FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady shook off the rust of a long layoff and then found time to shake hands with Nick Foles, six months after they met in the Super Bowl.
Brady moved the Patriots with ease in their rematch against the Eagles, with a little help from running back James White. Foles left with a shoulder injury after giving up a strip sack that led to Ja’Whaun Bentley’s scoop and score, but the reigning Super Bowl MVP stuck around to get his long-awaited congratulations from the reigning NFL MVP after New England’s 37-20 win Thursday night.
“That was kind of made up to me because that was never my intention. I wouldn’t be a bad sport,” said Brady, who never made it to Foles for a handshake after the Eagles’ 41-33 victory in the Super Bowl. “I have a lot of respect for Nick. I know how hard it is to win that last game. They did it, congratulations to them.”
In his first action since losing in the NFL title game, Brady led New England to scores on four of the six series he played, completing 19 of 26 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns to help stake New England to a 27-7 halftime lead.
“It’s the first time having to do that in about six months,” Brady said after Brian Hoyer finished up the victory. “I feel like my timing could be better in certain areas. I’ve been doing this or a long time, so a lot of it is second nature at this point.”
Foles managed one first down in his first three possessions and then coughed the ball up on a hit from defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn. Bentley recovered and ran 54 yards for a touchdown that gave New England a 17-0 lead.
The hit knocked Foles out of the game. It was one of eight sacks by the Patriots.
“I was getting ready to throw a deep ball and a guy grabbed it as I was following through,” Foles said. “It feels all right. It feels pretty good. Hopefully there’s no issues.”
Coach Doug Pederson said Foles will be evaluated Friday.
“I’m going to wait until I speak to my doctors,” Pederson said.
Foles finished 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.
White caught six passes for 61 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown, and also ran for 31 yards in the first half.
“I don’t think you could ask any more of a teammate than what James provides us and the trust that everyone has in him,” Brady said, comparing him to past Patriots part-time backs like Kevin Faulk, Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead. “I feel like he never makes a mistake, and it’s pretty amazing to have that.”
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 defenseless receiver — and 97 penalty yards in all.
Hoyer completed five of 13 passes for 32 yards and an 11-yard touchdown pass to Cordarrelle Patterson.
Eagles: In addition to Foles, the Eagles also lost receiver Bryce Treggs (hamstring), tight end Richard Rodgers (knee), tight end Joshua Perkins (head), tackle Taylor Hart (cramps), receiver Kamar Aiken (hamstring) and defensive back Stephen Roberts (ankle).
Patriots: First-round draft choice Isaiah Wynn was taken away from the medical tent on a cart with a left ankle injury. Wynn, who was taken No. 23 overall, did not play the previous week against Washington. New England’s other first-round pick, No. 31 overall selection running back Sony Michel, has not played because of a procedure on his knee.
Philadelphia defensive backs Malcolm Jenkins and De’Vante Bausby remained in the tunnel during the national anthem before the game, a week after raising their fists in protest in the exhibition opener. Defensive lineman Michael Bennett remained in the locker room Thursday night, NBC Philadelphia reported on Twitter.
A picture tweeted by the station showed Jenkins and Bausby bowing their heads as they looked out toward the field.
Jenkins and Bennett have been among the most vocal NFL players protesting racial inequality during the pregame playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” The NFL Network tweeted a video of Jenkins coming out for warmups wearing a shirt that said, “YOU AREN’T LISTENING.”