— The NFL preseason is all about new doors and windows opening the second anything slams shut.
Unfortunately for Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Curtis Marsh, the door opened and shut on the same evening.
Marsh endured one of the all-time horrors as the victim of three touchdown passes, numerous other plays to set those scores up, a pair of penalties and another that was declined as the Eagles dropped a 42-35 decision to the host New England Patriots in a game that exposed more flaws in Philadelphia's starters.
Marsh was traumatized, both backup quarterbacks threw interceptions, emerging wide receiver Ifeanyi Momah lost a fumble and later missed a chance at a touchdown catch (though he did deflect the ball to teammate Arrelious Benn for a score in a strange play) and kicker Alex Henery missed another field goal, albeit from the non-automatic distance of 47 yards.
The game was not a total loss for the Eagles, however.
For instance, Benn set up a touchdown drive in addition to finishing one when he blocked a punt.
And quarterback Nick Foles appeared to regain the touch he lost temporarily the previous week in Chicago, completing eight of 10 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown before being replaced by Mark Sanchez, who all but slammed the door shut on Matt Barkley's beating him out for the backup spot.
Other than his interception, Sanchez was perfect on all of his 11 other passes, including two touchdowns.
The game also marked the return to earlier form of rookie sensation Jordan Matthews (team highs of nine catches and 104 yards) and a defensive score that opened the door for Marsh's misplays in the first place.
Matthews was unimpressive in his preseason debut a week earlier at Chicago. Yet his approach remains the same, no matter what.
"I caught a lot of balls in zone coverage, but this is a man coverage league, so those are the things I've got to focus on, on getting with [cornerback] Brandon Boykin, working with [safety] Malcolm [Jenkins], how to beat man coverage and things like that and get separation and catch the ball in traffic," he said. "I'm a big receiver, so it's not going to be all underneath stuff the whole season. I've got to be able to go down the seam and make plays for this team.
"So there's a lot of room for improvement. You can't just look at the stat sheet and let that tell the story. I've got a lot of things to work on. That's what I'm focused on doing."
Starting right cornerback Cary Williams returned an interception 77 yards for a touchdown to put the Eagles in front early, but then couldn't answer the bell after that because he strained a hamstring on the play.
And although the first-team offense could not establish any rhythm on the ground, deep sub Henry Josey shined, particularly on a 27-yard touchdown reception to end the third quarter.
Williams' defensive score seemed to wake the Patriots up, however, as Tom Brady responded with a nine-play, 74-yard touchdown drive on his next series, which was helped immensely by a 26-yard pass interference penalty on Marsh.
That marked the end of the night for Brady, but not for the Patriots' offense, which added two more touchdowns before the end of the half.
First, Jimmy Garoppolo hit James Develin with a 15-yard scoring strike to finish off a crisp 28-yard drive following the lost fumble by Momah. Garoppolo took the Patriots 75 yards on his next series, finishing off the 13-play drive with a 4-yard TD pass to Bradon LaFell.
Foles finally delivered the first-team offense's first score of the preseason after starting with a short field following Benn's punt block, finishing with a 6-yard touchdown strike to Zach Ertz.
The Eagles came back to tie it at 21 just before intermission when Momah failed to hold on to a Sanchez pass aimed at him in the end zone but deflected it to Benn.
But Sanchez tossed an interception on the second play of the third quarter and the Patriots pounced, scoring three plays later when Ryan Mallett took off on a 6-yard touchdown run after being flushed from the pocket.
Sanchez responded to that setback by delivering a second touchdown, however, ending a 10-play drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Damaris Johnson, who was pressed into action as a running back due to the shortage of bodies created by injuries to Matthew Tucker, Chris Polk and David Fluellen.
Barkley finished off the third quarter for the Eagles by hitting Josey in the right flat and then watching as Josey dazzled with an athletic, tiptoe run to the end zone, diving for the 27-yard score.
But by then, New England had scored enough to win it, including a 10-yard TD run off left tackle by Roy Finch and another TD pass by Mallett, who oddly had taken all the second-team snaps in practice leading up to the game but then played with the third team.
Johnson, who is 5-8, 175 pounds, failed on four straight tries from inside the 2-yard line to punch the ball in on straight-ahead running plays in the fourth quarter, ostensibly ending any chance the Eagles had to prevail in their second preseason game.
"If we block it right and we do the things that we need to, then he can get it in there," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "But Damaris did a good job. I mean, he played runnilng back for us today. We were short, he went in there and did a nice job running the ball. He made some plays in the passing game. So we were kind of pleased with what he did.
"Everybody had a few bad plays. That's part of the preseason. We'll get them cleaned up and move on."
They will play their preseason home opener Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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