But even with all the star power expected on the night, the likes of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Mike Vick ultimately had no impact on the outcome.
Nick Foles, a rookie quarterback out of Arizona, was the star of the show after Vick went down with a rib injury on the Eagles' first series. Foles went 18-for-28 for 217 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and he impressed with his accuracy, arm strength and mobility outside the pocket.
As for the Patriots, Ryan Mallett looked about as good as any backup in th league at times. But in his typical Jekyll and Hyde self, Mallett also displayed terrible inexperience and decision-making on occasion. Still, he looked better than Brian Hoyer. Hoyer, the fourth-year product from Michigan State, went just 5-for-17 for 55 yards as he never seemed to get comfortable behind the shaky offensive line.
On the defensive end, third-year defensive end Jermaine Cunningham set the tone early with a big blast on Vick and managed a trio of QB hits on the night. Kyle Love looked solid up the middle, and, as expected, Brandon Spikes filled in admirably for Jerod Mayo with four tackles and a couple of big hits on running backs.
The Pats don't have much time to prepare for the Buccanneers, as they head to Tampa Bay to practice with the Bucs and then play them Friday in their third preseason game. Expect Brady, Gronk, Lloyd and the rest of the crew back on the field, and to be better in sync in that one.
4th Quarter, 2:00, Eagles 27-17: The Eagles embarked on yet another successful drive down the field, but the Patriots defense was able to hold them to just three points in the end.
Trent Edwards worked in a rhythm with the second- and third-string receivers, which exposed the Pats defensive backs to a point.
Sterling Moore has been more solid since getting beat by DeSean Jackson earlier, and Marquise Cole, the Jets defector, displayed some elite tackling ability in keeping Philly out of the end zone.
Henry still drilled a 21-yard field goal to boost the Eagles lead to 27-17.
4th Quarter, 6:33, Eagles 24-17: The Patriots' rushing attack has been nearly invisible Monday.
Shane Vereen got the start against the Eagles, but he hasn't shown the same sort of explosion and vision that he did in the first preseason game.
Stevan Ridley came in and started slow, but he's seemed to pick it up at least a bit in the past couple of carries. Ridley's got the size to really bulldoze people, but he hasn't been as powerful as the team needs him to be.
Vereen was impressive in the passing game, catching four balls for 29 yards and nearly breaking one of them. He could be a younger, faster version of Danny Woodhead, and it would be wise if he used the diminutive third-down back as a mentor in the process.
4th Quarter, 13:33, Eagles 24-17: Trent Edwards did not look good in his first action of the night, but the Eagles may have found something in seventh-round pick Bryce Brown.
Brown, who started his college career at Tennessee, barely played a lick in his final two years of college, but that hasn't slowed the 21-year-old down.
On four carries on the night, Brown has 39 yards and has shown an impressive ability to not only lower the shoulder but also get to the outside and elude defenders.
End 3rd Quarter, Eagles 24-17: The third quarter goes solely to the Eagles, as Nick Foles made a fool of the Pats defense and sliced his way to a few more impressive drives.
A three-yard touchdown to Clay Harbor, the duo's second hookup of the night, got the Eagles back on top, but it was Alex Henry's field goal that put them up by seven yet again.
Ryan Mallett struggled a bit in the quarter, leading the Pats to only a field goal. But with Brian Hoyer on his way in, there should be a bit of a tempo change, which could help confuse the Eagles.
3rd Quarter, 0:33, Eagles 24-17: Alex Henry makes up for his missed field goal earlier in the quarter by drilling a 42-yarder this time around.
Henry gets the credit for the score, but Nick Foles continues to impress on the night.
Foles cut through the New England secondary some more on that drive, padding his stats to 18 of 28 for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
3rd Quarter, 4:12, Eagles 21-17: Ryan Mallett and Donte Stallworth couldn't quite hook up on a deep ball down the right sideline, but that only gave another Patriot the chance to shine.
Stephen Gostkowski hit his third field goal of the night, this time from an impressive 55 yards. That makes it two 50-plus field goals Monday, as Gostkowski also hit a 51-yarder in the first quarter.
Last season Gostkowski was a bit inconsistent, but it appears that he 's spent the offseason working hard and that he's ready to contribute every time out this year.
3rd Quarter, 9:02, Eagles 21-14: While Nick Foles and Philly cut their way through the Pats' second stringers, Mallett and the Patriots weren't quite so precise.
A pretty quick three-and-out featured the first action of Stevan Ridley's night, but the second-year back didn't look so hot.
Ridley and Vereen have both struggled on the night, as neither player is really seperating himself from the pack and allowing the competition to continue.
Ridley will have the keys the rest of the way, so it should be interesting to see if he can take advantage and really build a gap between the two backs.
