New England Patriots, Eagles Tied 14-14: Halftime Thoughts


As we head to halftime, the New England Patriots are tied with the Philadelphia Eagles, 14-14.

Yikes, not exactly a great way for the first half to end.

After a scoreless first quarter, the New England Patriots took an immediate lead, scoring a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. The four yard pass from Tom Brady to running back James White gave the Patriots a 7-0 lead. After a quick punt, the Patriots took back possession, and immediately drove the ball down the field.

Brady found the returning Danny Amendola on a corner route in the back of the end-zone, and Amendola made an incredible catch to give the Patriots a 14-0 lead. While they had been far from perfect, the Patriots were clearly in control of the game.

Then, things got a little weird. For some reason, Bill Belichick had safety Nate Ebner do a drop kick on the ensuing kickoff, giving the Eagles incredible field position for their next drive. Sam Bradford was able to drive downfield, and tie the game up on a five-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Ertz on a big third down play.

The two teams traded punts, before the Patriots got the ball back with 1:32 remaining, and could not decide whether to run the clock out or go for a score. A mixture of successful running plays, a sack and an incompletion caused the Patriots to line up for a punt with only eight seconds remaining in the half.

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The Eagles brought pressure up the middle, and the Ryan Allen punt was blocked by Chris Maragos. Eagles linebacker Najee Goode picked the ball up and raced into the end zone for a score. The Patriots and Eagles are tied at halftime.

Obviously, this has not been the greatest showing for the Patriots in the first half. Offensively, they have been alright with the running game looking much better than in recent weeks. However, the Eagles are getting consistent pressure on Brady, and his lack of options in the receiving game is showing.

Brandon LaFell looks terrible, and Amendola is not 100% healthy. The Patriots need to keep the running game going and try to get tight end Scott Chandler more involved. Chandler will never be mistaken for Rob Gronkowski, but he is a huge target with some nice receiving ability. Compared to the other options, Chandler is a stud.

The Patriots have played very well defensively, forcing the Eagles to dink-and-dunk down the field. A more consistent pass rush would do wonders here, but the main concern for the Patriots defense has to be Eagles running back Darren Sproles.

Sproles has 44 rushing yards on only seven carries, and four receptions for 34 yards. When the Eagles want to get Sproles involved, the Patriots simply have not had an answer. The strategy of putting Jonathan Freeny on him has been a horrible one, as the Patriots linebacker has been getting burned time and time again.

Sproles has as much speed and quickness as anyone in the NFL. It is time to take him as a threat seriously, and get Jamie Collins, Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon or the cornerbacks involved in his coverage.

Next: Will Patriots Success Continue after Tom Brady?

The second half should be an interesting one. The Patriots will start the half with the ball. A long, methodical drive would be a welcomed site here.

Tune back into Chowder and Champions after the game for our thoughts.