The New England Patriots rebounded from a listless preseason opener and held on to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles in a 42-35 barnburner. The two sides combined for over 850 yards of total offense, with the reserve defenses in particular getting exploited.
The Patriots first-team offense controlled the entire first quarter, with the Eagles running just a single offensive play in the opening frame. Consequently, we ended up seeing roughly 30 snaps of both the first-string offense and defense, with both units playing well into the second quarter.
In terms of big-picture trends, it's clear a few depth-chart shakeups are coming. We'll get into position-specific battles later on, but wide receiver, interior offensive line and safety look like areas where several reserves deserve more reps against stiffer competition.
Unfortunately, penalties dominated the pace and discourse surrounding the game, an all too common trend throughout this year's preseason. The two teams combined for 21 penalties; last week, the Pats and Washington had 19 together. While many appeared borderline at best, it's clear the Patriots need to make significant adjustments, provided the officials don't loosen up too much when the games start to count.
In spite of some ugly numbers on defense and special teams, Pats fans will surely be happy with their team's bounce-back effort. The first-stringers outclassed the Eagles, providing a much-needed reprieve from last week's debacle. While depth remains an issue at multiple positions, the established starters showed encouraging signs against a playoff-caliber opponent.
Going position by position, let's take a deeper dive into New England's first victory of the exhibition slate.