The New England Patriots came out flat on Sunday, and were unable to stop the Eagles on defense, or get anything going offensively. After giving up a long pass interference on the first play of the game and then forcing a three-and-out on the next possession, the Patriots allowed the Eagles to march all the way down the field. It was the longest drive, in terms of yardage, that the Patriots have allowed in a very long time.
16 plays, 95 yards. The Eagles were able to convert twice on third down, once at the beginning of the series, and once at the end. It’s that last play that I’m concerned about, a slant pass to tight end Dallas Goedert at the goal line from five yards out.
Jonathan Jones was in coverage of Goedert, and he broke for the ball at the goal line. He delivered the hit, and ripped the ball away. And because he ended up with it, the officiating crew originally called the play an interception and touchback on the field:
They’re saying on field that before Goedert completed process of the catch the ball was ripped out by Jones. Obviously going to review. Would be a huge takeaway for #Patriots if call stands. pic.twitter.com/CaeQwlfcfo
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) November 17, 2019
After review, however, it was determined that Goedert actually had possession when he crossed the goal line, so the call was changed: the play resulted in a touchdown for the Eagles and put them up 10-0 in the early second quarter, but the effort by Jones seemed to spark something in the defense.
After the play, the Eagles would fail to convert their next seven third downs, and the Patriots would also force a Carson Wentz fumble. In fact, Philadelphia would only successfully convert one more third down all game, on their drive at the end of the game that ended in a turnover on downs. Before the Jones play, the Patriots had given up 10 points, and scored none, and after the play, they scored 17 unanswered points to reach the final score of 17-10.
Obviously, there are other factors at play. Bill Belichick coached up the defense and changed the game plan a bit, and guys started to execute their assignments better. But the Jones play seems to have been the game’s turning point. It just proves, once again, that you never know which play is going to be the one to change the course of a game. Sometimes, it could even be one that ends in an opposing team’s touchdown.
Pat is a host of The Patriot Nation Podcast
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