Foles flies Philly past Patriots in Super Bowl LII classic
MINNEAPOLIS -- Nick Foles pulled a Tom Brady on Tom Brady.
Foles on Sunday night, Feb. 4, became the first quarterback to start the season as a backup and win a Super Bowl since Brady did it 16 years ago. The result was a 41-33 win by Foles’ Philadelphia Eagles over Brady’s New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Foles, named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, did it in style. Not only did he throw three touchdown passes, he caught one as the Eagles won their first Super Bowl and first NFL championship since 1960.
“We have been wanting this for a long time, and I am just blessed to be a part of it,’’ Foles said. “We have such a great group of guys, such a great city to play for and I am proud to be a Philadelphia Eagle.’’
The winning score came on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Foles to tight end Zach Ertz with 2:21 left in the game after the Patriots had gone up 33-32. A 2-point conversion failed, leaving the Eagles up 38-33.
There was still time for Brady to mount yet another Super Bowl comeback. The Patriots, who trailed by 12 points in the second quarter and by 10 in the third, had won two of the three previous Super Bowls, each time overcoming a double-digit deficit.
But on the ensuing possession, Chris Long had a strip sack of Brady and Derek Barnett the fumble at the Patriots 31. That led to a 46-yard field goal by Josh Elliott with 1:05 left for a 41-33 lead.
The Patriots got the ball back at their own 9. But they could only make it to their 49 before Brady’s Hail Mary attempt fell incomplete.
The Eagles won their first title since they beat Green Bay 17-13 in the 1960 NFC Championship Game, six years before the first Super Bowl. They denied the Patriots at etching their name even more in the NFL record book. Brady was attempting to become the first player to win six Super Bowl rings and Patriots were seeking to tie Pittsburgh with six overall Super Bowl wins.
Bill Belichick, who led the way for all five of the previous New England wins, came up short in his attempt to tie George Halas and Curly Lambeau for most NFL championships won by a coach.
Foles took over as Philadelphia’s starter after Carson Wentz down with a torn ACL Dec. 10. He started the final three regular-season games and all three playoff games.
Brady, in his second season of 2001, took over for injured starter Drew Bledsoe in the third game. He then led the Patriots to their first Super Bowl crown.
Foles completed 28 of 43 passes for 373 yards.
“To be part of this organization, to be in this moment is something you dream about as a kid,’’ Foles said.
Brady did what he could Sunday, completing 28 of 48 passes for a playoff and Super Bowl-record 505 yards and three touchdowns. But New England’s defense couldn’t slow down Foles and the Eagles.
Foles’ first touchdown pass, a 34-yarder to Alshon Jeffery, put them 9-3 with 2:34 left in the first quarter.
“(Foles) just threw it up and gave me a chance and I made a hell of a play,” Jeffery said.
Then it was Foles who became a receiver. On a trick play on fourth-and-goal at the Patriots 1 with 34 seconds left in the first half, Clement took a direct snap after Foles had gone in motion to the right side. Clement then handed off to tight end Trey Burton, who flipped the TD pass to Foles for a 22-12 lead.
“We’d probably been working on it for a month,” Foles said of the play.
Foles’ second touchdown pass was a 22-yard throw to Corey Clement midway through the third quarter that extended the lead to 29-19.
Foles got plenty of help with his running attack. LeGarrette Blount, who won a Super Bowl title with the Patriots last year, rushed 14 times for 90 yards and had a 21-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and Jay Ajayi carried nine times for 57 yards.
The Eagles had advanced to the Super Bowl with a 38-7 win over the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game on 38-7. The denied the Vikings the chance to become the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
Instead, Philadelphia fans took over U.S. Bank Stadium. They significantly outnumbered fans of the Patriots, who were seeking their third championship in four years.
There was plenty of offense as the teams rolled up a Super Bowl-record 1,151 yards. The Patriots had 613 and the Eagles 538.
What was shaky at times was the kicking game. Philadelphia’s Elliott and New England’s Stephen Gostkowski both missed extra points and Gostkowski clanged a 26-yard field goal attempt off the left upright in the second quarter after a bobbled snap.