Eagles Soar to First Super Bowl Victory and Beat the Patriots
The 2017 regular season was a success for the Philadelphia Eagles, especially with second-year QB Carson Wentz playing like an MVP, a stellar defense led by Chris Long and Fletcher Cox, and an established head coach in Doug Pederson. The Eagles looked like they could win their first Super Bowl, until they hit a bump in the road late in the season when Wentz went down with a torn ACL.
Then came backup veteran Nick Foles, whose career started in Philadelphia in 2012. Foles spent three years there until being traded to the Rams the next year and spending a season with the Chiefs before getting re-signed by Philly in 2017.
After finishing the season 13-3, Foles was able to lead his team of “underdogs” through the playoffs en route to Super Bowl LII, where the Eagles claimed their first SB victory in franchise history over quarterback Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick, and the five-time defending champion New England Patriots 41-33 in a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX from 13 years ago.
Late in the first quarter, after a field goal from both teams, Foles got the game going with a 34-yard strike to Alshon Jeffery that gave the Eagles a 9-3 lead.
Early in the second quarter, Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks hauled in a pass to gain some yardage until his whole world got rocked by Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, which resulted in Cooks being taken out of the game with a concussion. On that same drive, New England tried their hand at trickery when receiver Danny Amendola was handed the ball on a reverse and fired a pass to a wide open Brady, but he dropped it.
Eagles running back LaGarrette Blount extended his team’s lead to 15-3 on a 21-yard TD run, giving the Eagles early hope.
But Tom Brady didn’t give up, as we’ve seen before. Down 15-6, after a Duron Harmon interception that appeared to swing the momentum, running back James White, the unsung hero from last year’s Super Bowl, broke several tackles on his way for a 26-yard TD run that cut the deficit to 15-12.
The Eagles responded, however, with another score on…wait for it…a reverse pass that actually worked, for Philadelphia that is, as Trey Burton found Nick Foles in the end zone from one yard out. The Eagles led at halftime 22-12.
The offensive shootout continued in the third when Brady threw two TD passes to tight end Rob Gronkowski and receiver Chris Hogan, while Foles found rookie Corey Clement for six, with the score 29-26.
A Jake Elliott field goal early in the fourth extended the Eagles’ lead to 32-26. However, terrific Tom showed up, as he drove the Patriots 75 yards down the field on 10 plays as Brady found Gronk in the corner of the end zone for the game-tying TD and the Stephen Gostkowski extra point to give the Pats a 33-32 lead with 9:04 on the clock.
This was a perfect time for Foles to get his team into gear though. On 3rd and 7 at the New England 11-yard-line, tight end Zach Ertz hauled in a pass from Foles and bobbled the ball as he dove into the end zone for the go-ahead TD. However, the play resulted in a lengthy booth review, and as Dez Bryant and Jesse James have learned in the past, these types of reviews don’t always go the offense’s way.
Nevertheless, the play would stand, much to New England’s dismay.
The Pats got the ball back with 2:21 left, and we were all expecting another Tom Brady miracle, something we’ve seen many times before. But everything changed when Brady was stripped of the ball from defensive end Brandon Graham as his teammate Derek Barnett recovered the loose ball to give the Eagles possession deep in Patriots territory.
After a third Jake Elliott field goal and a failed desperation Hail Mary pass from Brady, the Eagles secured their first Super Bowl victory and their first NFL championship since 1960.
Nick Foles was named the game’s MVP with 373 yards and three touchdowns on 28-of-43 passing without being sacked once.
The game turned out to be a high-scoring affair with the Eagles (538 yards) and Patriots (613 yards) combining for 1,151 total yards, the most in not just Super Bowl history, but NFL history.
On the losing side, a 40-year-old Tom Brady looked impressive as he went 28-of-48 and throwing for 505 yards and three scores. Brady is now 5-3 in Super Bowls, with all three of those losses coming against NFC East teams, including two to the New York Giants.
Before LII, Philadelphia had an 0-2 record in previous Super Bowls, including the aforementioned SB XXXIX against the Patriots in 2005, and SB XV against the Oakland Raiders in 1981.
The Eagles can now join the Giants, Redskins, and Cowboys in the club of NFC East teams who have won Super Bowls, and not only that, we can now say goodbye to all the ruthless jokes and memes about Philadelphia being ringless. Congrats to the City of Brotherly Love.