Eagles Steal A Page From Bill’s Book To Dethrone Champs

The Philadelphia Eagles knew they had to be daring, if they wanted to bring the Lombardi Trophy to Broad Street.

They were playing with a backup quarterback, who is keeping the seat warm for while their star quarterback recovers from an ACL injury. They were led by a second year coach, who coincidentally beat Bill Belichick as player quarterbacking the Cleveland Browns in 1990, the only other franchise Belichick has led as a head coach.

They boldly walked into U.S. Bank Stadium, threw all their cards on the table and walked home with their first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.

For four unpredictable quarters, the Eagles matched the defending champs blow for blow and even threw in a couple of tricks of their own, and in the end outsmarted, outcoached and outplayed the Patriots, defeating them 41-33 in the most prolific combined offense output in Super Bowl history.

This was the third Super Bowl loss for the Patriots, who were trying to join the Pittsburgh Steelers as only the second team in the NFL to claim six titles.

The Eagles came soaring out of the locker room in the first half, but were held to a field goal. The Patriots responded with a field goal of their own, and both team were easily moving the ball up and down the field, but a missed Patriots field goal and a missed Eagles extra point kept the score at an uneven 15-6.

The Patriots received a huge first quarter blow as speedy wide receiver Brandin Cooks was leveled by Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and did not return to the game. Coincidentally both Jenkins and Cooks were both former Saints first round picks that collided on the play.

Both teams reached into the trick bag as the Patriots sent out Tom Brady as a receiver on a trick play, but the ball trickled off his fingers and the Patriots were thwarted. The Eagles responded with one of their own as TE Trey Burton, a former college QB hit the Super Bowl MVP in waiting Nick Foles, who was streaking out as a receiver on a reverse to increase Philadelphia’s lead.

The Eagles were starting to feel like this might indeed be their day.

The Eagles looked to drive a nail in the coffin in the closing minutes of the second quarter , but Foles, who was throwing darts in the first half, was intercepted by an acrobatic catch by Stephon Gilmore at the Patriots five-yard line. Gilmore was covering his former college teammate from the University of South Carolina on the play and returned the ball to the Patriots ten-yard line.

James White scored right before halftime to cut the Eagles lead to ten points. White continued his big game scoring barrage as he had the game winning touchdown in last year’s game.

The Patriots went to an old reliable connection to start the third quarter. Tom Brady connected on several throws of over twenty yards to Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots pulled to within 22-19. Brady tallied 344 passing yards barely into the third quarter.

Foles, who was 28/43 for 373 yard and 3 touchdowns, threw a touchdown to the back of the end zone to RB Corey Clement, which was reviewed and upheld to extend Philadelphia’s lead. Clement tallied 100 yards receiving on only 4 catches.

New England which has been the beneficiary of many controversial calls this year and in previous seasons was not getting the benefit of the doubt on this day.

Foles continued to slice the Patriots defense, which was playing without star corner and former Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler, who was sitting out the game, to which head coach Bill Belichick still has not addressed the reasons.

The Patriots finally seized the lead 33-32 in the fourth quarter, but St. Nick was on a mission to deliver a late Christmas gift to the tortured fans of Philadelphia.

He hit Zach Ertz on what was another controversial catch that invoked memories of the Jesse James overturn late in December that allowed the Patriots to steal one in Pittsburgh. Replay wouldn’t be so kind on this frosty evening, as Philadelphia went up 38-32, with a missed two-point conversion.

Brady was hit and fumbled on the ensuing possession and the Eagles kicked a field goal go increase their lead to 41-33, leaving Brady with 1:05 left to try and pull out another miracle.

Brady got his team to midfield and as his desperation Hail Mary just missed Rob Gronkowski and fell to the ground, the Eagles could finally celebrate knocking off Goliath, and the Patriots would leave the field with an unfamiliar feeling… NO Trophy and plenty of questions to answer, this time not about winning!!

 

Photo: AP

 

 

 

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