Backup quarterback A.J. Feeley falls short as Patriots beat Eagles 31-28 Print
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Sunday, 25 November 2007 20:34
NFL Headline News

 FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -Backup A.J. Feeley nearly became the first quarterback to knock off the Patriots this season.
Like all the others New England has faced, he fell short.
But Feeley came a lot closer than the rest of them Sunday night, despite throwing interceptions on his last two passes that sealed the Patriots' 31-28 win over Philadelphia.
The Eagles apparently weren't intimidated by New England's domination of its previous 10 opponents.
``There wasn't a point out there where I felt I was confused,'' Feeley said. ``We put ourselves in position to win and, unfortunately, I lost it for us.''
He played in place of Donovan McNabb, who missed the game due to ankle and thumb injuries but will start when he's ready, possibly next Sunday against Seattle, coach Andy Reid said.
Making his first start since Dec. 2004 and the 14th of his career, Feeley completed 27 of 42 passes for 345 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.
``He was calm and cool and slow and steady,'' tight end L.J. Smith said. ``You've got to like his fire. We feed off that.''
Feeley rebounded from his second pass, an interception that Asante Samuel returned 40 yards for the first touchdown of the game.
``It's not the way you want to start, but there's four quarters to play,'' Feeley said. ``It wasn't on my mind after that.''
He didn't turn the ball over again until his next-to-last pass.
With a second-and-4 at the Patriots 29-yard line and the Eagles trailing 31-28, he was under pressure and lofted the ball to the right side of the end zone toward Kevin Curtis. Samuel intercepted.
``He tried to stick it in there and let go of it,'' Reid said. ``It came out too soft.''
The Eagles got the ball back after a punt but on their next play with 18 seconds left, Feeley threw an interception to James Sanders on the left sideline on a pass intended for Reggie Brown.
For much of the game, it was Philadelphia's defense that caused problems. It put Tom Brady under some of the most intense pressure he's felt all season. He was sacked three times, matching his season-high.
``The only chance we had was to pressure,'' Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said. ``Even if we didn't get to him, we had to throw off his timing and get him to move around in the pocket.''
Despite the loss, the Eagles (5-6) remain in the NFC playoff hunt and drew consolation from nearly beating the NFL's best team.
``If we keep playing the way we played today, we can still win out,'' offensive tackle Shawn Andrews said. ``We're a physical group and we can play with anybody.''
They certainly could play with the Patriots for most of the game, after New England had beaten nine of its first 10 opponents by at least 17 points.
And Feeley played well enough to get the Eagles within range for a field goal that would have tied the game with less than four minutes to go. Then he got careless and threw the pass that Samuel intercepted.
So he joined Peyton Manning, Tony Romo and eight other quarterbacks who couldn't beat the Patriots.
``A win would have been great, but we can't talk about it,'' Feeley said. ``It's tough. I take full responsibility for the whole deal.''
 

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