Eagles vs. Patriots Notebook

Andrew Pluta breaks down some hot topics from the Eagles' preseason victory over the New England Patriots. Find out more inside.

In the third game of their preseason schedule, the Eagles shocked the Patriots with some electrifying plays and came away with a win. Here are some notes from the game:

No Curtis or Brown, No Problem -

Many people feel that one of the Eagles biggest shortcomings is the lack of a true number one receiver for Donovan McNabb to throw to, so there was definitely some concern about how the offense would perform without injured starters Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown.

McNabb responded with an efficient performance, completing 13-of-17 pass attempts for 180 yards, and the young receiving corps stepped up as well. Rookie DeSean Jackson led the team in catches for the third straight week, recording four receptions for 67-yards, while Jason Avant contributed by making a spectacular catch on a 7-yard touchdown pass from McNabb.

Rookie Quintin Demps was congratulated by teammates and coaches after returning a kickoff 101-yards for a touchdown against the Patriots.
Jim Rogash (Getty Images)

Special Delivery -

While the offense looked good against the Patriots in Friday's game, the special teams definitely delivered the momentum-changing plays that put New England in a deep hole.

Quintin Demps provided the first big play with a 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with just under two minutes left to play in the first half. Demps showed good moves on the return and punished a would-be-tackler to spring free and put the Eagles up 17-3.

As if that play wasn't enough to give the team some momentum, the Eagles held the Pats to a three-and-out on their next series, and Jackson responded with an electrifying 76-yard punt return for a touchdown with no time left on the clock that gave Philadelphia a 24-3 lead at the end of the half.

The Hunt for a Fullback -

It is still hard to say who will be starting at fullback in Philadelphia when the regular season starts, but Tony Hunt got to make his case against New England as he got the nod from the coaches. Hunt looked solid and showed some potential by converting two third-and-short situations with bruising runs up the middle on the Eagles' first scoring drive of the second quarter.

The second-year back out of Penn State finished the game with six carries for 16 yards and also had a solo tackle on special teams.

Sack Attack -

The Eagles' defense put on its best pass rushing performance of the preseason against New England, as Jim Johnson's unit picked up four sacks in the game and took advantage of Tom Brady's absence.

J.R. Reed, Trent Cole, Juqua Parker, and Jerome McDougle all recorded sacks in the game, with McDougle getting a take-down for the second consecutive game.

Penalties Aplenty -

If there is one thing the Eagles' need to focus on based on the preseason so far, it's cutting down on mental mistakes. Against the Patriots, they were flagged eight times for a total of 121-yards, and most of the calls were for avoidable errors, like jumping before the snap or being lined up in an illegal formation.

In three preseason games, the Eagles have been hit with a total of 26 penalties for 284-yards.

Andrew Pluta can be reached at ajp8231@gmail.com

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