Patriots overreactions: Pats RBs put on a show vs. Eagles


The New England Patriots shined in almost every facet of Thursday night's preseason win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

With their dominant 35-0 victory, the Patriots improved to 2-0 in the preseason. They'll look to go a perfect 3-0 when they take on the New York Giants next weekend.

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Until then, here's what we're overreacting to after another strong exhibition.

Both Cam Newton and Mac Jones look sharp

Cam Newton got the party started for the Patriots and made it clear he isn't going to give up his starting job without a fight. The veteran quarterback was almost perfect, completing eight of his nine passes for 103 yards and a touchdown to Jakobi Meyers.

Newton was replaced by Jones at the start of the second quarter. New England's first-round pick in this year's draft stepped in and led a 17-play drive capped off by a Rhamondre Stevenson rushing TD. He also tossed a perfect deep ball to N'Keal Harry at the end of the first half, but the Pats wideout failed to come up with the grab and was injured on the play.

Jones built off his encouraging preseason debut with another promising performance as he completed 13 of his 19 passes for 146 yards. Of those six incompletions were three dropped passes and a spike.

Newton did enough to not lose ground in the QB competition, but Jones certainly did all he could to keep the Week 1 starter debate alive.


Matt Judon is a major difference-maker

Judon has impressed throughout training camp and in his preseason debut, and he made his presence felt again Thursday night. The Patriots' prized offseason acquisition wasted no time wreaking havoc as he strip-sacked Joe Flacco early in the first quarter. Newcomer and former Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills recovered the fumble.

Judon also drew a hold and added a QB hit to his stat sheet, showing why the Patriots invested $56 million in the outside linebacker.

It was a big night overall for the Patriots defense. Chase Winovich tallied two sacks while Harvey Langi and Cassh Maluia added one apiece. Langi also notched an interception, as did Adrian Colbert.

Sony Michel: Dual-threat running back?

For a while, Michel's days in New England appeared to be numbered. There was no guarantee the 26-year-old would be on the Patriots' roster to begin the 2021 campaign.

Newton, Jones both impress in Patriots' preseason game vs. Eagles

Well, that still isn't a guarantee, but Michel definitely made a statement with his performance in this game. Not known for his receiving ability, Michel turned heads with four receptions for 37 yards. His top highlight came in the second quarter when he made Eagles defenders miss and added some yards after the catch.

Michel also carried the ball seven times for 34 yards. As deep as the Patriots' running back room is, Michel made his case to be a key part of it with Thursday's showing.

Patriots' RB room is a serious strength

Speaking of the Patriots' running back room, Michel's fellow Patriots RBs stole the show in the blowout win. Damien Harris wasted no time making an impact as he scored a five-yard TD early in the first quarter to put New England on the board.

Rhamondre Stevenson, who put on a clinic last week in his preseason debut, continued to be a touchdown machine. The rookie found the end zone twice Thursday night while rushing 15 times for 66 yards.

It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows for Stevenson, however, as the Oklahoma product fumbled in the fourth quarter. That may leave him in Bill Belichick's doghouse for a while.

Last but certainly not least, J.J. Taylor was outstanding. The 5-foot-6 back tallied 12 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown. He also reeled in three catches for 18 yards.

This looks like a team that's ready to run it down teams' throats all season long.

Nick Folk's job is safe

Quinn Nordin has been a great story throughout camp and he looked good in the preseason opener, but he struggled mightily this time around.

The rookie kicker missed one of his two field-goal attempts and two of his four extra-point tries. Needless to say, that isn't going to help his case for the starting job this season. While he boasts big-time potential with his strong leg, Nordin notably struggled with accuracy during his time at Michigan. Those issues appear to still be lingering, so it's hard to imagine the veteran Nick Folk not starting the 2021 campaign as New England's kicker.