The underdog Philadelphia Eagles headed into Super Bowl LII to take on a dynasty unlike any we have ever seen in the NFL in the New England Patriots. What was the biggest reason the Eagles came into this game as decidedly heavy underdogs? Look no further than the fact that the “GOAT” Tom Brady’s opponent is backup QB Nick Foles. Not to mention, 2nd year Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson would be on one sideline trying to out-genius the greatest coach this game has ever seen in Bill Belichick. Those two factors alone made it appear as if the Eagles would be dominated from start to finish, but the one thing the Eagles have that ended up giving the Patriots fits was their deep and dominant defensive line. Let the games within the game begin…
The Philadelphia Eagles started out their first drive letting QB Nick Foles sling the rock. The Patriots’ Kyle Van Noy stuffed LeGarrette Blount in the backfield for a 2 yard loss, but on 3rd and 12 Foles hit Torrey Smith for 15 yards to keep the drive alive. However, the Patriots held the Eagles to a field goal in the redzone to make the game 3-0.
On the Patriots first drive they marched right down the field as well, but just as they did to the Eagles; the Eagles knocked down a 3rd down pass attempt to Rob Gronkowski and held the Patriots to just a field goal making it a 3-3 game.
The Philadelphia Eagles responded with a drive full of big plays. First, it was a 36 yard run by LeGarrette Blount finding a small hole bursting to the outside and scampering down the right sideline. The drive was capped off with a huge catch by Alshon Jeffrey in the back of the end zone for an Eagles touchdown, but Jake Elliott missed the extra point to bring the score to 9-3.
After a 50 yard bomb to Danny Amendola the Patriots ended up getting all the way down to the 8 yard line before the start of the 2nd Quarter.
The Patriots stalled after Brandin Cooks got caught behind the line on 3rd down. Stephen Gostkowski came out for a field goal attempt, but the snap was mishandled and the kick clanged off the left upright no good. The score remained 9-3.
After an Eagles 3 and out the Patriots found themselves with a 3rd and 5 in Eagles territory and they sure dialed one up there. Danny Amendola threw a pass to Tom Brady looping around the right end wide open, but the ball glanced off Tom’s fingertips to bring it to 4th and 5. An incomplete pass deep down the right sideline to Rob Gronkowski ended the drive.
The Eagles got huge plays from Zach Ertz, LeGarrette Blount, and Alshon Jeffrey as they capped off an impressive 80 yard drive. They attempted a 2 point conversion fade route to Alshon, but missed so the score was then 15-3.
Rex Burkhead ran for 46 yards on a screen as the Patriots looked to get right back in the game in a hurry. However, the drive stalled and the field goal attempt by Stephen Gostkowski was made to bring the score to 15-6.
The Eagles converted on a big 3rd down run by Jay Ajayi, but on the very next play Nick Foles chucked it deep to Alshon Jeffrey who couldn’t handle the ball and as it bounced up into the air, Duron Harmon came flying through the air to make the interception.
The Patriots drove down the field 90 yards in 7 plays on the backs of two gigantic plays. The first being a 43 yard catch by Chris Hogan and the next was a 26 yard touchdown run to cap off the quick strike drive. However, Stephen Gostkowski missed the extra point so it was still a 3 point game, 15-12.
As time dwindled down before halftime the Eagles had another big 3rd down play as Corey Clement went for 55 yards on a swing route. Stephon Gilmore successfully defended the Eagles’ Alshon Jeffrey on 3rd and goal as they just couldn’t hit on that fade route in the end zone during the 1st half. Unfathomably, Doug Pederson decided to go for it on 4th and goal with a direct snap to running back Corey Clement, who pitched it to tight end Trey Burton, who then threw it to a wide open Nick Foles who had leaked out of the backfield. The score was then 22-12.
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The Patriots first drive of the 2nd half has been coined “The Gronkey Kong Drive” as he had 4 catches including the touchdown catch to cap it off which made it a 22-19 game.
The Eagles went on a methodical drive down the field and they continued their excellence on 3rd down as Nick Foles hits Corey Clement in the back of the end zone on a 22 yard strike which made it 29-19. The catch ended up going to review, but they decided there wasn’t enough visual evidence to overturn the call made on the field and the play stood.
Tom Brady found a rhythm on that opening drive of the 3rd quarter and he continued it here as he drove the Patriots right down the field on a 7 play 75 yard drive. The drive was capped off with a 26 yard throw from Brady to Chris Hogan which brought it back to a 3 point game 29-26.
The Eagles marched right down the field with a very workmanlike drive doing just enough to move the chains. Time ran out in the 3rd quarter as the Eagles would have a 3rd and 3 from the Patriots 16 yard line when the 4th quarter began.
The Eagles were stopped behind the line and were made to kick a 42 yard field goal that Jake Elliott made and the Eagles lead was pushed to 32-26.
Brady was in far too comfortable and efficient of a rhythm as he got whatever he wanted on the entire drive. Brady and the Patriots punched it in for their first lead of the game, 33-32, on a fade route to Rob Gronkowski.
The Eagles faced a 4th and 1 on this drive and barely converted it to Zach Ertz with just under 5 min that remained in the game. Nick Foles was dealing all game long and that was no different on this drive as he hit Nelson Agholor on 3 straight plays, the second one being through a tight window between two defenders. On 3rd down Nick Foles threw a touchdown to tight end Zach Ertz who went diving into the end zone the ball popped up into the air and Zach Ertz caught it again, but the play would go under review. After the review, they ruled Zach Ertz was a runner diving for the end zone, not a receiver falling to the ground and having to complete the process of the catch, therefore the touchdown stood. The Eagles then went for the 2-point conversion which was incomplete putting the score at 38-33.
Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham got to Tom Brady to force a strip sack and his rookie teammate from Tennessee, Derek Barnett, recovered the fumble with 2:09 left in the game. The Patriots were down 5 and only 1 timeout remained. Brady sat on the field in disbelief.
Eagles ran the clock to 1:10 and lined up for a field goal that was good with 1:05 and put the score at 41-33.
Patriots had a 4th down and 10 with :42 seconds remaining on their 9 yard line which they completed, but they clocked it with only :26 seconds left. Rob Gronkowski got the next two passes and got out of bounds quickly to give the Patriots at least a shot at the end zone. The hail mary pass at the end of the game bounced around on a few players, but it fell harmlessly to the ground and the Eagles won Super Bowl LII, 41-33!
The Philadelphia Eagles are your Super Bowl LII Champions! The Eagles and Nick Foles especially didn’t play scared and earned this Super Bowl because of that. They attacked every moment of the game and that 4th down touchdown pass to Nick Foles was the most prime example. The Eagles were fantastic on 3rd down 10-16 and perfect on 4th down 2-2. They had two touchdowns go under review and they won both which were two key factors in this victory. Doug Pederson deserves a ton of credit for his aggressive nature in this game and he needed every ounce of it to get past the best in the biz.
This also begs another question as to whether Tom Brady really is the GOAT or not? 8 Super Bowl appearances with a 5-3 record and being out-dueled by a backup quarterback who thought about retiring not long ago. Does Joe Montana come back into the conversation with his 4-0 record and playing in a tougher era to play quarterback? Don’t forget today’s loose rules geared toward the offense and defenders not being allowed to destroy the quarterback! Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
(BREAKING NEWS: Rob Gronkowski contemplating retirement)