The Patriots’ 37-20 win over the Eagles in 4 quotes

"I feel like he never makes a mistake."

Julian Edelman
Julian Edelman fires up the crowd before a preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles. –AP Photo/Charles Krupa

The Patriots defeated the Eagles, 37-20, at Gillette Stadium Thursday night.

Here’s what some of the players and coaches had to say after the game:

“Whatever the defense calls for, that’s what he does.” — Bill Belichick on Ja’Whaun Bentley

Patriots rookie Ja’Whaun Bentley got the start at middle linebacker Thursday. He registered five tackles, broke up a pass in the end zone to force fourth and goal, and returned a fumble from Eagles quarterback Nick Foles 54 yards for a touchdown.

“Whatever the defense calls for, that’s what he does,” coach Bill Belichick said after the game. “He’s been a four-year starter at Purdue. He’s had a lot of responsibility from DeMatha [Catholic] High School to Purdue to here. He’s always been the middle linebacker, the signal caller, the guy right in the middle of the defense.”

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“He does a good job of handling the communication and some of the adjustments that have to be made from the center of the field,” Belichick continued. “He’s been able to do that pretty well since he’s come here. He’s still got a lot to learn. He’s got a long way to go, but he’s handled those things well.”

Bentley, who was drafted by the Patriots in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft — said he’s just trying to take things “one day at a time.”

“He’s so dangerous when he gets the ball in his hands.” — Tom Brady on Cordarrelle Patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson is expected to be a useful kick returner for the Patriots, but the 27-year-old also flashed his abilities as a traditional receiver Thursday.

Patterson recorded four catches for 51 yards — a total that could have been even higher if he stayed in bounds on a second-quarter catch-and-run. After fielding a screen pass from quarterback Tom Brady, Patterson made it to Philadelphia’s one-yard line, but his reception was called back to the 40-yard line because he had stepped on the sideline. That catch was his only reception from Brady.

In the third quarter, Patterson scored a touchdown when he caught a pass from Brian Hoyer, dodged cornerback Sidney Jones, and darted 11 yards into the end zone.

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“I thought he did a great job tonight,” Brady said after the game. “He’s so dangerous when he gets the ball in his hands, and obviously, over the course of his entire career, that’s the way it’s been. He had a good touchdown there. He almost had the one at the sideline that I threw it to him, but he’s done a great job.”

“I feel like he never makes a mistake.” — Tom Brady on James White

Running back James White once again proved he’s a reliable option both on the ground and in the air. White was targeted six times by Brady and made all six catches. He logged 61 receiving yards and a touchdown, as well as 31 rushing yards on four carries. With the departure of Dion Lewis — and the absence of Julian Edelman in the slot to start the season — White is expected to get more touches this year.

Brady was extremely complimentary of White after the game, comparing him to a trio of former Patriots running backs.

“I don’t think you could ask any more of a teammate than what James provides us and the trust that everyone has in him,” Brady said. “I mean, I feel like he never makes a mistake, and it’s pretty amazing to have that. We’ve had some great sub backs, and James is right in the mold of all those other guys — Kevin Faulk and Shane [Vereen] and Danny Woodhead. He has his own way of doing it, but what an incredible play he made on the screen play, amongst many other great plays.”

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“It wasn’t good but at the end of the day.” — Nick Foles on his performance

The Patriots defense saw a very different Nick Foles Thursday night.

In Super Bowl LII, Foles threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns with a 106.1 quarterback rating and 65.1 completion percentage. Thursday? He connected on just three of his nine pass attempts and was sacked three times. He also did not register a first down in Philadelphia’s first three drives of the game.

Foles ended up exiting the game after an Adrian Clayborn strip-sack in the second quarter. The Eagles later announced he suffered a shoulder strain.

“It wasn’t good but at the end of the day, it felt good to be back out there,” Foles said. “Just to be back out on the playing field, you know getting the feel for the game, being in the huddle. I missed on some throws but was starting to get a rhythm and get a feel back. That takes time. That’s why we have the preseason to go out there and play. It wasn’t good enough, and I have to be better, but, at the same time, I know what it takes to keep moving forward.”

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