Standout players in the Patriots’ 31-22 win over Eagles
The Patriots scored on their first two drives of the game – one by way of the run, one by way of the pass – en route to a 31-22 win over the Eagles. While plenty of players stood out for good reasons and bad reasons (*cough* Tim Tebow *cough*), we’ll focus on the players who made a positive impact on the win for New England.
Kembrell Thompkins – Along with Zach Sudfeld, Thompkins has been one of the biggest names coming out of Patriots camp thus far. Undrafted out of Cincinnati, Thompkins has emerged as one of Brady’s go-to guys in camp and that carried over to the Pats’ 31-22 win over the Eagles Friday night. While Brady only played two drives – and threw in just the second drive – four of his seven completions on the night went to Thompkins for 23 yards. Thompkins, standing at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, doesn’t have the imposing build like fellow rookie wide receiver Aaron Dobson, but he does have something that makes him lethal already: a connection and trust with Brady. Two of Thompkins’ catches came in tight coverage, another came on a check-down, and a fourth on a screen play.
LeGarrette Blount – With the way the Patriots’ running backs played Friday night, the worry about the receiving corps should quiet down. If need be, the Pats can simply just run the ball from start to finish. OK, maybe that’s a little exaggeration, but New England’s now three-headed beast of Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, and LeGarrette Blount impressed Friday night. First, it was a 62-yard run by Ridley to start the game (he later would pound it in for a TD), then it was Vereen who made a great catch in the corner of the end zone from Brady to put the Patriots up 14-7. But despite those two great plays, Blount may have stole the show with his 51-yard circus-like run for a touchdown on the first play of the team’s drive in the second quarter. Blount would score another touchdown from the goal line later in the game, and finish the night with 101 yards on 11 carries. Blount is a former 1,000 yard rusher, and while nobody expects that number again this season, if he can find his groove in New England, the team’s trade of Jeff Demps (who wants to run track) and a seventh round pick, will look like a steal.
Brandon Spikes/Tommy Kelly – There wasn’t one defender that really stood out above the rest Friday night, but two names that came to mind are linebacker Brandon Spikes, and defensive tackle Tommy Kelly. Spikes didn’t show up to voluntary OTA’s this summer – no surprise really – but it’s clear he did enough on his own. As a pending FA, this is a big season for him, so he should step up his game even more. On Friday, he had a couple solid plays, including a run stuff of RNB Chris Polk in the second quarter, and fumble recovery of QB Nick Foles. That fumble came courtesy of Chandler Jones and Tommy Kelly. Kelly looks to be a huge figure – literally and figuratively – for the Pats this season on a defensive line that lacks depth. Kelly alongside Vince Wilfork in the middle is nice, but it gets tricky if one of those two goes down.