Eagles fly to first Super Bowl win with memorable victory vs Patriots

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As their delirious fans sang their theme song and their owner lifted the Lombardi Trophy, the Philadelphia Eagles’ finally could breathe freely.

Yo, Philly, you really did beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in a thrilling Super Bowl that rewrote the offensive record book.

Nick Foles guided the drive of a lifetime, Zach Ertz made a bobbling touchdown catch that had to survive replay review, and an exhausted defense came up with not one but two stands in the final moments Sunday for a 41-33 victory. For the first time since 1960, the Eagles are NFL champions.

“Fly Eagles Fly,” indeed.

“We’ve played this game since we were little kids, we dreamed about this moment,” game MVP Foles said. “There’s plenty of kids watching this game right now dreaming about this moment and someday will be here.”

In a record-setting shootout between backup QB Foles and five-time champ Brady of the favored Patriots, Foles led a pressure-packed 75-yard drive to the winning touchdown, 11 yards to Ertz with 2:21 to go .

Then Brandon Graham strip-sacked Brady and Derek Barnett recovered, setting up rookie Jake Elliot’s 46-yard field goal for an 8-point lead.

Brady got his team to midfield, but his desperation pass fell to the ground in the end zone.

“For us, it was all about one stop we had to make. We went out here and made that one stop,” Graham said.

The underdog Eagles (16-3), even injured starting quarterback Carson Wentz, came bolting off the sideline in ecstasy while Brady sat on the ground, disconsolate.

It was the first Super Bowl title for Philadelphia (16-3), which went from 7-9 last season.

“If there’s a word (it’s) called everything,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said. “That’s what it means to Eagles fans everywhere. And for Eagles fans everywhere, this is for them.”

Super Bowl MVP Foles orchestrated the victory with the kind of drive NFL MVP Brady, a five-time champion, is known for. The drive covered 14 plays, including a fourth-down conversion.

“I felt calm. I mean, we have such a great group of guys, such a great coaching staff,” Foles said. “We felt confident coming in, and we just went out there and played football.”

The Eagles had to survive a video replay because ball pop into the air as Ertz crossed the goal line.

The touchdown stood — and so did thousands of green-clad Eagles fans who weren’t going to mind the frigid conditions outside US Bank Stadium once they headed out to celebrate. But not before a rousing rendition of “Fly Eagles Fly” reverberated throughout the stands once the trophy was presented to Lurie. Later, fans danced along with the “Gonna Fly Now,” the theme from “Rocky,” the city’s best-known fictional underdog.

The Patriots (15-4) seemed ready to take their sixth championship with Brady and coach Bill Belichick in eight Super Bowls. Brady threw for a game-record 505 yards and three TDs, hitting Rob Gronkowski for 4 yards before Stephen Gostkowski’s extra point gave New England its first lead, 33-32.

Then Foles made them forget Wentz — and least for now — with the gutsiest drive of his life.

“We couldn’t make a play to give the ball back to the offense,” Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore said.

Foles has been something of a journeyman in his six pro seasons, but he has been spectacular in four career playoff games. He finished 28 of 43 for 373 yards and three TDs.

The combined 1,151 yards were the most in any modern NFL game, and Brady’s 505 were the most in any playoff contest. The 40-year-old master finished 28 of 48 and picked apart the Eagles until the final two series.

It was such a wild game that Foles caught a touchdown pass , and Brady was on the opposite end of a Danny Amendola throw that went off his fingertips.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson brought home the championship in his second year in charge. Belichick is 5-3 in Super Bowls and his teams have only a plus-4 overall margin in those games.

So this one was in keeping with that trend: breathtaking and even a bit bizarre.

Brady and the Patriots looked ready for another comeback by opening the second half with a 75-yard touchdown drive. Gronkowski was unstoppable, grabbing four passes for 69 yards, including the 5-yard score.

Philly didn’t flinch, answering with a precise 75-yard march and three more third-down conversions; the Eagles were 10 for 16. The last was on Foles’ perfect pass to Clement over double coverage. The rookie’s reception was upheld by review, and the Eagles were back on top by 10.

Brady shrugged and, getting steadfast protection, connected with Chris Hogan from the 26 for another touchdown.

When all the Eagles could manage was Elliott’s 42-yarder for a 32-26 lead, it seemed inevitable the Patriots would go in front, then become the first repeat Super Bowl winner since they did it in the 2004 and ’05 games.

Foles, Ertz, and — at last — a revitalized defense said otherwise.

The weird image of Brady ambling downfield on a pass pattern came three plays after New England lost receiver Brandin Cooks to a concussion on a vicious but clean hit by Malcolm Jenkins in the second quarter. Amendola’s pass required an over-the-shoulder grab and the ball fell off Brady’s outstretched hands.

Brady got back to passing after a wild interception. Alshon Jeffery nearly made a spectacular catch near the Patriots’ goal line, only to juggle the ball into the air. Duron Harmon picked it off at the 10. Moments later, Brady was connecting with Chris Hogan for 42 yards.

James White broke several tackles with a brilliant 26-yard run and it was 15-12. That gave White seven touchdowns in his past three postseason games, including the overtime winner in last year’s Super Bowl.

But the Eagles still had 2:04 left in the half — and some more magic in their bag.

A short third-down throw to rookie Corey Clement on a circle route turned into a 55-yard explosion down to the Patriots 8. Philly got to the 1 and on fourth down, it was Foles’ turn to morph into a receiver.

