The Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl LII over the New England Patriots 41-33 Sunday night at U.S. Bank Stadium. Here’s how it happened:
Key drive: After the Patriots took their first lead of the game, at 33-32 with 9:22 remaining, the Eagles could have wilted. But quarterback Nick Foles led the Eagles on a 14-play, 75 yard touchdown drive to retake the lead with 2:21 remaining on an 11-yard pass from Foles to tight end Zach Ertz. The drive included a fourth-down conversion near midfield, also on a pass from Foles to Ertz.
Key play: The Eagles defense, who struggled to pressure on Tom Brady throughout the game, finally got to Brady as the Patriots’ quarterback was trying to lead yet another game-winning drive. But defensive end Brandon Graham pushed his way into the pocket and knocked the ball from Brady’s hand, and teammate Derek Barnett recovered the fumble with 2:16 remaining. It was the first turnover of the game for the Patriots. The Eagles again held firm against Brady and the Patriots on the final drive.
MVP: Nick Foles started this season as a backup quarterback, and he ended it as Super Bowl MVP. Foles threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception (that was not his fault) and also caught a touchdown in the Eagles upset win.
Spoiled comeback bid: Most teams would panic with a double-digit deficit in the second half of the Super Bowl, but not the Patriots. This wasn’t rallying back from 28-3 like they did last year, but the Patriots erased a 29-19 third-quarter deficit to take a 33-32 lead early in the fourth quarter. Brady threw three second-half touchdowns to spark the rally.
Officiating questions: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has vowed to rewrite the catch rule this offseason, and now the league has two more controversial calls to review. Two of the Eagles’ touchdowns went through lengthy reviews, in the first half by Corey Clement on a pass the running back caught near the back line of the end zone, and late in the fourth quarter by Ertz, who dived across the goal line. The ball bobbled as it touched the goal line while in Ertz’s grasp, then popped up in the air. Ertz caught that deflection. Both touchdowns were upheld upon review.
Best adjustment: Patriots coach Bill Belichick is the king of in-game adjustments, and he made another brilliant one that changed the game for the Patriots in the second half. After tight end Rob Gronkowski was largely shut out in the first half, the Patriots started the third quarter by splitting the tight end out wide, and feeding him. The first three plays of the third quarter went Gronkowski, and he caught four passes for 68 yards, including a five-yard touchdown on the drive. He later scored the Patriots’ go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.
SOURCE: USA Today