Not So Special: Patriots beat Eagles With Some Trickery 17-10 in Super Bowl LII Rematch

Julian Edelman fires game-winning TD to Phillip Dorsett and Patriots defense swarms Carson Wentz and the Eagles to improve to 9-1 on season.

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PHILADELPHIA — This showdown between the Patriots and Eagles was no shootout like Super Bowl LII. Tom Brady didn’t throw for 505 yards and Julian Edelman had the only Patriots touchdown pass.

But unlike Super Bowl LII, the Patriots will certainly take the final result, a 17-10 win over the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field that improves their record to 9-1, good for a two-game lead over the Bills in the AFC East and a one-game lead on the Ravens in the race to top seed in the AFC.

For the first time since losing Super Bowl LII and being victimized by the “Philly Special,” it was the Patriots who used trickery to come back from an early 10-0 hole and beat the Eagles. On a play reminiscent of his TD strike to Danny Amendola in the 2014 AFC Divisional round, Julian Edelman connected with Phillip Dorsett on a 15-yard touchdown off a double pass midway through the third quarter, capping a string of 17 unanswered points.

Carson Wentz’s fourth-down Hail Mary to a falling Nelson Agholor in the end zone was incomplete with 58 seconds remaining from the Patriots 26.

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As was the case in Baltimore, the Patriots offense got off to a very shaky start, pulling out gimmicks and punting twice on its first two possessions.

The Eagles, meanwhile, took advantage of a 49-yard pass interference call on Jason McCourty on the first snap from scrimmage on a Carson Wentz rollout to his left. The pass was intended for Boston Scott. The play set the Eagles up at the Patriots 26.

The Patriots defense stiffened and forced the Eagles to settle for a Jason Elliott 42-yard field goal for the game’s first points.

The Patriots would punt for a third time before the Eagles put together the first touchdown drive of the game, ending in controversy.

Starting at their own 5 following a 55-yard punt from Jake Bailey, the Eagles mounted a 16-play drive, consuming 9 minutes, 33 seconds. The Eagles faced third and goal from the Patriots 5 when Wentz found Dallas Goedert over the middle at the goal line. Godert fell to the ground and Jon Jones appeared to strip the ball away as the two fell to the ground in the end zone. The play was initially ruled an interception but after further review, Godert was ruled to have split possession with Jones and was awarded the touchdown, giving the Eagles a 10-0 lead.

And like the Ravens game, the Patriots were dominated in the first quarter in time of possession and plays. The Eagles had the ball for 10:22 to New England’s 4:38 and had a 17-9 play advantage.

The Patriots finally found their offensive footing on their first drive of the second quarter when rookie receiver N’Keal Harry made his first impact. His first NFL target and reception from Tom Brady of 11 yards was good first down.

The Patriots sacked Wentz four times in the first half, including a strip sack by Danny Shelton that resulted in a Lawrence Guy recovery at the Eagles 22. But symptomatic of the Patriots struggles in the red zone and good scoring position, they could do nothing with it except settle for a 39-yard Nick Folk field goal, his third of the first half as the Patriots went to the half trailing 10-9.

The Patriots came out of halftime looking to gain some momentum and that’s exactly what they did thanks to a little trickery. Thanks to a 30-yard shovel pass connection between Brady and Rex Burkhead, the Patriots drove down to the Eagles 15 on the first 10 plays of the half. Burkhead broke the tackle of Nathan Gerry and raced 30 yards downfield. At the Eagles 15, Brady threw back to Julian Edelman who then threw to a wide open Phillip Dorsett in the end zone for New England’s first touchdown of the day. Edelman is now 4-for-4 for 90 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. With James White running it in on the conversion, the Patriots led, 17-10.

It was the second trick play of the game for the Patriots. In the first quarter, Brady pitched to Edelman who threw back to Brady, who then threw down the field incomplete for Dorsett.

It was a costly touchdown that gave the Patriots the lead as Eagles corner Rasul Douglas laid out Dorsett with a shot to the head and neck area. Dorsett was taken to the locker room and did not return with a head injury. Edelman also took a heavy shot as he released the pass, as Jalen Mills drilled him.

New England returns home to Gillette Stadium next week for the first time since Oct. 27 when they host the Dallas Cowboys, who took over first place in the NFC East with a 35-27 win at Detroit on Sunday.