James White, Patriots Cornerbacks Among Bright Spots In Loss To Eagles

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FOXBORO, Mass. — Losing streaks are met with outright panic from New England Patriots Nation.

It’s understandable. No offense, but you’re a spoiled group after being pampered with four Super Bowl titles since Bill Belichick and Tom Brady arrived in the region 15 years ago.

The Patriots’ 35-28 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was mostly bad, but not all bad. Let’s put on our best optimistic face and look at some of the positives from the Patriots’ second straight loss.

JAMES WHITE
Doubts were starting to creep in about whether White could take on the all-important third-down role in the Patriots’ offense. Those concerns were magnified when the Patriots claimed small, shifty running back Trey Williams off waivers from the Dallas Cowboys last week.

White bought himself some trust and time Sunday, when he caught 10 passes for 115 yards with a touchdown on 13 targets from Brady. He also carried the ball twice for 4 yards.

White isn’t quite as shifty as Dion Lewis, but he has dependable hands and will be a solid safety valve for Brady moving forward.

JAMIE COLLINS
Collins returned from a long bout with an illness and led the Patriots with eight tackles. He also recorded a tackle for loss, a pass breakup, a quarterback hit and forced a fumble, which almost sparked the Patriots on a game-tying drive late in the fourth quarter.

The next step for the Patriots’ defense is getting fellow starting linebacker Dont’a Hightower back from a knee injury. The Patriots let up 128 yards on the ground to the Eagles, and it’s doubtful that would have happened with Hightower in the front seven.

PATRIOTS CORNERBACKS
Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan each gave up big plays in the fourth quarter, but you couldn’t ask for better coverage from the two young players throughout most of Sunday’s matchup.

Butler gave up a 10-yard touchdown to wide receiver Jordan Matthews, and Ryan let up a 14-yard catch to Riley Cooper on third down, when the Patriots needed a defensive stop.

Here are the Patriots’ pass-coverage stats against the Eagles:

Jonathan Freeny: 2-2, 23 yards
Patrick Chung: 1-2, 20 yards, PBU
Logan Ryan: 2-3, 18 yards
Malcolm Butler: 2-4, 14 yards, TD, two PBUs
Devin McCourty: 1-1, 5 yards TD
Nate Ebner: 1-1, 2 yards
Jamie Collins: 0-2, PBU
Jerod Mayo: 0-1, PBU
Duron Harmon: 0-1, PBU
Rob Ninkovich: 0-1
Jabaal Sheard: PBU

IMPROVED RUSHING ATTACK
The Patriots came into Sunday’s game averaging just 3.1 yards per carry without Dion Lewis. They ran the ball 25 times for 103 yards with a touchdown Sunday, proving they can depend on the run if they need to.

LeGarrette Blout ran 13 times for 54 yards. Brandon Bolden had three carries for 22 yards and could potentially see more carries moving forward.

Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Nov 23, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back James White (28) and wide receiver Danny Amendola (80) celebrate a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
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