The New England Patriots gained a measure of revenge on the Philadelphia Eagles for Super Bowl LII, earning a 37-20 win Thursday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Tom Brady played the entire first half, throwing for 172 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-26 passing.
Tom Brady Already in Midseason Form
Brady has nothing to prove and little to gain in a preseason game, which makes his performance all the more surprising. The 2017 Associated Press MVP seemingly had a chip on his shoulder Thursday night.
Skip Bayless @RealSkipBayless
Tom Brady is already in late-season MVP form on opening drive. Didn't miss a single throw (5-5). Slid right in the pocket to buy time so Hogan could uncover for the TD catch. And Belichick wanted his "son" Jimmy G to be the new starter this season. He's SO LUCKY to have Brady.
While few fans believed Brady seriously considered retirement this offseason, the story reinforced the fact he's likely in the twilight of his playing career. He turned 41 earlier this month and is approaching his 19th regular season in the NFL.
Brady's 4,577 passing yards led the NFL in 2017, so he showed no signs of slowing down last year. Still, the aging curve eventually catches up with everybody. Joe Montana and Dan Marino didn't play past 38, while Brett Favre was 41 when he retired for good.
Based on Thursday night, Brady has at least one more season of elite football left, thus keeping the Patriots' Super Bowl window wide open.
James White Emerging as Key to Patriots Surviving Edelman Suspension
Julian Edelman made his 2018 preseason debut Thursday night, catching four passes for 26 yards. While eligible to suit up for New England in the preseason, Edelman is suspended for the first four games of the regular season.
His absence will leave a big void in the offense, and the Patriots may be able to count on James White to help fill that hole based on his numbers against the Eagles.
White ran for 31 yards on four carries and caught six passes for 61 yards and a touchdown.
In addition to Edelman's suspension, the Patriots lost leading rusher Dion Lewis, who signed with the Tennessee Titans. White could be headed for a breakout year for the Patriots in 2018. His pass-catching ability could make him a regular target for Brady, and he's likely to get a good share of the carries that went to Lewis a year ago.
Fantasy football owners in particular should take note of Thursday's game.
Nick Foles Injury Adds Urgency For Wentz to Return
Carson Wentz missed Philadelphia's defeat while continuing his recovery from a torn ACL.
Before Thursday, it looked like the Eagles could be as patient as necessary with Wentz's return. They'd be able to call upon Nick Foles as the starting quarterback before Wentz was ready to go.
That's a luxury Philadelphia may no longer have. Foles started the game 3-of-9 for 44 yards before the team confirmed he suffered a shoulder strain. While the Eagles wouldn't want to rush Wentz back and play him when he's injured, starting their title defense with Nate Sudfeld in Week 1 would be less than ideal.
Trading for a veteran passer would have risks of its own since Philadelphia would have to give the quarterback a crash course in the offensive scheme ahead of the regular-season opener against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Eagles don't need to be in panic mode just yet, but Wentz's recovery could become an even bigger story depending on the severity of Foles' shoulder injury.
The Eagles stay on the road for their third preseason game when they take on the Cleveland Browns on Aug. 23. The Patriots head to Charlotte, North Carolina, on Aug. 24 for a matchup with the Carolina Panthers.