Malcolm Butler in pre-Super Bowl interview session
Malcolm Butler in pre-Super Bowl interview session
MINNEAPOLIS – The Philadelphia Eagles, behind constant, relentless execution of offensive plays quarterbacked by Eagles reserve Nick Foles, upset the five-time champion New England Patriots, 41-33, to win the first Super Bowl title for the City of Philadelphia.
Zach Ertz with Super Bowl winning touchdown catch
Yes, for the first time, the Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl champions.
A Hail Mary pass attempt by Tom Brady fell incomplete in the end zone as time expired, and the New England Patriots fell to the Eagles 41-33 on Sunday in Super Bowl LI at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Jake Elliott nailed a 48-yard field goal with 1:05 remaining to give the Eagles an eight-point edge.
Philadelphia defensive end Brandon Graham punched the ball out of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s clutches with 2:09 left, and Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett recovered the fumble.
Graham told NBC of the strip-sack, “Just kept going, you know? We said we needed a play. If we got one more opportunity, we were going to give everything we got — and I just so happened to get there.
“I’m just thankful because we’ve got a team that’s resilient. You know, we’re gonna stick around for a long time — cause we world champs, baby, and it feels so good.”
Moments before Graham’s key play, tight end Zach Ertz lunged over the goal line for a touchdown with 2:21 remaining, giving the Eagles a 38-33 edge.
On the go-ahead, 11-yard scoring play, Ertz made the grab of a Nick Foles pass at the 2-yard line, then dived in front of Patriots safety Devin McCourty to cross the goal line.
Replay review confirmed the score and prompted Philadelphia to go for a two-point conversion, but the attempt — a swing pass to Eagles rookie running back Corey Clement — failed.
Foles finished 28 of 43 for 337 yards with three touchdown passes and one interception. Brady completed 28 of 47 passes for 505 yards and three TDs.
Clement caught four passes for 100 yards, while the Patriots had three players hit triple digits in receiving yards: Danny Amendola, eight catches, 152 yards; Chris Hogan, six catches, 128 yards, one touchdown; and Rob Gronkowski, nine catches, 116 yards, two TDs.
New England surged ahead 33-32 when Gronkowski caught Brady’s third touchdown pass of the game, a 4-yard toss with 9:22 left. Stephen Gostkowski’s extra point put New England on top for the first time in the game.
The Eagles took a 32-26 lead 51 seconds into the fourth quarter on a Elliott field goal, creating a bit of breathing space after Brady threw two third-quarter TD passes.
Brady’s 5-yard scoring toss to Gronkowski and 26-yard TD pass to Chris Hogan sandwiched the Eagles’ lone third-quarter score, a 22-yard catch by rookie running back Corey Clement of a Foles throw.
The Clement catch was reviewed because he appeared to slightly bobble the ball near the back of the end zone, but the officials ruled that he had both feet inbounds with possession.
Through three quarters, the teams already had set a Super Bowl record for total yards.
A gutsy trick play on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line staked the Eagles to a 22-12 halftime lead.
Foles caught the fourth-down touchdown toss from backup tight end Trey Burton. Lined up on the left side, Burton got the ball from Clement in the backfield and threw to a wide-open Foles on the right side.
Clement ping-ponged through the Patriots’ defense to set the Eagles up for first-and-goal at the 8, and on fourth down, coach Doug Pederson went for it.
Patriots running back James White plowed through the Eagles’ defense to make it at 15-12 game with 2:04 remaining in the half, but New England missed the extra point.
Gostkowski nailed a second field goal to trim the deficit to nine.
New England regained possession when cornerback Stephon Gilmore tipped the ball away from wide receiver Alshon Jeffery at the New England 7-yard line and Patriots safety Duron Harmon secured Foles’ pass attempt.
Jeffery hauled in a 34-yard score over Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe late in the first quarter to push the Philadelphia lead to 9-3. Elliott missed the extra point.
Philadelphia received the opening kickoff and began the scoring with Elliott punching in a 25-yard field goal to cap the game-starting drive.
New England knotted the score 3-3 with 4:20 left in the first quarter on a 26-yard field goal by Gostkowski.
Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks left the game with 12:59 left in the second quarter due to a head injury. He caught a pass over the middle, turned back to run and was hit helmet-to-helmet by Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, whom Cooks never saw coming.
