FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Jalen Hurts threw a touchdown pass and Darius Slay had a 70-yard interception return for a score as the Philadelphia Eagles built a big early lead and then held on to finish to beat the New England Patriots 25-20 on Sunday.
The Eagles took advantage of two early goals from the Patriots, spoiling a day in which New England honored former quarterback Tom Brady at halftime.
Hurts was 22 of 33 for 170 yards and the TD, but had a costly fumble in the fourth quarter that gave the Patriots a chance. Jake Elliott made four field goals for Philadelphia, which failed to reach the end zone after the first quarter.
New England’s Mac Jones bounced back from a rough start to finish 35 of 54 for 316 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Kendrick Bourne had two TD receptions. Hunter Henry added the other scoring catch for an offense that defeated the NFC Champion Eagles 382-251.
Trailing 25-14 late in the fourth quarter, New England pulled within 25-20 on Jones’ 11-yard TD pass to Bourne. But a two-point conversion by Jones was negated by a holding penalty, and a second attempt was no good.
The Eagles opened their next series with an 8-yard run by Hurts, but it ended with a fumble by him on a hit by Jabrill Peppers. Marcus Jones recovered to put New England at the Philadelphia 41 with 3:28 left.
A second-down sack by Jordan Davis and Josh Sweat helped the Eagles end the Patriots’ possession. But Philadelphia struggled to move the ball and turned it over on downs at the New England 44 when Hurts’ pass to Smith was broken up.
The Patriots got the ball to the 19 on a 17-yard pass from Jones to Mike Gesicki with 1:02 left. But on second down, Jones couldn’t avoid Jalen Carter and was dropped for a sack.
On fourth-and-11, Kayshon Boutte appeared to get a catch inside the 10. But a replay review showed he had only one foot inbounds.
New England hired offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien in the offseason to turn the page on a dismal 2022 by a unit that ranked in the bottom half of the NFL.
Injuries to the offensive line made for an uneven debut.
With starters Cole Strange (knee) and Mike Onwenu (ankle) both inactive, the Patriots started rookies Antonio Mafi and Sidy Sow at left and right guard, respectively. The absences were felt early against an Eagles defensive line that pressed Jones throughout.
The first five drives of the game for the Patriots ended with a pick-6, a fumble that led to another Eagles touchdown, and three straight three-and-outs that combined for a 16–0 Philadelphia lead.
But the Eagles’ offense finished the half with four straight punts to help New England close the gap to 16-14.
Philadelphia had a 19-14 lead in the fourth quarter and extended it to 22-14 when Elliott’s 48-yard field goal attempt hit upright and through the left side.
New England took over, converting a fourth-and-8 from the Eagles 36 when Jones hit Henry for 12 yards. The Patriots went for it again, facing fourth-and-3 on the 12th, but Ezekiel Elliott couldn’t secure a short pass from Jones.
Jake Elliott kicked his final field goal with 5:33 left, a 51-yarder.
Eagles: Linebacker Nakobe Dean left in the second half with a foot injury. … Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox left after an injury in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots drafted 11 of the 12 members of their rookie draft class. The exception was cornerback Isaiah Bolden, who is on injured reserve with the head injury he suffered in New England’s second exhibition game.
Eagles: Host Minnesota on Thursday night.
Patriots: Host Miami next Sunday night.