Eagles defeat the mighty Patriots in Super Bowl LII

(By: Nick Reis)

Even before the opening kickoff, it was evident there was something different about this Super Bowl.

As far as history is concerned, the 52nd rendition of America’s biggest game was a huge mismatch. On one end there was the mighty New England Patriots. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, arguably the most lethal coach-player duo in the history of professional sports, hold five Super Bowl rings to their name and were looking for the repeat. On the other, the Philadelphia Eagles’ backup quarterback Nick Foles was given his chance to shine under Doug Pederson, a coach with only nine years of experience in the NFL.

If that wasn’t enough to deem the Eagles as the underdog, the city of Philadelphia has never felt the joy of winning the Vince Lombardi Trophy. And the last time the Eagles played in the Super Bowl, they lost at the hand of the Brady/Belichick Patriots in 2005. The term ‘underdog’ may have even been an understatement, but the Eagles embraced their role.

The first quarter saw an unusual occurrence in championship football when both Patriots veteran Stephen Gostkowski and Eagles rookie Jake Elliot managed to miss their first field-goal attempts in the biggest game of the season.

Elliot failed to convert on the extra point attempt after wide receiver Alshon Jeffery of the Eagles dove to catch a 40 yard throw in the end zone from Foles to put Philadelphia up 9-3.

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Gostkowski’s kick would have brought the Patriots to within three but they trailed by six heading into the second quarter.

This Super Bowl was an offensive display for the ages with both teams combining to break the record for most offensive yards in a Super Bowl at 1,151 yards. Brady also broke his own record of most passing yards in a Super Bowl with 505.

In the second quarter, both teams managed to run the ball in for a touchdown, leaving Philadelphia with the ball in the red zone with 38 seconds left and a 15-12 score in favour of the Eagles. Pederson then called an unbelievable reverse play that saw Foles catching a touchdown pass after the Patriots failed to do the same shortly prior.

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Now 22-12, the beginning of the second half saw a familiar display of dominance from the Patriots. Watching the Patriots march down the field with Brady completing every pass in the drive to Rob Gronkowski for a touchdown was almost comforting. The Patriots have a history of turning it up in the second half until the game is no longer in reach.

This was not the fate of the Philadelphia Eagles.

They had flown too far and too long on the road to victory to keel over now. The game continued to be outstanding offensively as both teams took turns making unbelievable plays with momentum constantly shifting from one end of the field to the other.

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Oddly enough, it was ultimately the defense sealing the deal in this game. After a flurry of touchdown passes, the Patriots were trailing by five with 2:16 left in the fourth quarter. New England was marching downfield, trying to eat up the remaining time on the clock for a game-winning touchdown. But on second down on the Patriots 30-yard line, Eagles’ Brandon Graham strip-sacked the ball from Brady’s hands, allowing the Eagles to recover the ball.

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The Eagles put themselves ahead by eight with a field goal that put the ball back in the hands of the two-headed monster that is Brady and Belichick for one last drive.

The Patriots were bolstered in their own end-zone but soldered down the field to bring themselves 55 yards short of a touch with one last play to score and convert two points to tie the game. The pressure was on but Brady had been doing this for years.

The first time he was in a Super Bowl was in 2002 when he was the backup quarterback filling in, much like Foles was in this game.

Brady threw a hail-mary, hoping that it would find Gronkowski’s oversized hands. The ball hung in the air for what seemed like forever. Though it was a far cry, the sight of the ball hitting the field was almost surprising. Just like that, the Philadelphia Eagles had their first ever Super Bowl title, and the celebration was full of emotion.

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Since the Eagles’ starting quarterback Carson Wentz was sidelined with a knee injury earlier in the season, the team were surrounded in doubt. Few believed they would make it as far as the Super Bowl with Nick Foles, but no one believed they could beat a goliath like Brady and the Patriots. Foles won the Super Bowl MVP with his unbelievable offensive performance, cementing himself in Eagles legacy for the rest of time. Once underdogs, now champions, the Philadelphia Eagles rode the road to victory.

(Feature image: Wiki Commons)

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