In the Nick of time

Foles, Eagles overtake Pats for first Super Bowl title

Posted: February 5, 2018 at 1 a.m.

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz scores past New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Philadelphia Eagles' flight from last to first ended up with a Lombardi Trophy.

In a record-setting shootout between Nick Foles and Tom Brady, the backup quarterback led a pressure-packed 75-yard drive to the winning touchdown, finishing with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz with 2:21 to go Sunday night.

Then a defense that had been shredded throughout the second half made two final stands to win 41-33.

Brandon Graham strip-sacked Brady and Derek Barnett recovered, setting up rookie Jake Elliot's 46-yard field goal for an eight-point lead with a little over one minute remaining.

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

"It's disappointing," Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said, "but proud of the way our team competed. It's a tough way to end up."

The underdog Eagles (16-3), even without 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, which went from 7-9 last season to the franchise's first NFL title since 1960.

"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 it with the kind of drive NFL MVP Brady, a five-time champion, is known for. The Eagles covered 75 yards on 14 plays.

"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 did have to survive a video replay because Ertz had the ball pop into the air as he 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.

"If they would have overturned that, I don't know what would have happened to the city of Philadelphia," Ertz said. "But I'm so glad they didn't overturn it."

The Patriots (15-4) seemed ready to take their sixth championship with Brady and Belichick in eight Super Bowls. Brady threw for a game-record 505 yards and 3 TDs, hitting Rob Gronkowski for 4 yards before Stephen Gostkowski's extra point gave New England its first lead, 33-32, with 9:22 remaining in the game.

Then Foles made everyone forget about Wentz -- at least for now -- with a gutsy drive, including a fourth-down conversion to Ertz at midfield.

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 3 TDs Sunday.

"We never really got control of the game," Brady said. "We never really played on our terms. We didn't make enough plays when we needed to."

The combined 1,151 yards were the most in any modern NFL game, and Brady's 505 passing yards were the most in any playoff contest. The 40-year-old 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: thrilling and even a bit bizarre.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy Sunday after Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots in Minneapo...

Sports on 02/05/2018