Cooks was escorted to the locker room by medical personnel for New England, and he was ruled out for the remainder of the game.
New England trailed 28-3 in Super Bowl LI last February in Houston but rallied to beat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime.
–Field Level Media
MINNEAPOLIS – No team has won back-to-back Super Bowls since the New England Patriots held off the Philadelphia Eagles in February 2005 — the franchise’s third championship in four seasons. Thirteen years later, the Super Bowl script is unchanged: The Patriots are vying to win consecutive titles and the Eagles are trying to prevent Tom Brady and Bill Belichick from hoisting a third Lombardi Trophy in four years.
Making its eighth Super Bowl appearance in 17 seasons behind the most successful coach-quarterback combination in NFL history, New England has won five championships in that span, including last season’s dramatic 34-28 overtime victory over Atlanta that featured the greatest comeback on the NFL’s grandest stage. “It’s just been an unbelievable run and I think everyone should be really proud of what we’ve accomplished,” said four-time Super Bowl MVP Brady, who is hoping star tight end Rob Gronkowski will be available. “I’m proud of our team. It’s been a great year and it would be really great if we can take care of business in the next game.” Top-seeded Philadelphia is on quite a run of its own, embracing its underdog status following a season-ending injury to starting quarterback Carson Wentz and rallying behind backup Nick Foles to stomp No. 2 seed Minnesota 38-7 and earn its first trip to the Super Bowl since that 24-21 loss to the Patriots. “We know what we’re faced against, we know the opponent we’re going against,” Eagles second-year coach Doug Pederson said. “Lot of respect for them obviously and what they’ve done and what they’ve accomplished. It’s about what we do. How our players handle this week and eliminate distractions and eliminate the noise and how well they prepare and get themselves ready to go.”
TV: 6:30 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Patriots -4.5. O/U: 48
ABOUT THE EAGLES (15-3): With Foles no longer looking like a weak link following a superb performance against Minnesota, in which he threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, Philadelphia presents a balanced offense the likes of which New England hasn’t faced since Week 15 at Pittsburgh. Foles has multiple weapons in wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, who combined for 10 catches and three touchdowns in the NFC title game, along with tight end Zach Ertz (11 receptions in both playoff games). Jay Ajayi has rushed for 127 yards in the two postseason games and is complemented by sledgehammer back LeGarrette Blount, who has 10 career playoff touchdowns and won a Super Bowl last season with the Patriots. Philadelphia’s defense ranked No. 1 against the run (79.2 yards per game) and also tied for fourth with 19 interceptions.
ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (15-3): Brady has been spectacular in the past two Super Bowl victories, rallying New England from 25 points down last season and erasing a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit against Seattle three years ago. The Patriots also had to come from 10 points down in the AFC Championship Game despite the absence of Gronkowski, who was limited in practice Wednesday and remains in the league’s concussion protocol. Danny Amendola caught a pair of fourth-quarter TD passes versus Jacksonville and has 18 receptions in the two playoff games while speedster Brandin Cooks has nine. Ex-Eagle Dion Lewis has carried the running game over the second half of the season but all three backs are threats in the passing game, particularly James White. New England’s defense looked vulnerable against Jacksonville but has 11 sacks in the postseason.
1. The Patriots are looking to join the Steelers as the only team with six Super Bowl championships.
2. Foles is the only QB to post a passer rating of at least 100 in his first three postseason games.
3. Gronkowski has 10 postseason touchdowns, including seven in his last seven playoff games.
If Brady can establish Gronkowski early, it will open up the running game, short “West Coast” style screens for the running backs and allow the NE wide-receivers some room with single coverage on Cooks, Amendola and Chris Hogan.
New England needs to control the ball, keep the Philly defense on the field, then let experience and history show in the fourth quarter.
Can Patriots Coach Bill Belichick devise his schemes to keep the ball away from former NE RB LaGarrete Blount and the newly acquired Jay Ajayi?
Will James Harrison and the pass rush on Foles be a major factor?
Can New England’s defense and secondary force Foles to turn the ball over, or fold under the pressure of a close game in the fourth quarter?
New England 24, Philadelphia 21 — Rob Gronkowski (MVP)