Butler drawing notice. Undrafted free-agent cornerback Malcolm Butler started opposite Darrelle Revis and showed up with some positive plays, like his third-quarter forced fumble that he recovered himself. "He competes hard," coach Bill Belichick said. "I'd say he's played a lot of snaps in these first two games and gotten a lot of snaps in practice [and] he competes hard every day."
Thompkins' TD catches Brady's eye. Receiver Kenbrell Thompkins' 15-yard touchdown catch on a back-shoulder fade in the first quarter had quarterback Tom Brady buzzing. "A great catch," Brady said, later praising Thompkins' instincts. "I've got so much confidence in him and what he's been able to do, and continue to achieve for us. So hopefully there will be a lot more of those."
Arrington on his move to safety. One of the notable twists defensively had the Patriots playing cornerbacks Kyle Arrington and Logan Ryan at safety. "There's a lot more responsibility [playing safety]," said Arrington, who started at that spot next to Devin McCourty. "You have to be in tune with the corner on your side and the linebackers. You have to be a little more vocal. ... It's just one of those deals where [you play] wherever the coach feels confident in putting guys on the team. We have the utmost confidence in ourselves to get the job done."
Props to Tyms. Second-year receiver Brian Tyms high-pointed a 17-yard arcing pass from Ryan Mallett for a touchdown in the third quarter, with cornerback Curtis Marsh in coverage. Mallett knew where he wanted to go with the football. "You build confidence in practice, and we've been watching 84 [Tyms' jersey number] do that all camp," Mallett said. "He's been making plays and he got one-on-one coverage, so I'm going to let him making a play and just try to get it close to him."
Turnovers produce points. The Patriots totaled four turnovers (2 fumbles, 2 interceptions), and turned them into 21 points. "We always try to aggressively attack the ball," Belichick said, praising safeties Nate Ebner and Duron Harmon for two of the turnovers. "You get an opportunity defensively, you need to take advantage of it; [whether] it's dropped interceptions or missed fumbles or plays like that, they're just foul balls. Those can be game-changing plays, so when you get a chance to make them, you need to make them. It looked like we made most of them."
Third-down offense is impressive. One reason for the Patriots' lopsided time-of-possession edge (39:44 to 20:16) was strong play on third down. The Patriots offense converted 10 of 15 chances. For the Eagles, a lack of pressure was cited as a reason for their struggles on third down. "We're not getting to the quarterback," coach Chip Kelly said. "We need to generate a better pass rush, especially against someone the caliber of Tom [Brady]."