Quarterback Tom Brady looked sharp against the Eagles Thursday night, completing 19 of his 26 pass attempts and throwing for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
In his first preseason outing of the year, Brady played nearly all of the first half against the Eagles and left the game with the Patriots leading 27-7. Had he gone on the field for the final snap of the second quarter — backup Brian Hoyer entered the game and took a knee to run out the clock — it would have been the first time since 2011 that Brady played the entire first half in Week 2 of the preseason.
Brady said the Patriots were “challenged by a good team, a good defense, [and a] good front” Thursday. He said the team “did some good things,” but was quick to note there’s also plenty of room to improve.
“It was good,” Brady told reporters after New England’s 37-20 win. “We did some good things, but I’m sure there’s things, a lot of things, we didn’t do very well. So, I mean, I think this is all just part of the building process. It feels good to win, but you know, there’s certainly a lot of things we’ve got to do better.”
One of Brady’s more popular targets, tight end Rob Gronkowski, sat out of Thursday’s game, but Brady connected with a trio of familiar faces. Of his 19 receptions, 15 went to wide receiver Julian Edelman, wide receiver Chris Hogan, or running back James White. Brady’s other four receptions went to wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, tight end Will Tye, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, and tight end Jacob Hollister.
“Whoever is out there — whether the last three weeks — you’re just trying to get on the same page,” Brady said. “We’re not doing a ton of game-planning for these games, and it’s just some trust and the preparation is mostly about us. But whoever’s out there we’ve got to go with, and I’m sure it will be that way at different points in the season. New guys will come in and got to try to get them ready.”