Cam Newton, Mac Jones Impress as Patriots Rout Eagles 35-0 in Preseason Action

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AP Photo/Chris Szagola

The New England Patriots defeated the host Philadelphia Eagles 35-0 in preseason action from Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday evening.

Patriots quarterbacks Cam Newton and Mac Jones both shined, combining to go 21-of-28 for 259 yards and one touchdown.

Four New England running backs—J.J. Taylor, Rhamondre Stevenson, Sony Michel and Damien Harris—combined for 40 carries, 207 rushing yards and four scores.

Many Eagles starters sat this one out, including quarterback Jalen Hurts, who did not play due to a non-COVID-19 illness.

Eagles wideout DeVonta Smith made his debut for Philadelphia, though, catching a pair of passes for 19 yards after sitting part of training camp (and the first preseason game) with a sprained MCL.

The Patriots moved to 2-0 this preseason after opening the campaign with a 22-13 win over the Washington Football Team. Philadelphia fell to 0-2 after starting its ledger with a 24-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Notable Performances

Eagles QB Joe Flacco: 10-of-17, 83 passing yards, 1 INT

Eagles WR DeVonta Smith: 2 catches, 19 receiving yards (4 targets)

Patriots QB Cam Newton: 8-of-9, 103 passing yards, 1 TD

Patriots QB Mac Jones: 13-of-19, 146 passing yards

Patriots RB J.J. Taylor: 12 carries, 93 rushing yards, 1 TD; 3 catches, 18 receiving yards

Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson: 15 carries, 66 rushing yards, 2 TD; 1 catch, 8 receiving yards


Newton, Jones Both Excellent Against Eagles’ Backups

Granted, many Eagles starters—including the entire defensive line, No. 1 cornerback Darius Slay and more—did not play on this night.

Zach Berman of The Athletic accurately summarized how the Eagles treated this game with a nod to Philadelphia’s use of backups and third-stringers against the Washington Football Team in Week 17 last year:

Zach Berman @ZBerm

Eagles make the halftime QB change. Third-teamers are on the field. They’re approaching it like a Week 17 game when the opponent is playing for the division title.

That being written, Newton and Jones couldn’t have done much better Thursday evening.

Newton, the incumbent starter, finished the night by completing 8 of 9 passes for 103 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown throw to Jakobi Meyers:

New England Patriots @Patriots

.<a href=”https://twitter.com/jkbmyrs5?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@jkbmyrs5</a> goes 28 yards for the TD!<br><br>📺: <a href=”https://twitter.com/wbzsports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@wbzsports</a> / <a href=”https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@nflnetwork</a> / Patriots app <a href=”https://t.co/6S021DCarZ”>pic.twitter.com/6S021DCarZ</a>

Newton’s best throw occurred on the drive before when he found Kendrick Bourne down the middle of the field for 23 yards.

New England Patriots @Patriots

Boogie to Bourne for 23. <a href=”https://twitter.com/CameronNewton?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@CameronNewton</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/BournePoly11?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@BournePoly11</a><br><br>📺: <a href=”https://twitter.com/wbzsports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@wbzsports</a> / <a href=”https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@nflnetwork</a> / Patriots app <a href=”https://t.co/VXqk5QgqB6″>pic.twitter.com/VXqk5QgqB6</a>

He was excellent on throws of 10 or more air yards, per Pro Football Focus, as he hit Meyers for 18 yards and 10 yards as well:

PFF @PFF

Cam Newton on 10+ yard throws tonight: <br><br>🚀 3/3 <br>🚀 51 yards <a href=”https://t.co/533o4ihipe”>pic.twitter.com/533o4ihipe</a>

Jones took over for Newton in the second quarter and first orchestrated a nine-play, 91-yard touchdown drive capped by a Stevenson one-yard rush. The former Alabama star notably found N’Keal Harry for 19 yards on a 3rd-and-13 from his own six-yard line to keep the drive alive.

NFL @NFL

.<a href=”https://twitter.com/MacJones_10?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@MacJones_10</a> converts a 3rd &amp; 13 to <a href=”https://twitter.com/NkealHarry15?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@NkealHarry15</a>. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLPreseason?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NFLPreseason</a> <br><br>📺: <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NEvsPHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NEvsPHI</a> on <a href=”https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@NFLNetwork</a> (or check local listings)<br>📱: <a href=”https://t.co/PMCIWFqcJn”>https://t.co/PMCIWFqcJn</a> <a href=”https://t.co/i64qRVsGye”>pic.twitter.com/i64qRVsGye</a>

In the third quarter, Jones led the Patriots on touchdown drives of 75 and 70 yards to help give his team a 32-0 lead.

