Should the New England Patriots' Week 1 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles be considered a moral victory?
You won't hear Pats center David Andrews use that phrase to describe the defeat, but it's a valid question. The Patriots allowed 16 first-quarter points before scoring 14 unanswered to close out the first half. Third-year quarterback Mac Jones and Co. kept it close throughout the second half and had a chance to pull off the comeback on their final possession. Despite the valiant effort, New England dropped the season opener, 25-20.
The game's final score didn't stop our Tom E. Curran from exuding optimism on Patriots Postgame Live.
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"I loved the product," Curran said. "The product was watchable. The offense was organized. It was synchronized. I saw rookie cornerbacks taken in the first round (Christian Gonzalez) coming up with sacks and bringing people down. I saw Jabrill Peppers, who I said would be the heart of the defense, coming up with a fumble-forcing tackle on Jalen Hurts.
"They got outscored 16-0 (in the first quarter). I'm saying it might be 64 at this rate and Tom Brady's day is going to be ruined. And then they actually channel some resourcefulness, some resiliency, and they show up, outscoring the Eagles 20-9. And they put together a representative effort. We all thought they were gonna lose to the Eagles. They just didn't stink. There is so much upside to look at."
Unlike last season, Jones and the Patriots offense gave fans something to be enthused about going forward. With Bill O'Brien now calling the plays, Jones showed flashes of his promising rookie campaign. The 2021 first-rounder completed 35 of his 54 pass attempts (both career-highs) for 316 yards and three touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Patriots defense kept it close with an admirable effort against 2022 NFL MVP runner-up Jalen Hurts. The Eagles signal-caller threw for only 170 yards and one TD. Safety Jabrill Peppers forced him to fumble late in the fourth quarter, giving New England a chance to steal an improbable victory.
The final result wasn't ideal, but the performance should be enough to have fans feeling optimistic heading into Week 2. Next Sunday marks another tough test for the Patriots as they'll host the Miami Dolphins, who started their season with a 36-34 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.