Final

Eagles 28

(5-6, 3-3 away)

Patriots 31

(11-0, 5-0 home)

Coverage: NBC

8:15 PM ET, November 25, 2007

Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA 

1 2 3 4 T
PHI 7 14 7 028
NE 14 10 0 731

Top Performers

Passing: T. Brady (NE) - 380 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: B. Westbrook (PHI) - 17 CAR, 52 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: W. Welker (NE) - 13 REC, 149 YDS

Pats CB Samuel shuts down any hopes for Eagles upset

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- The Philadelphia Eagles gave the rest of the NFL a smidgen of hope Sunday night: they showed that the New England Patriots can be vulnerable.

Asante Samuel returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown and had a second pick to shut off a late Philadelphia drive as the Patriots beat the Eagles 31-28 Sunday night to run their record to 11-0.

What A Catch
Wes Welker

Wes Welker's 13 catches against the Philadelphia Eagles tied for the second-most receptions in a single game in New England Patriots history.

Player Receptions Season
Troy Brown 16 2002
Wes Welker 13 2007
Deion Branch 13 2002
Terry Glenn 13 1999

It was only the second truly competitive game of the season for New England, which trailed 28-24 midway the fourth period. A 69-yard drive, capped by Laurence Maroney's 4-yard run, put the Patriots ahead of the 22-point underdog.

Then Samuel's second interception finished the job. James Sanders added an interception in the final seconds to officially close it out.

"Asante has great hands, good instincts. He doesn't let too many get through his hands," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "That's what a good playmaker in the secondary does. He's been very good at that since he's been here."

But at least the Eagles were competitive against a team which had won its first 10 games by an average of 25 points. The Patriots had a seven-point lead twice, 7-0 and 14-7 but that was as large as either team led all game.

And the Eagles led for much of it in a contest in which A.J. Feeley, a career backup replacing the injured Donovan McNabb at quarterback for the Eagles, outplayed Tom Brady for most of the game. Philadelphia cornerback Lito Sheppard turned Randy Moss, moving in on Jerry Rice's single-season mark for touchdown receptions, into nothing more than ordinary.

"I went into the game expecting the unexpected," said Feeley, who may be back on the bench next week when the Eagles play Seattle -- coach Andy Reid said he expected McNabb to be back.

It was the Patriots' smallest margin of victory this season, and it comes just a week after a huge blowout of the Buffalo Bills and their largest victory margin.

"Three points, man. Three points. The Patriots and three points," said Reid whose team also lost the 2005 Super Bowl to New England by three. "They're killing me with it."

The Patriots had clinched the AFC East earlier in the day when Buffalo lost, but that didn't seem to be a factor.

But Brady struggled at times against Philadelphia's blitzes, making up for the blanket coverage on Moss by throwing underneath to Wes Welker, who had 13 receptions for 149 yards. They also needed both of Samuel's interceptions, the second coming in the end zone with 3 minutes and 52 seconds left after the Eagles (5-6) had reached the Patriots 29, well within range of a tying field goal by David Akers.

"You got to give it up to Philadelphia, they played their hearts out and laid it out there," Welker said.

The Patriots, on a quest to become the first unbeaten team in the NFL since the 1972 Dolphins, go for 12 in a row next Monday night in Baltimore, against the Ravens, who have lost five straight. Then they come back to Foxborough in two weeks to play Pittsburgh, which enters Monday night's game with winless Miami at 7-3.

The only time New England's streak was in more jeopardy than Sunday night was three weeks ago in Indianapolis, when the Patriots rallied from 10 points down with less than 10 minutes left to beat the Colts. That game was sandwiched between two routs -- 52-7 over Washington and 56-10 over Buffalo -- in which Belichick kept trying to score well into the fourth quarter.

To Reid, this win and the one over the Colts proved the Patriots' credentials. "Good teams do that -- winning close games," he said.

