FOXBORO, Mass — On the day the New England Patriots honored Tom Brady, Mac Jones nearly pulled off a comeback worthy of his legendary predecessor.

Jones threw three touchdown passes and drove the Patriots into the Philadelphia Eagles’ red zone in the final minute, but New England could not complete its upset bid, losing 25-20 to the defending NFC champions in its season opener.

A pass from Jones to rookie wide receiver Kayshon Boutte was ruled out of bounds on fourth-and-11 with 25 seconds remaining. An ensuing Jalen Hurts kneeldown allowed the Eagles to escape Gillette Stadium with a narrower victory than many had expected.

— As rain poured down during the opening quarter, the Patriots dug themselves an early 16-0 hole with a slew of self-inflicted errors.

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On offense, there was the high throw from Mac Jones that bounced off Kendrick Bourne’s hands and straight to Darius Slay for a pick-six. Then, on the very next play, Ezekiel Elliott fumbled for the first time since 2021, giving Philadelphia a short field and setting up another Eagles score. JuJu Smith-Schuster also had a third-down drop on a low Jones pass.

Defensively, it was a couple of costly first-quarter penalties. Deatrich Wise jumped offsides to wipe out a botched Eagles snap, and Kyle Dugger negated a red-zone sack with a flag for defensive holding. Philadelphia wound up scoring 10 points on those two drives.

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Both units eventually rebounded, but the Patriots couldn’t recover from that early deficit. Philly never trailed in the game.

— Marquee offseason pickups Smith-Schuster and Mike Gesicki both had quiet Patriots debuts. The former had a key third-down conversion on a second-quarter touchdown drive but finished with just four catches for 33 yards and wasn’t on the field on some key snaps late. The latter caught three passes for 36 yards, with one coming on the final drive.

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— The Patriots unveiled their new, Bill O’Brien-led offense on Sunday. Was it perfect? Far from it. As mentioned above, New England looked hapless offensively in the opening quarter.

But after those early mishaps, O’Brien’s troops delivered an all-around respectable performance despite missing several important pieces.

Jones finished with 316 passing yards — more than he had in all but two outings last season — and three touchdowns. His top targets were two of his go-to guys from the 2021 season: tight end Hunter Henry and Bourne.

Henry, the Patriots’ most consistently reliable pass-catcher in training camp, caught five of his six targets for 62 yards and a touchdown, including an acrobatic one-handed grab on fourth-and-8. Bourne atoned for his first-quarter drop with six catches for 64 yards and two scores.

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The Patriots struggled to run the ball behind an offensive line that was starting rookies Atonio Mafi and Sidy Sow at guard in place of the injured Cole Strange and Mike Onwenu. That group also surrendered some heavy hits on Jones, though O’Brien sought to limit the QB’s exposure by dialing up frequent screen passes. Jones was sacked twice, with one coming in the final minute of the game, and hit six times.

All told, New England only scored a modest 20 points and still has yet to win a game in Jones’ career when the opponent tops 25. But signs of positive progress were there, and this group should be in better shape once Strange, Onwenu and receiver DeVante Parker are healthy enough to return.

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— Jalen Hurts was the NFL’s MVP runner-up last season, but the Patriots kept him in check in this one. The dual-threat Eagles quarterback finished with 170 passing yards, fewer than he had in all but three games last season. Hurts also managed just 37 rushing yards against a New England defense that has struggled for years to defend mobile QBs. The Patriots’ influx of speed and playmaking ability on that side of the ball was apparent.

Safety Jabrill Peppers delivered one of the plays of the game when he drilled Hurts on a QB keeper to force a fourth-quarter fumble.

— The Patriots dressed 11 rookies on Sunday, and many of them made positive contributions.

First-round pick Christian Gonzalez played close to every snap at cornerback and held up well against a talented Eagles receiving corps. He had a fourth-down pass breakup late in the game, showed up as a run defender with seven tackles and notched his first career sack on a corner blitz.

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Defensive end Keion White was a QB pressure machine, winning tough matchups against Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson to frequently make Hurts uncomfortable.

Marte Mapu was part of New England’s deep safety rotation and also saw snaps at linebacker. He and Gonzalez both had Brown tightly covered on a long incompletion early in the fourth quarter.

Mafi and Sow went wire to wire against the best defensive line in football. Bryce Baringer delivered some booming punts, including one that traveled 65 yards and two that pinned the Eagles inside their own 10. Chad Ryland made both of his extra points.

Demario Douglas had a slick 23-yard reception from Jones during a second-quarter touchdown drive. Boutte saw a heavy workload with Parker (knee) inactive and nearly converted a fourth-and-11 in the final minute but was unable to get both feet down in bounds.

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The Patriots made Eagles bettors sweat, but Philadelphia successfully covered its 3.5-point spread.

The Patriots will host the Miami Dolphins on “Sunday Night Football” in Week 2.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images