One of his better throws occurred on the first scoring drive, when he evaded the Eagles’ rush and sliced a pass to Gunner Olszewski:

NFL @NFL

Check out the zip on this <a href=”https://twitter.com/MacJones_10?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@MacJones_10</a> throw. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLPreseason?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NFLPreseason</a><br><br>📺: <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NEvsPHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NEvsPHI</a> on <a href=”https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@NFLNetwork</a> (or check local listings)<br>📱: <a href=”https://t.co/PMCIWFqcJn”>https://t.co/PMCIWFqcJn</a> <a href=”https://t.co/PSjwM3YkFh”>pic.twitter.com/PSjwM3YkFh</a>

Jones finished 13-of-19 but could have had an even better night:

Jeff Howe @jeffphowe

Mac Jones is 13 of 19 for 146 yards over four possessions. Of those six incompletions, there’s been three drops and a spike.

Andrew Callahan @_AndrewCallahan

Mac Jones is 13-of-19 for 146 yards, with 3 incompletions that hit his receivers square in the hands.<br><br>He’s run plays from the no-huddle, out of play-action, 4-wide sets, 6-OL personnel groupings, shotgun and under center.<br><br>The kid is more than all right.

But his performance was par for the course this preseason:

Warren Sharp @SharpFootball

Mac Jones preseason drives:<br><br>10 plays, 70 yards, TD<br>9 plays, 75 yards, TD<br>17 plays, 91 yards, TD<br>punt<br>13 plays, 53 yards, FG<br>punt<br>10 plays, 43 yards, FG

Overall, Newton and Jones were exceptional as the Patriots dominated the Eagles.

   

Smith Impresses in Limited Action

The Eagles’ night was ugly on all accounts, with the team unable to stop the run or pass on defense or execute much of anything on offense. That should all be taken with a grain of salt given how many starters sat in this one.

On the bright side, the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner took the field and impressed with two catches and 19 yards on four targets.

NFL @NFL

First look at <a href=”https://twitter.com/DeVontaSmith_6?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@DeVontaSmith_6</a> 👀 <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLPreseason?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NFLPreseason</a><br><br>📺: <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NEvsPHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NEvsPHI</a> on <a href=”https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@NFLNetwork</a> (or check local listings)<br>📱: <a href=”https://t.co/PMCIWFqcJn”>https://t.co/PMCIWFqcJn</a> <a href=”https://t.co/4slfeXGWmX”>pic.twitter.com/4slfeXGWmX</a>

NFL @NFL

Another catch for <a href=”https://twitter.com/DeVontaSmith_6?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@DeVontaSmith_6</a>. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLPreseason?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NFLPreseason</a> <br><br>📺: <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NEvsPHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NEvsPHI</a> on <a href=”https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@NFLNetwork</a> (or check local listings)<br>📱: <a href=”https://t.co/PMCIWFqcJn”>https://t.co/PMCIWFqcJn</a> <a href=”https://t.co/ddvhasOMQF”>pic.twitter.com/ddvhasOMQF</a>

NFL @NFL

Heisman level route running. <a href=”https://twitter.com/DeVontaSmith_6?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@DeVontaSmith_6</a><br><br>📺: <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/NEvsPHI?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#NEvsPHI</a> on <a href=”https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@NFLNetwork</a> (or check local listings)<br>📱: <a href=”https://t.co/PMCIWFqcJn”>https://t.co/PMCIWFqcJn</a> <a href=”https://t.co/aiyBvfRGlJ”>pic.twitter.com/aiyBvfRGlJ</a>

Former NFL star wide receiver Chad Johnson offered his NSFW thoughts on Smith’s efforts:

Chad Johnson @ochocinco

Do y’all fucking see Devonta Smith off the line of the got damn scrimmage, holy pigeon shit that mofo gone be nice 🏈

Austin Gayle of Pro Football Focus noted how easily Smith creates separation.

There was plenty of talk about Smith’s low weight (170 pounds) during the pre-draft process, but as Brett Kollman of “The Film Room” noted, that may not matter if defensive backs are unable to lay a hand on him:

Brett Kollmann @BrettKollmann

I don’t think I’ve seen Devonta Smith get touched off the line one time all night.<br><br>Being 170 doesn’t matter if DBs can’t even get a hand on you anyway.

Overall, Smith was a shining light on an otherwise dreary evening in Philadelphia. That was especially the case given the MCL sprain that led to him being week-to-week.

All indications seem to point toward Smith being good to go and ready to tear up the NFL, however.

What’s Next?

Both teams will close their preseasons on the road against NFL teams that call MetLife Stadium home.

The Eagles will face the New York Jets on Aug. 27 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Two nights later in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the Pats will take on the New York Giants at 6 p.m.


This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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