3rd Quarter, 11:02, Eagles 21-14: DeSean Jackson is a play maker, and he certainly showed off that attribute on full blast during that first drive.
Jackson beat Sterling Moore off the line, blowing by him down the field and out-leaping the corner en route to a 40-yard completion.
Nick Foles ended up leading the Eagles 80 yards down the field, culminating in a three-yard touchdown pass to Clay Harbor — the duo's second hookup of the night.
And I know that was just the Pats' second-string defense, but Foles just sliced and diced his way through the D en route to that touchdown. Not a good look for New England's depth on D.
Halftime, 14-14: The first half was full of thrills and a few groans for the Patriots.
What started out as a slow offensive effort on both fronts turned into something of a barn burner as the first half went on.
Ryan Mallett looked rock solid in his quarter-plus of play, leading the Pats on a 13-play, 80-yard drive that ended in a touchdown. Stephen Gostkowski added a pair of field goals, 35 and 51 yards, to help keep the Pats in it.
The Eagles were able to capitalize on a few very sloppy New England plays, with rookie Brandon Bolden muffing a punt inside the Pats 20 and Brian Hoyer fumbling away his first snap of the night. The plays led to a pair of Eagles TDs.
Aside from the two gimme scores, the Patriots' defense has been lights out, with a killer pass rush led by — surprise, surprise — Jermaine Cunningham, who has three QB hits already on the night — including the one that knocked Mike Vick out of the game.
None of the running backs has done much to stand out, and the receiver battle continues to heat up as Stallworth, Edelman and Branch have all made a case for their place on this roster.
One other note would be rookie safety Nate Ebner, who came up with a pretty interception at the end of the half and returned it about 40 yards while weaving through traffic. Ebner is a former rugby star turned football player at Ohio State. He's not the most physically gifted player on the field, but he's got a great motor and hits like a brick a wall.
2nd Quarter, 1:44, 14-14: Donte Stallworth hasn't looked great this week at camp, but he has been running good routes Monday night.
Stallworth, who is duking it out with Gaffney, Edelman and Branch in search of those final few wideout spots, made a nice catch outside the numbers along the Pats sideline.
The grab was an important one, not necessarily in this game but to offer something the Pats did not have in 2011 — someone to beat his man and make a grab outside the numbers.
This position battle just keeps getting more interesting.
2nd Quarter, 3:02, 14-14: Brian Hoyer's night may have started out a little rocky, giving away the ball and the lead, but he's turning on the jets.
Hoyer hooked up with a number of receivers, including Deion Branch on a big crossing route, to get inside the Eagles red zone.
The drive may have ended in a 35-yard Gostkowski boot, but seeing Hoyer make all of those throws and stand in the pocket with such poise is much more assuring.
Branch stood out on that drive more than any other receiver, and he looks to have the inside track on the final receiver spot, well ahead of Donte Stallworth at this point.
2nd Quarter, 9:07, Eagles 14-11: A few bad minutes just keep getting worse for the Patriots.
Brian Hoyer couldn't hold on to the ball, and the Eagles took over inside the Pats 25 and were able to claim the lead.
A couple of pretty passes from Foles, first to DeSean Jackson and then a one-yard TD to Clay Harbor, put Philly ahead of the Pats.
Belichick doesn't look very pleased along the sidelines, and Hoyer's certainly not making his case any stronger to maintain that No. 2 QB role ahead of Mallett.
2nd Quarter, 10:07, Patriots 11-7: Brandon Bolden just blew a key opportunity to show off his ability on the punt return.
After yet another strong effort from the Patriots defense, Bolden botched the punt return — with the ball bouncing right off his chest and falling between his arms. The Eagles were able to capitalize.
LeSean McCoy, one of the best running backs in the NFL in 2011, ran the ball well and got into the end zone from one yard out to cut the Pats' lead to 11-7.
Even without Vick, the Eagles offense has been running smoothly. Foles has taken command of the passing game, although he nearly gave one away to Pats defensive back Will Allen.
Brandon Spikes has been a treat to watch on defense, too, giving a full effort and blowing up plays before they even develop. His place on this roster has been secure for a while, but if he continues on this path, the Pats could be looking at a breakout star alongside Jerod Mayo.
2nd Quarter, 13:44, Patriots 11-0: It may not have been the prettiest drive throughout, but Mallett showed a great deal of poise and his rocket arm on the Patriots' third drive of the night.
Mallett cruised, completing 4 of 8 passes and capping the drive off with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Alex Silvestro.
After a short penalty on Philly, Bill Belichick elected to go for two on the point after, and Shane Vereen didn't let him down, punching it in from real close to give New England a 11-0 lead.
