Eagles vs. Patriots Super Bowl observations and reaction with videos

AP - Tony Gutierrez

As the final seconds ticked down to Super Bowl LII, Tom Brady uncorked one final heave to the end zone, which seemingly hung in the air for an eternity as all the painful memories from 52 years of waiting for the Lombardi Trophy flashed before Philadelphia’s eyes.

And then the ball fell harmlessly incomplete, changing the perception of Eagles football forever.

They are ringless no more. We all we got, we all we needed. The underdogs are now the NFL’s top dogs.

Nick Foles tossed three touchdown passes and caught another en route to an Super Bowl MVP performance as the Eagles held off the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII on Sunday night.

Foles was 28-of-43 for 373 yards, completing a legendary postseason run that saw him record a 100-plus passer rating in each game while throwing six touchdowns with just one interception. He also led the Eagles on the greatest touchdown drive in franchise history.

After Brady’s 4-yard touchdown to Rob Gronkowski gave New England its first lead in the second half with 9:22 left in the game, 33-32, the Eagles answered with a 14-play, 75-yard march that took 7:01 off the clock and limited the times that Brady would touch the ball down the stretch. It was a clutch drive for Zach Ertz, who moved the chains on a 3rd-and-6 with a 7-yard reception and then on a 4th-and-1 before finding the end zone from 11 yards out to put the Eagles in front 38-33 with 2:21 on the clock.

Then the defense, which allowed a trio of touchdown drives on each of New England’s second-half possessions, finally forced the key strip-sack they had been looking for all night. Brandon Graham lined up as a defensive tackle and sliced into the backfield before knocking the ball out of Brady’s hand. The ball took one giant hop and Derek Barnett pounced on the loose pigskin to give the ball back to Philly. Jake Elliott then tacked on three more points with a 46-yard field goal to make it 41-33 with 1:05 on the clock.

Despite allowing Brady to throw for 505 yards and three touchdowns and 613 yards in all, the Eagles still came up with the clutch defensive stop that they’d been accustomed to all season long. The unit didn’t allow a score with the game on the line all year, not even against the greatest to ever play it.

Then came the final Hail Mary attempt and all of Eagles Nation could finally breathe a sigh of relief.

The Eagles headed into the locker room with a 22-12 advantage, aided by one of the gutsiest play calls in Super Bowl history. On a 4th-and-goal from the one and 34 ticks on the first half clock, Doug Pederson dialed up the Philly Special. The play saw Foles call a fake audible and line up behind right tackle Lane Johnson while Corey Clement took the direct snap. Former quarterback Trey Burton then took the end-around handoff and flipped the easy completion to Foles for six.

It was only about 11 minutes earlier that the Patriots were unable to pull off a trick play because a wide-open Brady dropped a pass in the right flat.

Even though the Patriots found the end zone on their first three series of the second half, Philadelphia nearly matched them with a pair of touchdowns sandwiched around a field goal. The Eagles held Gronkowski in check in the first half, but he tallied four receptions for 68 yards on New England’s initial series of the third quarter.

The Eagles wouldn’t have answered New England’s score had it not been for Nelson Agholor’s effort on a 3rd-and-6 crossing route where he spun out of a Johnson Bademosi tackle and sprinted for 17 yards. Agholor led the team with nine receptions, totaling 83 yards.

Then it was Foles connecting with Clement with a perfect touch throw into his waiting lap on this 22-yard score in the back left corner of the end zone, upping the margin back to 10, 29-19.

Earlier, it was Philly racing out to a 15-3 start against the defending champs. The teams traded field goals to start the game and it was Alshon Jeffery who was responsible with the game’s first touchdown. Jeffery showed off his exceptional body control, strong hands and timed his leap perfectly on his 34-yard score. Elliott missed the extra point.

LeGarrette Blount rumbled in from 21 yards out, aided by outstanding blocking from the offensive line which dominated New England’s front seven. Jason Kelce cut off Malcom Brown before Brandon Brooks took over, then worked his way up to the second level to pick up Elandon Roberts. Brent Celek also had a fine kickout block on Patrick Chung after helping out extra tackle Isaac Seumalo on a double team.

Blount carried the ball 14 times for 90 yards against his former team, including a 36-yard run. Left guard Stefen Wisniewski washed Lawrence Guy down the line, Halapoulivaati Vaitai had a pancake and Brooks had a solid combo block.

A key moment came early in the second quarter when Brandin Cooks was knocked out of the game with a concussion following a knockout shot by Jenkins.

Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby had a rough night, but Jalen Mills made a pair of impressive pass breakups against Gronk in the first half.

Former Eagle and New England cornerback Eric Rowe was targeted early and often, surrendering six receptions for 79 yards. He started in favor of Malcolm Butler, a controversial benching by Bill Belichick.

Clement was a menace catching passes out of the backfield, registering four catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. One of those snags came on this 55-yard reception where he burned Jordan Richards on a wheel route and stiff-armed Duron Harmon in the open field.

Super Bowl LII had the most yards (1,151) of any game in NFL history, regular season or postseason. It was one of the wildest games I’ve ever witnessed.

I’ll see you guys Thursday at the parade!


You can follow Adrian Fedkiw on Twitter (@AdrianFedkiw) and e-mail him at amfedkiw@yahoo.com. Subscribe to The Bitter Birds on YouTube here. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.

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