Foxborough: Tom Brady moved the New England Patriots with ease in their Super Bowl rematch against the penalty-prone Eagles, with a little help from running back James White and fifth-round draft choice Ja’Whaun Bentley.
In his first action since losing in the NFL title game to Philadelphia, Brady completed 19 of 26 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns on Thursday night to help stake New England to a 27-7 half-time lead.
Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles left in the second quarter with a shoulder injury after a strip sack that Bentley recovered and ran 54 yards for a touchdown.
White caught six passes for 61 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown, and also ran for 31 yards in the first half of the Patriots’ 37-20 victory. The Eagles had five penalties for 50 yards in the first quarter — including two for lowering the head to initiate contact and one for hitting a defenceless receiver — and 97 penalty yards in all.
After sitting out last week’s exhibition season opener, Brady led New England to scores on four of the six series he played. Foles, who outplayed Brady in a 41-33 Super Bowl victory, managed one first down in his first three possessions and then coughed the ball up on a hit from defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn.
Bentley scooped the ball up and ran unpursued to the end zone to make it 17-0.
The Eagles announced that Foles had a strained shoulder and was questionable to return” he did not, finishing 3 for 9 for 44 yards. Third-stringer Nate Sudfeld played most of the next three quarters, completing 22 of 39 passes for 312 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
Erstwhile Eagles starter Carson Wentz is on the verge of returning to 11-on-11 practice, but the team is not sure if he will be ready for the Sept. 6 opener against Atlanta.
Philadelphia’s Shelton Gibson had five catches for 90 yards and a 4-yard TD reception in the second quarter that made it 17-7.
Patriots backup Brian Hoyer completed 5 of 13 passes for 32 yards and an 11-yard touchdown pass to Cordarrelle Patterson.