It would appear that the two-pointer was a bit of a tryout for Vereen, as BB and Co. have been searching for a replacement on the goal line since BenJarvus Green-Ellis left during the offseason.
End 1st Quarter, Patriots 3-0: He's not perfect, but Mallett is making a strong impression against the Eagles.
After being bailed out of a terrible interception along the sidelines by a roughing-the-passer call, Mallet rebounded nicely with a few strong throws across the middle — primarily one to Deion Branch that went for 20 yards.
More than anything, Mallett's willingness to hang tough in the pocket and let the play develop has been impressive, especially given some of the brutal licks he's taken already.
The offensive line has been spotty all night, though, presenting even more concerns after a struggle-filled showing up front against the Saints.
1st Quarter, 4:02, Patriots 3-0: Mike Vick may be done for the night.
A brutal slam via Patriots defensive end Jermaine Cunningham was the culprit. Vick may have hurt some ribs there.
Vick has had some durability issues in the past. And now, just one week after a hand injury in the first preseason game, Vick is back in the trainer's room.
Rookie QB Nick Foles takes over with the first team, looking to gain some ground on the Pats.
1st Quarter, 6:15, Patriots 3-0: After an anemic first series on offense, Mallett found a good rhythm with receiver Julian Edelman and effectively moved the ball downfield.
A pair of solid jaunts from Vereen, who looks to have a consistent burst off the ball and good vision, helped get the ball farther into Philly territory and give New England a shot at a score.
The drive capped off with a 51-yard field goal off the leg of Stephen Gostkowski to give the Pats and early 3-0 lead on the Eagles.
1st Quarter, 13:26: Ryan Mallett gets the start at quarterback Monday, filling in for Tom Brady.
Mallett appeared pretty uncomfortable in the backfield on the whole during the first series, but this could be some really solid evaluation time for Belichick and the staff on their second-year signal caller.
On a positive note, Shane Vereen appeared to be running strong yet again, and he could be on track to scoop up the starting tailback job in Stevan Ridley's absence.
8:06 p.m.: Are you ready for some football?
Ryan Mallett's getting the start, so I'd say he's likely ready to get it going. Let's do this thing.
8 p.m.: Ryan Tannehill looks have to locked down the Miami Dolphins starting quarterback job. But is it the right move?
Starting a 24-year-old kid under center, especially one with as little QB experience — a mere two years — as Tannehill may actually hinder the talented youngster's development.
Check out why Tannehill is not the right for the job just yet.
7:05 p.m.: The NFL has been making a strong push to go global for a few years now, and Monday, the league strengthened that drive.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, who had many home games blacked out due to lack of attendance in 2011, will be playing multiple home games in London in 2013.
The move definitely has something to do with new owner Shad Khan's desire to make the Jags a more global franchise.
This well may be the start of the NFL's transition to having a permanent team overseas, and with questions swirling around the Jags' fan base, they may be the best option to ultimately relocate.
6:15 p.m.: It looks like some of the Patriots' big guns will be sitting this one out.
As Michael Vick and the Eagles get ready for game time at Gillette, Bill Belichick has decided to rest some of his best players.
Here's a list of some of the guys we probably won't be seeing Monday night.
QB — Tom Brady
RB — Stevan Ridley, Jeff Demps (R)
WRs — Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney
TEs — Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Daniel Fells and Visanthe Shiancoe
OL — Sebastian Vollmer, Matt Kopa, Brian Waters
Defense — Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Tavon Wilson (R), Alfonzo Dennard (R), James Ihedigbo
Other guys may sit out the Pats' second preseason game of the year, but so far, these are the players confirmed to be out.
8 a.m. ET: Tom Brady and the Patriots offense looked lost in their first preseason game of the year. But while the offensive unit managed just seven points en route to a 7-6 win, the defense far exceeded expectations.
Jerod Mayo, Patrick Chung and company confused the Saints all night, and rookie defensive end Chandler Jones looked like an unstoppable force off the edge. But the defense will be up against an even tougher test Monday night as Michael Vick and the explosive Eagles come to Gillette for a little preseason fun.
Vick played sparingly in the opener, injuring his throwing hand in the first quarter when he hit an offensive lineman's helmet. Rookie quarterback Nick Foles picked up the slack for Vick, though, completing 6 of 10 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-23 win against the Steelers.
Monday will have plenty to look forward to, especially with the development of Jones and the improvement of second-year left tackle Nate Solder, who struggled mightily in the opener. Brady will likely play only the first quarter before giving way to Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett, but the running backs will probably see another hefty load, which could be an interesting challenge.
Tune in to the game starting at 8 p.m., and be sure to stick with the Patriots live blog all night to keep up to date with all the news, notes and analysis you can handle.
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