Feeley finished 27-for-42 for 345 yards, with three touchdown passes, two to Greg Lewis and the three interceptions. Brady completed 34-for-54 for 380 yards and one touchdown, the first time this season he has been held to fewer than three TD passes in a game.

When Samuel picked off Feeley's pass for Brian Westbrook just 1:38 into the game and took it back 40 yards, it looked like another rout was on.

But the Eagles marched right down the field on their next possession, Westbrook scoring on a 1-yard run at the end of a 77-yard drive. For the rest of the first half, they matched the Patriots score for score, finally taking the lead at 21-17 on Feeley's 18-yard TD pass to Lewis with 3:01 left in the half.

New England, however, restored order on a 19-yard TD pass to Jabar Gaffney with 12 seconds left in the half after a nine-play, 54-yard drive. Gaffney made the catch on the end line, just getting his feet in, making the halftime score 24-21, the same score by which the Patriots beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl.

The Patriots struggled again in the second half.

A 42-yard completion from Brady to Welker gave New England a first-and-goal at the Philadelphia 4 on its first possession. But Moss, who had five catches for just 43 yards, was called for offensive pass interference on Sheppard, who blanketed him all game, negating a touchdown. Then Stephen Gostkowski ended up missing a 32-yard field-goal attempt.

The Eagles went 80 yards after that, scoring on an 8-yard TD pass from Feeley to Reggie Brown.

But the Patriots finally made the big play at the end.

"That's what it's about in the NFL, making plays," Samuel said. "That's how you get here and you stay around."

It's also about winning, no matter how close the game.

"The goal is to win the game and we did that," Brady said. "I wish we could have played better. I wish everybody could have played better. We won so we can be happy."

Game notes


Welker's catches and yards were both a career high. He played three seasons in Miami before coming to the Patriots in the offseason. ... Feeley beat the Patriots 29-28 on Dec. 20, 2004 when he was with the Dolphins. It was one two losses that year for New England, which went on to beat Philadelphia in the Super Bowl. ... New England lost linebacker Rosevelt Colvin with a foot injury and cornerback Randall Gay with a back injury. Neither returned.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ESPNBoston.com 

Team Stat Comparison

 
Philadelphia
New England
1st Downs2225
3rd down efficiency
8-1310-16
4th down efficiency
1-10-1
Total Yards391410
Yards per play6.25.6
Total Drives14
Passing336362
Comp-Att
27-4234-54
Yards per pass
8.06.7
Interceptions thrown
30
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-93-18
Rushing5548
Rushing Attempts
1916
Yards per rush
2.93.0
Penalties3-187-44
Turnovers30
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
30
Possession27:4932:11

Passing Leaders

PHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Feeley27/423458.2332-9
NEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brady34/543807.0103-18

Rushing Leaders

PHICARYDSAVGTDLG
Westbrook17523.1114
Feeley122.002
NECARYDSAVGTDLG
Maroney10313.1110
Brady3165.3012

Receiving Leaders

PHIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Lewis48822.0228
Curtis57114.2019
NERECYDSAVGTDLG
Welker1314911.5042
Gaffney68714.5132

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPHINE
TD13:38Asante Samuel 40 Yd Interception Return (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 07
TD06:38Brian Westbrook 1 Yd Run (David Akers Kick) 77
TD01:35Heath Evans 1 Yd Run (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 714
SECOND QUARTERPHINE
TD12:50Greg Lewis 28 Yd Pass From A.J. Feeley (David Akers Kick) 1414
FG06:42Stephen Gostkowski 23 Yd 1417
TD03:01Greg Lewis 18 Yd Pass From A.J. Feeley (David Akers Kick) 2117
TD00:08Jabar Gaffney 19 Yd Pass From Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 2124
THIRD QUARTERPHINE
TD01:34Reggie Brown 8 Yd Pass From A.J. Feeley (David Akers Kick) 2824
FOURTH QUARTERPHINE
TD07:20Laurence Maroney 4 Yd Run (Stephen Gostkowski Kick) 2831