EditorsNote: Writes through with more quotes, details
MINNEAPOLIS — For the first time, the Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl champions.
Not since 1960, when the Eagles defeated Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers, had Philadelphia taken the NFL championship.
“We knew we had something special,” Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount said after Philadelphia beat the New England Patriots 41-33 on Sunday in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The teams combined for an NFL-playoff-record 1,151 yards from scrimmage in a shootout that came down to the final play.
A Hail Mary pass by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady fell incomplete in the end zone to the seal the Eagles’ victory.
“Obviously, I didn’t do a good enough job,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said after falling to 5-3 in the Super Bowl.
Jake Elliott nailed at 48-yard field goal with 1:05 remaining to give the Eagles an eight-point edge.
The field goal followed the only sack of the game, a play on which Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham punched the ball out of Brady’s clutches with 2:09 left. Philadelphia defensive end Derek Barnett recovered the fumble.
Graham told NBC of the strip-sack, “Just kept going, you know? We said we needed a play. If we got one more opportunity, we were going to give everything we got — and I just so happened to get there.
“I’m just thankful because we’ve got a team that’s resilient. You know, we’re gonna stick around for a long time — cause we world champs, baby, and it feels so good.”
The Eagles moved in front 38-33 when tight end Zach Ertz lunged over the goal line for a touchdown with 2:21 remaining.
Replay review confirmed the 11-yard score on a pass from Nick Foles. Philadelphia went for a two-point conversion, but the attempt — a swing pass to rookie running back Corey Clement — failed.
Foles finished 28 of 43 for 337 yards with three touchdown passes and one interception. The backup quarterback before Carson Wentz got hurt on Dec. 10, Foles also caught a touchdown pass Sunday en route to winning Super Bowl MVP honors.
Brady threw for 503 yards and three touchdowns, completing 28 of his 48 pass attempts.
“It’s 15 minutes after the game ended,” Brady said. “I’d like to process this a little bit, but I wouldn’t see why I wouldn’t be back.”
New England surged ahead 33-32 when Gronkowski caught Brady’s third touchdown pass of the game, a 4-yard toss with 9:22 left. Stephen Gostkowski’s extra point put New England on top for the first time in the game.
The Eagles took a 32-26 lead 51 seconds into the fourth quarter on a Elliott field goal, creating a bit of breathing space after Brady threw two third-quarter TD passes.
Brady’s 5-yard scoring toss to Gronkowski and 26-yard TD pass to Chris Hogan sandwiched the Eagles’ lone third-quarter score, a 22-yard catch by Clement of a Foles throw.
“I can only imagine what’s going on right now (at home),” Clement said. “I told you Philly, we’re bringing it back.”
Clement’s catch was reviewed because he appeared to slightly bobble the ball near the back of the end zone, but the officials ruled that he had both feet inbounds with possession.
Through three quarters, the teams already had set a Super Bowl record for total yards.
A gutsy trick play on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line staked the Eagles to a 22-12 halftime lead.
Foles caught the fourth-down touchdown toss from backup tight end Trey Burton. Lined up on the left side, Burton got the ball from Clement in the backfield and threw to a wide-open Foles on the right side.
Clement caught four passes for 100 yards, while the Patriots had three players hit triple digits in receiving yards: Danny Amendola, eight catches, 152 yards; Chris Hogan, six catches, 128 yards, one touchdown; and Gronkowski, nine catches, 116 yards, two TDs.
“Just wasn’t quite enough against a team like the Eagles,” Belichick said.
The Patriots wound up with 613 total yards, the Eagles with 538.
New England wide receiver Brandin Cooks left the game with 12:59 left in the second quarter due to a head injury. He caught a pass over the middle, turned back to run and was hit helmet-to-helmet by Philadelphia safety Malcolm Jenkins, whom Cooks never saw coming.
Cooks was escorted to the locker room by medical personnel for New England, and he was ruled out for the remainder of the game.
—Field Level Media