MINNEAPOLIS – In the wildest shootout in Super Bowl history, unheralded Nick Foles outdueled legendary Tom Brady to lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl title, defeating the New England Patriots, 41-33.
Foles went 28 for 43 for 373 yards and three touchdowns, including leading a come-from-behind, game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. A back-up most of the season to Carson Wentz, Foles was particularly brilliant when it mattered the most, on third and fourth downs in clutch situations. He even caught a touchdown pass at the end of the first half.
New England somehow lost despite never punting or turning the ball over. Brady, seeking his sixth championship, broke his own Super Bowl record for most passing yards with 505. He went 28-for-48 and tossed XX touchdowns.
Brady was brilliant.
It was Foles who was the champion and Super Bowl MVP though.
Trailing for the first time in the game, 33-32 with 9:26, Foles led the Philly offense on a legendary game-winning drive. It included converting twice on third down and once on fourth down, often by the smallest of margins. It ended with a six-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Zach Ertz, who leapt across the goal line.
Ertz lost the ball on contact with the field just after he crossed the goalline. Replay ruled it a catch, determining he had made a football move and became a runner therefore the play was dead when the ball crossed the plane of the end zone.
In the third quarter, Foles hit running back Corey Clement on a 22-yard dime into double coverage. The running back initially controlled the ball, bobbled it a bit and then appeared to fail to get both feet in the end zone. Initially ruled a touchdown, it was upheld on a controversial replay review and brought one of the NFL’s most tired storylines – what’s a catch – to the Super Bowl.
After the Ertz score gave Philly the lead, Brady got the ball back with 2:21 remaining in the game, spurring thoughts of another dramatic Patriots comeback.
Not this time, though. The Eagles defense stepped up when Brandon Graham strip-sacked Brady, causing a fumble that was recovered by the Eagles. Philly kicked a field goal to extend the lead to eight.
With 1:05 remaining, Brady then attempted to drive New England again for a touchdown and two-point conversion but couldn’t do it.
It was the first sign of life by the Philly defense. New England, to that point, had neither punted, had a turnover or allowed a sack.
That’s the Eagles though, opportunistic, confident and more than capable of standing up to the NFL’s biggest bully and punching back.
The game was an offensive classic, setting multiple Super Bowl records, including most yards gained before the start of the fourth quarter.
The Eagles led 22-12 after a wild, entertaining first half that saw a little bit of everything.
There was 683 total yards. A brilliant 37-yard Foles-to-Jeffrey touchdown pass. A 46-yard Rex Burkhead catch and rumble.
Tom Brady dropping a pass from Danny Amendola that hit him directly in the hands. Foles catching one for a touchdown on a daring fake-audible, wildcat snap, reverse, throw-back to the QB.
Each team missed an extra point. Philly failed on a two-point conversion. New England had a bad snap cost them a field goal. Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks was knocked out of the game on a violent hit.
There were gadget plays and huge gains galore.
Corey Clement had a 53 yard catch and run for the Eagles. LeGarrette Blount rumbled for 36 and added a touchdown. New England saw Danny Amendola haul one in for 50 and Chris Hogan for 43. James White scored on a 26-yard run.
The pregame festivities were mostly eventless. All players stood for the national anthem, as they have for the entire playoffs in a movement that had mostly faded away this season until it was rekindled by president Donald Trump in week three.
Pink sang it well after taking out a throat lozenge just before performing.
At halftime, Justin Timberlake performed a number of hit songs, including singing Purple Rain as the image of Prince, a beloved native of Minnesota who passed away last year, was projected onto a giant curtain inside U.S. Bank Stadium.
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