He did better than Brady. On fourth down, Clement took a direct snap, pitched to tight end Trey Burton, and the former Florida QB hit an uncovered Foles. The Eagles were up 22-12 at halftime, the most points New England has allowed in the opening half of a Super Bowl under Belichick.

Each team started with 67-yard drives to field goals — New England had never scored a first-quarter point with Brady in a Super Bowl.

Each kicker later faltered, with Elliott missing the extra point, his fifth failed PAT this season, after Jeffery’s 34-yard touchdown. Then Gostkowski hit the left upright with a 26-yard field goal after holder Ryan Allen mishandled the snap. Gostkowski also missed an extra point.

When LeGarrette Blount, who won the title last season with the Patriots, scored on a 21-yard burst, Pederson went for 2, but the pass failed, making it 15-3.

The Eagles and Pederson brushed it off and stayed with their usual aggressive approach. Breathtakingly, it eventually paid off.

Super Bowl LI MVP Odds: Tom Brady the betting favorite over Matt Ryan

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Tom Brady is the clear-cut Super Bowl LI MVP favorite, which serves to make the prop on Matt Ryan all the more tantalizing.

Just more than a week before Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston, the New England Patriots’ triggerman is the front-runner on the MVP futures board at +160, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Ryan of the underdog Atlanta Falcons is listed at +250.

That is good value considering that the award goes to the winning QB more than half of the time and the most likely scenario for the Falcons to win is probably in a higher-scoring game.

Brady has been named MVP in three of the Patriots’ four Super Bowl victories. The Patriots’ offense-by-committee approach makes for long odds on WR Julian Edelman (+1600), RB LeGarrette Blount (+2000), WR Chris Hogan (+2500) and RB Dion Lewis (+2500).

With Patriots coach Bill Belichick having two weeks to scheme, if someone wants to play a long shot, it’s worth noting that Edelman and Lewis can both create touchdowns in multiple ways.

Falcons WR Julio Jones, at +750 on the Super Bowl betting prop to win the game MVP, has the top odds of any non-quarterback. The Falcons rotate running backs Devonta Freeman (+2500) and Tevin Coleman (+3300), although Freeman is likely a better bet since he gets more touchdown opportunities from inside the 10-yard line.

Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller‘s dominant game in Super Bowl 50 resulted in him being only the second defensive player in the last 13 years to be voted MVP. The highest defensive player on the board is Falcons DE Vic Beasley (+3300).

Atlanta’s likely only chance of containing  Brady is with a four-man rush, since Brady is too good at zipping short passes when teams send extra defenders. The Patriots focus more on causing turnovers, so there is potential for a defensive player to grab the spotlight by being involved in a couple takeaways. Cornerback Logan Ryan (+5000) and CB Malcolm Butler (+6600) likely figure to be busy on Super Sunday against the Falcons’ skilled receivers.

The Patriots are listed as three-point favorites against the Falcons with a 58.5-point total.

The MVP is chosen by a fan vote during the game that counts for 20 percent of the tally and a media panel whose votes count for the other 80 percent.

Sunday Night Football odds have Patriots favorites over the Seahawks

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There is an expectation that Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will be untouchable in a post-bye week game, but their record against the spread in recent instances might suggest otherwise.

The Patriots are 7.5-point betting favorites against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks with a 49-point total in the Sunday Night Football matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. New England, due to road games and their bye week, is playing at Gillette Stadium for the first time in four weeks.

The OddsShark NFL Database points out the Patriots are 19-0 straight-up in their last 19 home games after consecutive road games. Interestingly enough, since 2009 New England is 5-2 SU and 2-4-1 against the spread in games following a bye week.

The Patriots are 7-1 SU and ATS, with the lone loss occurring when No. 3 QB Jacoby Brissett was starting during Brady’s Deflategate suspension. Brady, whose team is 9-1 SU and 7-2-1 ATS over their last 10 November home games, should have all hands on deck in the passing phase as slot WR Julian Edelman (foot) and TE Martellus Bennett (ankle) wait for minor ailments to heal.

Seahawks CB Richard Sherman will take away some routes from Brady, but that could leave openings for TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Chris Hogan. The Patriots might have some success going after Seahawks CB Jeremy Lane, who had a short week to get over a rough outing against the Buffalo Bills in Week 9.

The Seahawks defense, with DE Cliff Avril and DE Michael Bennett leading the front line, are tougher against the run than against the pass. New England mainly uses RB LeGarrette Blount to try to tire out opposing defenders and slow up the pass rush.

The Seahawks, at 5-2-1 SU and 3-4-1 ATS, are in good position to regain the NFC West title, but this is their biggest test of the season. Wilson, with a great deal of help from WR Doug Baldwin and TE Jimmy Graham, has kept Seattle’s offense functional even though they are third-last in the NFL in rushing.

Being one-dimensional against the Patriots, whose only loss came against the Buffalo Bills (who lead the NFL in yards per rush), is hardly a winning strategy.

New England, with a solid secondary led by FS Devin McCourty and CB Malcolm Butler, emphasizes preventing the deep pass. Wilson, who’s facing a tepid pass rush which has only 13 sacks, should be able to make his progressions and complete underneath routes.

Seattle, which has not been this big of an underdog on the NFL betting lines since 2012, barely ran the ball against Buffalo even though they led throughout the game. They will need some output from RB Christine Michael, since three-and-out possessions against the Patriots are a killer.

The total has gone under in six of the Seahawks’ last eight road games. The total has gone over in five of the Patriots’ last seven home games.