Eagles Win First Ever Super Bowl

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Eagles Win First Ever Super Bowl
Feb 5, 2018

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — The Philadelphia fans, who made up the majority of the 67,612 spectators at U.S. Bank Stadium for Super Bowl LII on Sunday night, knew their cheers could’ve been short-lived after the Eagles took the lead with just under two and a half minutes remaining.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who’s led 42 fourth-quarter comebacks, was taking the field with 2:21 left after Eagles tight end Zach Ertz’s touchdown. In last year’s Super Bowl, Brady guided the Patriots back from a 25-point deficit against the Atlanta Falcons for his fifth championship title.

But on the second play of that New England drive, defensive end Brandon Graham stripped the ball from Brady, and defense end Derek Barnett recovered, handing their offense the ball on New England’s 31-yard line.

The Philadelphia faithful let out a sigh of relief with its loudest cheer of the game, while many of the Eagles players stormed the field, acting like they had all but sealed their upset victory.

The Eagles extended their lead to eight points after Jake Elliott’s field goal, and the Philadelphia defense, which allowed the fourth-fewest yards per game in the NFL regular season, again stopped the Patriots on their final possession to seal the Eagles’ first-ever Super Bowl with a 41-33 victory.

“If you had asked me at the beginning of the season how this all would have went or unfolded,” Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said, “I couldn’t have written a story any better.”

Philadelphia held a 12-point halftime edge, but the Patriots’ rally seemed all but certain with Brady under center. The teams traded touchdowns to begin the third quarter, and after Brady found wide receiver Chris Hogan for a 26-yard touchdown, the Eagles settled for a field goal. The Patriots responded with 10-play touchdown drive that gave them a 33-32 edge.

Yet Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles, who replaced the injured Carson Wentz in December, displayed the poise that helped him lead the Eagles to wins in all five of the full games he played this year. The 2018 Super Bowl MVP, who signed back with Philadelphia in March after playing elsewhere the previous two seasons, powered a 14-play drive, capped by his 11-yard touchdown pass to Ertz.

On a 4th-and-one on the Eagles’ own 45-yard line during that drive, Ertz caught a two-yard pass, one of the many bold plays second-year head coach Doug Pederson presented Sunday against Bill Belichick, one of the great coaches of all time. Foles also caught a touchdown pass from tight end Trey Burton on a 4th-and-one with 38 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

“[Pederson] said it from the beginning: ‘We’re going to be aggressive,’” Philadelphia wide receiver Torrey Smith said. “It means the world that he trusts us in those situations.”

While New England’s offense heavily relied on Brady, who threw for 505 yards and three touchdowns, the Eagles offense was more versatile by switching between pass and run plays. Foles completed 28 of 43 passes for 373 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Four different Eagles caught receiving touchdowns.

“The big thing that helped me,” Foles said, “was knowing that I didn’t have to be Superman.”

The Eagles have prided themselves as underdogs since Wentz’s injury, a mindset Ertz said helped the team bond. Philadelphia was projected to lose all its playoff games, and players wore dog masks following their first two victories.

So, after Foles led the go-ahead drive, the Eagles defensive players encouraged each other to take advantage of the moment they had desired. They knew Brady would hold onto the ball for a long time, Graham said, since he had been throughout the game. The group that Smith called the “heart and soul” of the team came through.

Then, after Elliott’s field goal, Brady threw 3-for-8 on the Patriots’ final drive, only moving to the New England 49-yard line before time expired. The Eagles players rushed the field, and they roamed freely for as long as they pleased this time, soaking in the confetti falling from the ceiling and indulging in the Vince Lombardi Trophy presentation Philadelphia supporters had long waited for.

“Philly is crazy right now,” Philadelphia defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. “The city probably won’t sleep for a week.”

Other stories from Super Bowl week:

Mack Hollins took a complex route to the NFL

Patriots’ Belichick has Maintained His Lacrosse Roots

Before the Eagles, Speedy Darby Dominated in Maryland

Torrey Smith Transitions to Leadership Role

Experience at DeMatha Propelled McLeod to Super Bowl

 

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