It was an exciting night for Alabama fans, as the lone preseason matchup between the Patriots and Eagles featured plenty of Alabama players, with some even making their preseason debut.

Thursday night featured the debuts of both DeVonta Smith for the Eagles and Christian Barmore for the Patriots. Barmore recorded a single tackle in the matchup.

Unfortunately for fans hoping to catch a glimpse at the connection between Jalen Hurts and Smith, Hurts was announced to be out with an illness slightly before the start of the game.

With Joe Flacco throwing to him, Smith was a bit limited by a lack of chemistry with the veteran, but appeared to be running his routes impressively and getting open relatively easily. He finished with two catches for 19 yards.

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Patriots lead running back Damien Harris performed well in his limited action as well, making effective cuts and scoring a touchdown just two minutes into the game.

The most notable storyline of the night, however, came with the Patriots ongoing quarterback battle. Unfortunately for Alabama fans hoping to see Mac Jones begin the regular season as New England's starting quarterback, Cam Newton was crisp and efficient in his first quarter performance.

Newton finished completing 8/9 of his passes for 103 yards including a 28-yard touchdown to Jakobi Meyers. He looked more comfortable in the offense and moved the ball down the field with his arm effectively, something he struggled with for all of the 2020 season.

When Jones got a chance to command the offense himself in the second and third quarter, he was extremely impressive once again, leading them down the field for multiple scoring drives and once again showing that he is the future of the New England Patriots.

Jones finished 13-of-19 for 146 yards, but should have had more yards once again, tossing an absolute dime of a deep ball down the left sideline that for the second week in a row was dropped by his receiver.

As impressive as he has been in the past two preseason games, in order to win the job right away, Jones needed to completely blow the coaching staff away and equally necessary would have been Newton continuing his poor 2020 performance into camp and the preseason.

While Bama fans all alike will want to see Mac Jones sooner rather than later, it appears that at least for now that Cam Newton will hold onto the starting job. But Jones continues to prove that the Patriots made the right choice in April's NFL Draft.

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