SUPER, SUPER, SUPER As The Eagles Prevail
February 8, 2018
There was once a Quarterback from Westlake high school in Austin, Texas that led his team to a magical Super Bowl Championship. In 2010, Austin Westlake graduate Dree Brees led his New Orleans Saints to an upset win in Super Bowl 44 over the Indianapolis Colts and in the process was named the Super Bowl MVP.
The Philadelphia Eagles came to Minnesota as underdogs, looking for their own Super Bowl magic. They were led by a backup quarterback, Nick Foles, who was starting due to an injury to the Eagles' starting quarterback. Foles, like Brees, played his high school football at Austin Westlake high school. In this Super Bowl, Foles found his own magic.
The Eagles left Minnesota via the "Philly Special" with a Super Bowl Championship, defeating the New England Patriots 41-33. Foles was named the Super Bowl 52 MVP, becoming the second quarterback from Austin Westlake to win a Super Bowl Championship and a Super Bowl MVP trophy.
Foles had a magical performance, completing 28 of 43 passes for 373 yards and three touchdown passes. Foles also became the first quarterback in Super Bowl history to catch a touchdown pass. Foles' last touchdown pass, to tight end Zach Ertz with just over two minutes in the game, turned out to be the game winner.
As good as Foles was, Tom Brady was incredible. Brady threw for 505 yards, completing 28 of 48 passes and tossing three touchdown passes with no interceptions. It was the first time in NFL history that a quarterback had thrown for over 500 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions and lost the game.
There is a cliché that "offense sells tickets and defense wins championships." In this game it was the offense that clearly won the championship. The offenses were so good that there was only one punt in the entire game! That was by the Eagles. The Patriots punter, Ryan Allen, never got a chance to kick. This was the first time in Super Bowl history that a team did not punt the ball.
The offenses not only set Super Bowl records, they set NFL records. The Eagles and Patriots combined for the most offensive yardage in an NFL game ever, with 1,151 total yards of offense. That broke a record that dated back to November 19, 1950. That game, between the Los Angles Rams and the New York Yanks, resulted in 1,133 total yards of offense. The Rams won that contest 43-35.
From the opening kickoff the offenses completely dominated in this game. The Patriots won the coin toss and elected to defer, so the Eagles received the ball first. They drove 67 yards in 14 plays, with the drive culminating in a 25-yard field goal from Eagle kicker Jake Elliott, giving the Eagles an early 3-0 lead.
The Patriots came right back with their opening drive, also going 67 yards on their opening drive before settling for a game tying 26-yard field goal from Patriot kicker Stephen Gostkowski. The score stood at 3-3. Both offenses had set the tone for the day. It was going to be an offensive battle between the two conference champions.
The Eagles came right back on their next possession, with Foles tossing a beautiful 34-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who made a tough catch with defensive back Eric Rowe draped all over him. The drive was helped by a 36-yard run up the middle from former Patriot LeGarrette Blount. The extra point was no good, but the Eagles led 9-3. That ended the scoring in the first quarter.
In the second quarter the Eagles again struck offensively, with a six play, 65-yard drive culminating in a 21-yard touchdown run from Blount. The Eagles went for two on the extra point try and failed. The score stood at 15-3. After another Patriots field goal cut the score to 15-6, the Eagles drove down to the Patriots 43-yard line only to turn the ball over when a Foles pass bounced off Jeffrey and was intercepted by Patriots defensive captain Duron Harmon.
The Patriots then capitalized on the turnover and drove 90 yards in seven plays, capping the drive on a 26-yard touchdown run from running back James White. The extra point was no good, but the Patriots had cut the lead to 15-12.
The Eagles followed that up with another scoring drive, this one resulting in a one-yard touchdown pass to Quarterback Foles. The Eagles were facing a fourth-and-goal from the Patriot one-yard line late in the second quarter.
On a play that Eagle head coach Doug Pederson called the "Philly Special," center Jason Kelce sent a direct snap to running back Corey Clement, who flipped it to tight end Trey Burton on an end-around. Foles hesitated as if he was not part of the play, then quickly dashed out into the flat and Burton found him in the end zone, giving the Eagle a 22-12 lead at the half.
The "Philly Special" epitomized the performance of the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night. Gutsy, throwing caution to the wind, basically doing whatever it took to beat the five-time Super Bowl Champion Patriots. As Eagle Head Coach Pederson said: "We just wanted to stay aggressive."
The Patriots would charge back in the second half, with Brady throwing three touchdown passes, two to tight end Rob Gronkowski and one to wide receiver Chris Hogan. The last score gave the Patriots their first lead of the game, 33-32 with 9:22 left in the game.
The Eagles took over from there, going 75 yards in 14 plays, with Foles connecting with Ertz for an 11-yard scoring pass and the game winning score. The extra point try was no good. The Eagles defense sealed the victory on a sack of Brady by Brandon Graham which resulted in a fumble and recovery by Derek Barnett. A 46-yard field goal by Elliot finished the scoring and gave the Eagles their final margin of 41-33.
The offensive show in this game was amazing. Three Patriot receivers each had over 100 yards in pass receptions. Eagle running back Blount ended up with 90 yards rushing on 14 carries. Clement had four catches for 100 yards and a touchdown.
The offensive play calling by both teams was outstanding. The 505 yards passing by Brady was the most ever in an NFL postseason game, yet even the magic of Brady could not overcome the Eagles.