Saturday, August 14, 2004
Patriots 24, Eagles 6
By Howard Ulman
The Associated Press
FOXBORO, Mass. - Tom Brady keeps winning whether it's a regular-season game, the Super Bowl or just an exhibition.
He gave the New England Patriots the only touchdown they needed on a rainy Friday night when they beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-6 in their first game since winning their second championship in three years.
"You still want to go out and do good," Brady said. "You still want to go out and build confidence. It's all in preparation for the Colts game."
The Patriots open their regular season on Sept. 9 against Indianapolis, seeking their 16th consecutive win, including three in last year's playoffs. They've won eight straight exhibition games.
"We've got a long way to go," New England coach Bill Belichick said, "in every phase of the game."
Brady, the two-time Super Bowl MVP, went 3-for-4 for 31 yards and a touchdown. He left the exhibition opener after two series and 11 plays.
Two controversial stars made debuts with new teams, Terrell Owens with Philadelphia and Corey Dillon with New England.
The Eagles lost the last three NFC championship games and hope Owens, acquired from San Francisco, can get them beyond that.
He caught three passes for 14 yards and fans booed all three times. After each one, he walked calmly back to the huddle, showing none of the flamboyance that followed some catches with the 49ers - once autographing a football on the field after scoring a touchdown.
Owens and Donovan McNabb played the first four series and left after the Eagles' first possession of the second quarter. McNabb was 6-for-11 for 32 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions.
"It feels good" to be in an Eagles uniform, Owens said. "trying to get a feel for the game, speed of the offense, and with Donovan."
Dillon, often at odds with management during seven seasons with Cincinnati, had five runs for 23 yards. His longest, a 13-yarder three plays before Brady's 9-yard touchdown pass to David Patten, drew a loud ovation.
"I had butterflies, but that's a good thing because I haven't felt that way in a long time," Dillon said.
Rohan Davey, recently chosen offensive player of the year in NFL Europe, threw two scoring passes in the second half, improving his bid to move up to the No. 2 quarterback spot in his third season with the Patriots.
Brady hit Patten in the deep right corner of the end zone for the game's opening score with 4:10 left in the first quarter. In the 2002 Super Bowl, they hooked up for an 8-yard touchdown pass into the same area for a 14-3 lead and New England beat St. Louis 20-17 in New Orleans.
"Different play, another great catch," Brady said.
A knee injury limited Patten to four games last season, none in the playoffs. Patriots linebacker Rosevelt Colvin, who didn't play after breaking his left hip in the second game last year against Philadelphia, saw limited action in the first quarter.
"I'm past tentative," said Colvin, signed as a free agent last year after totaling 21 sacks in his last two seasons with Chicago. "Being out there made me feel like I had become a football player again."
Defensive end Jevon Kearse, a free agent from Tennessee, made his debut with Philadelphia.
"This is the only time these preseason games really mean a lot to me, because I have to fine-tune everything," Kearse said.
The Patriots led 10-0 on Adam Vinatieri's 47-yard field goal late in the first quarter. The Eagles cut it to 10-6 on field goals of 46 yards by David Akers in the second and 20 yards by Tim Duncan in the third period.
Then Davey threw touchdown passes of 5 yards to Michael Jennings in the third quarter and 23 yards to Ricky Bryant in the fourth.
"What we did here doesn't exactly show how good of a first two weeks we had" in training camp, McNabb said. "With it raining out here things have changed a little bit."
The Eagles showed far more rust than the Patriots, committing nine penalties in the first half.
Notes: None of the 54 passes thrown was intercepted. ... Michael Cloud led Patriots rushers with 45 yards on 17 carries and Reno Mahe topped the Eagles with 52 yards on 10 runs. ... Philadelphia rookie cornerback Matt Ware, a third-round draft pick from UCLA, was taken off the field on a cart with 19 seconds left in the half. X-rays on his lower left leg were negative. Defensive end Jamaal Green and fullback Thomas Tapeh hurt their ankles and safety Quintin Mikell sprained his knee.
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