defense, completing 24-of-34 passes for 361 yards with three TDs and no INTs. WRs Wes Welker (8 receptions, 115 yards, 2 TDs) and Deion Branch (6 receptions, 125 yards) shouldered the load, while TEs Aaron Hernandez (6 catches, 62 yards) and Rob Gronkowski (4 catches, 59 yards, TD) chipped in. The most impressive aspect: Going up against Philadelphia's vaunted pass rush, the Patriots allowed only one sack.
The overall numbers aren't particularly impressive: 104 yards on 36 trots (2.9 yards per carry) and it's never a good thing when Tom Brady (5 carries, 28 yards) is your second leading rusher. But BenJarvus Green-Ellis produced some key carries on the first scoring drive, reached the end zone twice and helped turn the momentum around.
The Eagles' passing numbers ballooned as Vince Young finished 26-of-48 for 400 yards. But New England and a dinged-up secondary limited the damage overall. In fact, the high passing numbers were a direct result of New England opening such a big lead that it forced the Eagles to abandon their running game. The Patriots tightened up on third down and in the red zone and Antwaun Molden registered his first career INT.
Going up against the league's leading rusher and a mobile quarterback was a recipe for disaster on the ground. Instead, the Patriots limited LeSean McCoy to a mere 31 yards on 10 carries, while Vince Young added 40 yards on six carries. The Eagles generated a mere 73 yards on 17 carries (4.3 yards per trot), but take away a 22-yard run by McCoy and the Eagles did virtually nothing outside of Young's scrambling.
Not much to rave about here as Stephen Gostkowski missed a 39-yard field goal early on. But much was made entering the game about DeSean Jackson's big-play potential and, of New England's three punts, the Eagles fair caught two of them and let another get downed. Zoltan Mesko finished with a 48.3 average and pinned two inside the 20. Simply not giving Jackson a chance to beat them was a victory here.
Patriots coaches pumped the tires of the Eagles all week and that may have helped keep their team afloat when Philadelphia scored the game's first 10 points. New England didn't get discouraged and rallied back, overcoming their own injuries (particularly on defense). It wasn't exactly pretty, but the Patriots are 8-3, and the bottom line is all that matters.