FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Outside of the obvious special teams miscues that have been well documented, here are some of the primary issues that stood out in film review of the New England Patriots' 35-28 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday:
1. Pass-blocking too inconsistent. Start by giving credit to the Eagles and impressive tackle Fletcher Cox, while also noting there simply were too many 1-on-1 matchups that weren't won by Patriots blockers. The struggles were across the board. One reflection of how it came in waves was when left tackle Sebastian Vollmer had a rough series in the third quarter in which he was called for an illegal block in the back penalty, then gave up two pressures on the same drive. Quarterback Tom Brady's goal-line interception came as left guard Josh Kline, who had a tough day, couldn't hold his block. The play before, right tackle Marcus Cannon was a step slow as a rusher pretty much came free off his side. Pick a series, pick a player, and chances are it won't be hard to find some miscues. Overall, it just wasn't good enough. This group has to win more 1-on-1 matchups, and if the Patriots are considering a personnel shake-up, one suggestion is to see how it looks with David Andrews at center and Bryan Stork at left guard.
2. Pass-catchers not getting open. When quarterback Tom Brady did have time, pass-catchers weren't consistently getting open. This can sometimes be hard to judge without the coaches film, but there were enough examples on the TV broadcast to see that the windows in which Brady was sometimes throwing were either very tight or really no window at all. Not all of the hits on Brady were a result of initial protection breakdowns; some of them came because the coverage forced him to hold on to the ball longer than he wanted. Brady never truly seemed comfortable based on the combination of inconsistent protection and lack of open pass-catchers.
3. Defensive front displaced in running game. The Eagles did an effective job making the sturdy Patriots' front six move laterally in the first half, not allowing them to play to their strengths in a downhill type fashion. This created displacement in the Patriots' run fits, and slippery quick running back Darren Sproles often found the creases. The edges were sometimes compromised as well, with the Eagles allowed to get outside. When the opposition has runs of 8, 7, 6, 19, 13, 7 and 12 yards in the first half, that's too much leakage on defense. Run defense, for the second week in a row, was an issue.
4. Dropped passes and ineffective blocking by pass-catchers. The throws weren't always on target, but sometimes pass-catchers have to help out a quarterback under duress. Outside of Danny Amendola a couple of times, Brady didn't get much help in this area. Too many drops. Also, the Patriots' wide receiver position is known as a feisty blocking group, but it had the action taken to them more often that not on Sunday. Receiver Keshawn Martin, in particular, didn't have much success in that area, while Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins was one of the best players on the field throughout the game.