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

Leave a comment

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.

Foles throws 4 TDs, Eagles get first-round bye

Leave a comment

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Nick Foles threw four touchdown passes in his first start replacing the injured Carson Wentz, and the Philadelphia Eagles secured a first-round playoff bye, rallying from an early 14-point deficit to defeat the surprising New York Giants 34-29 on Sunday.

Foles hit 24 of 38 passes for 237 yards and no interceptions. The Eagles (12-2) made a late stand on first-and-goal in the final minute in edging the Giants (2-12) for the second time this season, spoiling a three-touchdown, season-high 434-yard passing game by Eli Manning.

Foles hit Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton and Nelson Agholor on scoring passes ranging from 3 to 13 yards in filling in for Wentz, who tore an ACL last week and was lost for the season after a brilliant year.

Road to Super Bowl LII: Stream, start time, highlights and more

The Eagles also got two field goals from Jake Elliott and three blocked kicks from their special teams, foiling an extra point, a punt and field goal. The block on the punt set up a touchdown.

Manning finished 37 of 57 and hit Tavarres King on two touchdowns and Sterling Shepard on one. Orleans Darkwa scored on a short run and Aldrick Rosas kicked a 28-yard field goal.

Manning drove the Giants from their 25 with 3:56 to play to the Eagles 9 with about a minute to go. A 2-yard loss on a pass to Shepard, an incompletion in the end zone and 5-yard run by Shane Vereen got New York to the Philadelphia 6 with 48 seconds to play. Right tackle Bobby Hart had a procedure penalty on fourth down, putting the ball at the 11.

Manning then threw a pass to Evan Engram at the back of the end zone that was high and incomplete.

It was Manning’s ninth career 400-yard game and his first since last season.

The Giants scored touchdowns on their first three possessions to take a 20-7 lead.

Darkwa capped the opening drive with 1-yard run and Manning hit King on a 13-yard TD pass on the second. He found Shepard on a 67-yard catch and run on the third.

Mistakes by Manning and special teams got the Eagles back in the game in a less than three-minute span in the second quarter.

A 37-yard interception return by Ronald Darby to the Giants 18 set up Foles’ second touchdown pass, a 10-yarder to Ertz, cutting New York’s lead to 20-14. Kamu Grugier-Hill blocked Brad Wing‘s punt on the Giants’ next series. Foles found a wide-open Trey Burton on a 13-yard pass to give the Eagles a 21-20 lead. He added a 10-yard to Agholor in the third quarter.

Rosas had a go-ahead 28-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in the half for a 23-21 lead.

UP NEXT

Eagles: host Oakland on Dec. 25.

Giants: at Arizona on Sunday.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and – http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Eagles lose Wentz to injury, beat Rams 43-35 to win NFC East

Leave a comment

LOS ANGELES — Carson Wentz threw for 291 yards and four touchdowns before leaving with a knee injury and Jake Elliott kicked the go-ahead 33-yard field goal with 3:45 left for the Philadelphia Eagles, who beat the Los Angeles Rams 43-35 in a thriller Sunday to clinch the NFC East title.

Two sources familiar with the injury tell The Associated Press that doctors believe Wentz has torn his left anterior cruciate ligament and will miss the rest of the season and playoffs.

Wentz needs an MRI to confirm the severity of the injury. Both people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to release the information.

Wentz was hit hard as he dived into the end zone on a play that was called back because of holding. He stayed in the game and threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery four plays later to give the Eagles a 31-28 lead.

Nick Foles replaced Wentz on the next drive for Philadelphia (11-2).

Road to Super Bowl LII: Stream, start time, highlights and more

The NFC West-leading Rams (9-4) then went up 35-31 on Todd Gurley‘s second short TD run.

Elliott kicked a 41-yard field goal to pull the Eagles to 35-34. His go-ahead field goal was set up when Chris Long, a second-round draft pick of the then-St. Louis Rams in 2008, had a strip-sack of Jared Goff, with Rodney McLeod recovering.

Elliott kicked a 54-yarder, but the Eagles got an automatic first down on a personal foul on Aaron Donald. Elliott kicked the winner four plays later.

The game ended on a crazy play, when Philadelphia’s Brandon Graham grabbed a lateral by Tavon Austin out of the air on the game’s last play and scored what was ruled a 16-yard fumble return.

The Eagles clinched their first division title since 2013.

WENTZ AND GOFF

This was the eighth time in the Super Bowl era that quarterbacks taken No. 1 and No. 2 overall in the same draft squared off. Goff was the first pick overall in 2016, followed by Wentz.

Goff threw for 199 yards and two touchdowns.

Wentz bounced back from throwing an interception on the game’s third play to throw touchdown passes on the Eagles’ next three possessions for a 21-7 lead. He threw a 5-yarder to tight end Brent Celek and a beautifully threaded 20-yarder to Trey Burton in the first quarter, and then another nicely thrown scoring pass to Burton in the second quarter, this one for 11 yards.

HISTORY

This game marked just the eighth time in the Super Bowl era that quarterbacks taken No. 1 and No. 2 overall in the same draft squared off. Goff was the first pick overall in 2016, followed by Wentz. The No. 1 pick is now 5-3 in such matchups.

MOMENTUM SWING

The Rams scored twice in a span of less than two minutes early in the third quarter to take a 28-24 lead. The big momentum swing came when Blake Countess returned a blocked punt 16 yards for a touchdown. The punt was blocked by Michael Thomas, and the ball bounced right to Countess in stride.

Earlier, Goff capped the opening drive of the second half with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins.

INJURIES

Eagles: Aside from Wentz, starting tight end Zach Ertz missed the game with a concussion.

Rams: CB Kayvon Webster, who intercepted Wentz on the game’s third play, was taken off the field on a cart with an ankle injury late in the first quarter and didn’t return. Tackle Andrew Whitworth also suffered an ankle injury.

UP NEXT

Eagles: At New York Giants on Sunday.

Rams: At Seattle on Sunday.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL