So many times this season Youth Arden Key Jersey , New England’s defense made plays when it had to give Tom Brady and the Patriots offense a chance to win.
But with the man responsible for the biggest defensive plays in Patriots’ Super Bowl history watching from the bench, it couldn’t figure out the Philadelphia Eagles in a 41-33 loss Super Bowl loss on Sunday.
Malcolm Butler, whose interception in the end zone sealed New England’s Super win over Seattle in the 2015 Super Bowl, didn’t play a defensive snap on Sunday.
Bill Belichick said only that they ”put the best players in the game plan like we always do.” Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said Butler was in parts of the game plan, but those parts weren’t used in the game.
Butler missed a day of practice last week with an illness. He warmed up and was in uniform, but watched the game’s biggest moments from the sideline. It was the first Patriots game in which Butler did not play a first quarter snap since their Super Bowl win over Seattle to cap the 2014 season. He started 17 of New England’s previous 18 games entering Sunday, including both playoff victories.
He seemed exasperated afterward, telling reporters: ”I ain’t got nothing to say.”
Without him, New England’s defense – and particular the secondary – had trouble keeping Foles and Philadelphia’s offense in check.
New England allowed 41 points, more than they have given up in any Super Bowl in the Belichick era. It also surrendered 538 total yards, including 373 through the air to MVP Nick Foles. LeGarrette Blount, a former Patriots running back, rushed 14 times for 90 yards and touchdown.
Eric Rowe started in Butler’s place. He struggled early, giving up three catches for 66 yards, including Foles’ first touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery.
Butler’s teammates seemed confused by the change, which cornerback Stephon Gilmore said they didn’t find out until game time.
”Could he have helped us out? I don’t know. He wasn’t out there Sam Koch Jersey , so I don’t know,” Gilmore said. ”We just couldn’t never get off the field. I mean, we could never make a play to give the ball back out our offense.”
The Eagles punted only once in the game and converted on a pair of fourth downs.
The Patriots offense did its part. It didn’t punt and had no turnovers through three quarters. After playing from behind most of the night, Brady gave New England its first lead of the game, 33-32 on a 4-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski with 9:22 to play.
But when the Patriots needed a hero late, no one was able to make a big play.
And on the ensuing drive New England safety Devin McCourty couldn’t keep Zach Ertz from stretching the ball across the goal line for an 11-yard touchdown reception from Foles that wound up being the game winner .
The Patriots entered the game with 159-15 record, including a perfect 16-0 in the playoffs, when they had won the turnover battle.
They had the first one of the night, on an interception by safety Duron Harmon in the first half.
But it wasn’t enough.
Philadelphia used some trickery, facing fourth-and-goal on the 1 with less than a minute to play in the half.
After a timeout, the Eagles got the ball to Trey Burton on a reverse, who flipped a pass to a wide-open Foles for a touchdown.
New England pulled to within 22-19 after scoring on the opening drive of the second half.
The Patriots defense would break down again, though, this time letting Corey Clement get behind Marquis Flowers and McCourty for an over the shoulder 22-yard catch in the back of the end zone.
Safety Patrick Chung was shaken up on that play and missed a few series. He returned to action in the fourth quarter but had to leave again late in the game with a head injury.
”There was nothing we hadn’t seen. We just didn’t play good fundamentally,” Rowe said.
He said Butler was a presence on the sideline even though he didn’t play.
”After that first touchdown he just came up to me and was like `Keep playing. Keep your head up. It’s a long way. It’s a long game.’ So he wasn’t upset,” Rowe said. ”He was being a great teammate.”
Todd Bowles finally revealed the big decision that everyone expected.
Sam Darnold will start at quarterback in the New York Jets' season-opening game at Detroit next Monday night.
The 21-year-old Darnold will also make some NFL history by becoming the youngest quarterback to start in Week 1 since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger. At 21 years and 97 days http://www.chargersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-uchenna-nwosu-jersey , the rookie surpasses Drew Bledsoe (21-203), who held the distinction since starting for New England in 1993.
"Sam had a good preseason," Bowles said Monday while making the announcement. "We weren't holding him back, and we weren't rushing him at the same time. He still has some things to learn, but it was (his) poise in the pocket and the way he grasped the offense coming in right away. ... He gives us a very good chance to win."
The announcement came as no surprise as the rookie was solid while starting the Jets' second and third preseason games. New York traded Teddy Bridgewater to New Orleans last week , and Darnold then sat out the preseason finale at Philadelphia 鈥?clear signals the No. 3 overall draft pick would be under center against the Lions.
"For me, I've always been kind of a calm person and a guy who just goes out there and tries to do my job to the highest ability I can," Darnold said before Bowles made the decision official. "If I get that opportunity to play, I'm going to play to the best of my ability."
Darnold was given every opportunity to win the job in a competition with Bridgewater and incumbent Josh McCown, and he didn't disappoint. He went 29 of 45 for 244 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in the preseason. Even more impressive to Bowles and the coaching staff was Darnold's ability to quickly digest the playbook and not repeat mistakes.
Still, Bowles declined to make his decision official until seven days before the opener.
"Sam's got feet to get himself out of trouble, probably, and he's got a good pocket feel," Bowles said. "He's probably a little quicker and a step quicker than Josh at this point. Josh obviously is smarter, playing in the league longer, but Sam picks things up very well also. But it's good to have a quarterback that can throw and move his feet."
Darnold will not be the youngest quarterback to start in NFL history Bart Starr Jersey , though. That's still Tommy Maddox, who was under center for Denver at 21 years, 81 days old in Week 12 of the 1992 season.
But Darnold will get a chance to make an early impact on a team that has been searching for a consistently productive franchise quarterback since the days of Broadway Joe.
Darnold will be the 31st quarterback to start a game since Joe Namath's last game with the franchise in 1976. Richard Todd, Ken O'Brien, Chad Pennington and Mark Sanchez certainly had their moments, but none was able to sustain success or keep a frustrated fan base energized and hopeful over a long period.
The Jets hope Darnold ends that drought.
Oh, and then there's the Super Bowl, where the franchise hasn't been since Joe Namath famously delivered on his guarantee in 1969.
"Whether I play this year, next year or the year after that," Darnold said, "I know that we're going to win football games. It's going to fun for a long time here in New York."
First things first, though: Darnold needs to get ready for the Lions. The former USC star will have a baptism by fire with three games in 11 days. The Jets play their home opener on Sept. 16 against Miami, followed by a Thursday night game at Cleveland four days later.
Bowles and his coaching staff clearly believe Darnold will be able to handle the quick turnaround.
Shortly before meeting with the media, Bowles passed reporters in the hallway as they left the locker room. The coach was going in to tell both Darnold and McCown of his decision after meeting with his staff.
"They both were good," Bowles said. "They're both professionals."
The youngster's mental approach to the game has impressed NFL teams since he started playing in college. Despite starting just 24 games at USC, Darnold displayed the all-around potential of an elite starting QB. That was a major reason the Jets traded up three spots to No. 3 overall http://www.seahawksauthorizedshops.com/authentic-byron-maxwell-jersey , hoping Darnold would fall to them.
After Cleveland took Baker Mayfield first and the Giants went with Saquon Barkley at No. 2, the Jets had their guy.
Darnold was impressive in the offseason and raised the Jets' hope that he could progress quickly enough to start right away. After a three-day holdout at the start of training camp to settle his rookie contract, Darnold returned to the team and practiced immediately while showing only minor signs of being rusty.
Just a few weeks later, it was clear that Darnold would be leading the franchise when the regular season kicked off.
Of the five first-round QBs from this year's draft, Darnold is the only starter for the opener. Mayfield, Josh Allen (Buffalo), Josh Rosen (Arizona) and Lamar Jackson (Baltimore) will be backups.
"I've had a ton of fun," Darnold said of the past several weeks. "I keep saying it, but getting paid to play a sport that I love 鈥?and not having to go to class is pretty cool, too. Nah, it's fun to be able to play this sport for a living and play with some really cool dudes."
|Free forum by Nabble||Edit this page|