Brady, Patriots rout Eagles 38-20

Tom Brady saw running lanes, tucked the ball and took off

scrambling.

That’s no misprint.

Brady threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns and the New

England Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles 38-20 Sunday in a

rematch of the 2005 Super Bowl.

Picking apart defenses is nothing new for Brady. But the most

impressive number on the stat sheet was his rushing total. On a

field where Michael Vick is usually the one making dazzling plays

with his legs, Brady ran for 28 yards. It was his second-highest

total. Brady had 31 yards on the ground against Jacksonville in

Dec. 2006, two years before knee surgery left him even slower than

he was.

”Yeah that’s a rarity,” Brady said. ”There’s just a few times

where I felt it opened up in the middle and I just took off. I’m

not moving very fast, they’re converging pretty quickly, so I just

got down there as fast as I could.”

Filling in for the injured Vick for the second straight game,

Vince Young couldn’t keep Philadelphia’s fading playoff hopes alive

despite passing for a career-best 400 yards.

The AFC East-leading Patriots (8-3) stayed in the hunt for the

No. 1 seed in the conference behind a surgical-like effort from

Brady.

The six-time Pro Bowl quarterback finished 24 of 34, Deion

Branch had 125 yards receiving and Wes Welker caught eight passes

for 115 yards and two TDs. Brady’s favorite targets, tight ends Rob

Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, also chipped in.

Gronkowski caught his 11th TD pass and Hernandez had six

receptions. BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored twice on the ground.

”I thought it was more balanced today,” Brady said. ”That’s

how it needs to be, you got to run it. You got to throw it to

everybody and you got to keep them off balance, you got to screen,

you got to draw, you got to trap, you got to downhill run, you need

quick hitters, you need all levels of the passing game. When

they’re able to take a few of those away, obviously it makes it

more difficult to execute, but I thought today we did a good job of

really maximizing all of the guys out there who are playing

offense.”

The Eagles (4-7) are all-but-mathematically eliminated from

playoff contention in a season that began with Super Bowl

expectations.

Angry fans made their feelings known about coach Andy Reid,

chanting ”Fire Andy!” in the second half.

”The way we played, I can understand,” Reid said.

The defending NFC East champions fell to 1-5 at home and have

lost eight of nine at the Linc, including a playoff loss to Green

Bay last January.

Down 10-0 early, the Patriots rallied behind Brady. New England

scored on five of its next six possessions, excluding a kneel-down

at the end of the first half.

”Overall we did a great job of staying composed on the sideline

and making the right adjustments and doing pretty much what we game

planned for,” Branch said.

Brady and coach Bill Belichick improved to 4-0 against Reid’s

Eagles, including a 24-21 win for their third NFL title in four

years after the 2004 season.

”Tom did a good job really pressing the issue,” Belichick

said. ”He felt he had them on the run with some of the mismatches.

Tom kept pressing it, guys got open and Tom did what he does best,

finding the open guys.”

Young led the Eagles to a 17-10 win against the New York Giants

last week in his first start in nearly a year. He put up decent

numbers against the worst-ranked defense in the league, but

couldn’t overcome another inept performance by the Eagles’

defense.

Young finished 26 of 48. It was just his third career game over

300 yards.

”Andy’s a tremendous guy,” Young said, defending Reid. ”I

have the utmost respect for him. Fans don’t understand some of the

situations that goes on during the game. You can’t put it all on

Andy. We’re going to always continue to keep fighting hard, playing

hard for him.”

After a fast start, the Eagles fizzled.

Brady engineered a 70-yard drive capped by Green-Ellis’ 4-yard

TD run to cut it to 10-7.

One play after Tiquan Underwood dropped a wide-open pass, Brady

connected with Branch for 63 yards to the Eagles 1 on a

third-and-13. Green-Ellis scored on the next play to put the

Patriots up 14-10.

Welker blew past the secondary and Brady hit his wide-open

target in stride for a 41-yard TD pass to give New England a 21-10

lead in the second quarter.

DeSean Jackson dropped what could’ve been a 4-yard TD pass and

the Eagles settled for a 22-yard field goal to get within

21-13.

It was the second time in the first half that Jackson appeared

to shy away from contact and dropped a pass across the middle.

Fans let him hear it with a chorus of boos. Jackson, a two-time

Pro Bowl pick, is in the final year of his rookie contract and has

been unhappy that he didn’t get a new deal. He dropped a deep pass

that could’ve been a TD in the third quarter, and was benched in

the fourth quarter.

”I know I am a better receiver, there are no excuses behind

that, but I just didn’t have my best game today,” Jackson said.

”It’s frustrating, but I have to figure it out.”

Notes: Patriots WR Chad Ochocinco sat out with a hamstring

injury. … LeSean McCoy has 11 TDs rushing, five shy of breaking

the single-season team record held by Hall of Famer Steve Van

Buren. … Young’s last 300-yard game was against Arizona on Nov.

29, 2009. He threw for 387 yards in Tennessee’s 20-17 win.