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Jalen Hurts, Eagles build early lead, hang on to beat Patriots 25-20 as Tom Brady is honored

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) looks for an opening while under pressure from New England Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon (9) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) looks for an opening while under pressure from New England Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon (9) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

BY KYLE HIGHTOWER contributing

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Jalen Hurts threw a touchdown pass and Darius Slay had a 70-yard interception return for a score as the Philadelphia Eagles built a big early lead, then hung on at the finish to beat the New England Patriots 25-20 on Sunday.

The Eagles capitalized on two early turnovers by the Patriots, spoiling a day in which New England honored former quarterback Tom Brady at halftime.

Hurts was 22-of-33 for 170 yards and the TD but had a costly fumble in fourth quarter that gave the Patriots a chance. Jake Elliott kicked four field goals for Philadelphia, which didn’t reach the end zone after the first quarter.

New England’s Mac Jones recovered from a rough start to finish 35 of 54 for 316 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Kendrick Bourne had two TD receptions. Hunter Henry added the other scoring catch for an offense that outgained the NFC champion Eagles 382-251.

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Trailing 25-14 late in the fourth quarter, New England got within 25-20 on Jones’ 11-yard TD pass to Bourne. But a 2-point conversion run by Jones was nullified by a holding penalty, and a second attempt was no good.

The Eagles opened their next series with an 8-yard run by Hurts, but it ended with him fumbling after a hit by Jabrill Peppers. Marcus Jones recovered, setting New England up on the Philadelphia 41 with 3:28 remaining.

A second-down sack by Jordan Davis and Josh Sweat helped the Eagles end that Patriots possession. But Philadelphia struggled to move the ball, turning it over on downs at the New England 44 when Hurts’ pass to Smith was broken up.

The Patriots got the ball to the 19 on a 17-yard pass from Jones to Mike Gesicki with 1:02 left. But on second down, Jones couldn’t avoid Jalen Carter and was dropped for or a sack.

On fourth-and-11, Kayshon Boutte appeared to reel in a catch inside the 10. But a replay review showed he had only one foot inbounds.

New England hired offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien in the offseason to turn the page on a dismal 2022 by a unit that ranked in the bottom half of the NFL.

Injuries on the offensive line made for an uneven debut.

With starters Cole Strange (knee) and Mike Onwenu (ankle) both inactive, the Patriots started rookies Antonio Mafi and Sidy Sow at left and right guard, respectively. The absences were felt early opposite an Eagles defensive line that put pressure on Jones throughout.

The Patriots’ first five drives of the game ended with a pick-6, a fumble that led to another Eagles touchdown, and three consecutive three-and-outs that added up to a 16-0 Philadelphia lead.

But the Eagles’ offense finished the half with four straight punts to help New England close the gap to 16-14.

Philadelphia carried a 19-14 edge into the fourth quarter and stretched it to 22-14 when Elliott’s 48-yard field-goal attempt banged off the left upright and through.

New England took over and converted a fourth-and-8 from the Eagles 36 when Jones hit Henry for 12 yards. The Patriots went for it again facing fourth-and-3 at the 12 but Ezekiel Elliott couldn’t secure a short pass from Jones.

Jake Elliott kicked his final field goal with 5:33 left, a 51-yarder.

INJURIES

Eagles: Linebacker Nakobe Dean left in the second half with a foot injury. … Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox left following a fourth-quarter injury.

ROOKIE HEAVY

The Patriots dressed 11 of the 12 members of their rookie draft class. The exception was cornerback Isaiah Bolden, who is on injured reserve with the head injury he suffered during New England’s second exhibition game.

NEXT WEEK

Eagles: Host Minnesota on Thursday night.