Brady and Patriots deal Eagles playoff blow
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania - Agence France-Presse
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) looks to pass as running back Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis blocks while playing against the Philadelphia Eagles. REUTERS photo
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots dealt a heavy blow to Philadelphia’s NFL playoff hopes on Sunday with a 38-20 rout of the ailing Eagles.
In a re-match of the 2005 Super Bowl, Brady threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns, while the Eagles’ Vince Young, standing in for injured signal-caller Michael Vick, had a career-best 400 passing yards in defeat.
In a season that began with Super Bowl expectations, the Eagles retain just a slim mathematical chance of reaching the post-season.
By the second half, Eagles fans had turned their anger on coach Andy Reid, chanting “Fire Andy!”
“The way we played, I can understand,” said Reid, whose reigning NFC East division champions fell to 1-5 at home.
Vick broke two ribs in a loss to Arizona on November 13. He hasn’t trained in a fortnight and it wasn’t clear if he would be able to play when the Eagles visit Seattle on short rest on Thursday.
Young, who led the Eagles to a victory against the New York Giants as he filled in for Vick last week, delivered a creditable performance, and the Eagles took an early 10-0 lead.
But the Eagles defense couldn’t stop Brady and the AFC East division-leading Pats, who improved to 8-3.
Brady completed 24 of 34 passes. Deion Branch had 125 yards receiving and Wes Welker caught eight passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
Brady’s favorite targets, tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, also delivered, Gronkowski catching his 11th touchdown pass and Hernandez with six catches. BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for two touchdowns.
“It was more balanced today,” Brady said. “That’s how it needs to be. You have to run it. You have to throw it to everybody. We did a good job maximizing all the guys.”
The Oakland Raiders took advantage of three interceptions from another fill-in quarterback -- Chicago’s Caleb Hanie -- in a 25-20 victory over the Bears.
Hanie struggled in his first career start in place of Jay Cutler, who broke his right thumb in a victory last week.
Houston inched closer to the AFC South division title with a 20-13 victory over Jacksonville. But the Texans suffered a blow when quarterback Matt Leinart left the game shortly before halftime with a shoulder injury that he said he thought could be a broken collar bone.
Leinart was already filling in for injured starter Matt Schaub, leaving the Texans with no experienced options at quarterback if Leinart’s injury is serious.
The Jets’ Mark Sanchez threw four touchdown passes, including the game-winner to Santonio Holmes with little more than a minute to play as the Jets beat Buffalo 28-24.
The Jets improved to 6-5 to keep their hopes of a late playoff push alive.
Surprising Cincinnati engineered a second-half comeback capped by a field goal in the final minute for a 23-20 victory over Cleveland.
The Bengals improved to 7-4 to stay in touch with Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the AFC North.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, playing with a broken thumb, threw for one touchdown and Pittsburgh’s defence came up big in a 13-9 victory at Kansas City.
Chiefs quarterback Tyler Palko -- another backup standing in for injured Matt Cassel -- had four turnovers, including Keenan Lewis’s interception of a Palko pass with 29 seconds left that sealed the victory.
Pittsburgh improved to 8-3, as Baltimore did with a win over San Francisco on Thursday.
Denver’s Matt Prater kicked a 37-yard field goal with 29 seconds left in overtime to lift the Broncos to a 16-13 victory over reeling San Diego.
In other games, Washington scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to rally for a 23-17 victory over Seattle, Atlanta beat Minnesota 24-14, Tennessee forced five turnovers and overcame five turnovers in a 23-17 victory over Tampa Bay, and Arizona defeated St. Louis 23-20.
The misery continued for Indianapolis, with Carolina defeating the Colts 27-19.
The Panthers ended a 12-game road losing streak that stretched back to December 2009, while the Colts, who have been without superstar quarterback Peyton Manning all season as he recovers from neck surgery, fell to 0-11 for the first time since 1986.