Here are six reasons why the Eagles won Super Bowl LII, a 41-33 victory over the Patriots on Sunday before a crowd of 67,612 on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium:
1. Nick Foles was unflappable: The Eagles quarterback was spectacular as he completed 28 of 43 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns.
Foles took over after Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending knee injury on Dec. 10 against the Rams. The Eagles had the No. 1 seed wrapped up, but no one believed Foles could lead them to a Super Bowl title.
The Eagles were underdogs in each playoff game and proved their doubters wrong. The journal started with a 15-10 win over the Falcons in the divisional round of the playoffs.
“I am speechless,” Foles said after the Super Bowl. “All glory to God first and foremost. I wouldn’t be here without Him. To be a part of this organization, to be in this moment is something you dream about as a kid.”
Foles was aware of the history as Philadelphia won their first Super Bowl title and the franchise’s first NFL title since 1960.
“We have been wanting this for a long time, and I am just blessed to be a part of it,” Foles said. “We have such a great group of guys, such a great city to play for and I am proud to be a Philadelphia Eagle.”
2. Graham makes key sack-strip: Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham beat Patriots right guard Shaq Mason, who played at Georgia Tech, for the only sack of the game. He punched the ball loose and rookie Derek Barnett recovered the fumble with the Eagles trying to protect a five-point 38-33 lead.
“I knew I had a one-on-one with the guard,” Graham said. “I knew he liked to be aggressive, so I tried to act like I was pulling. I snatched it right off and Tom Brady’s arm was right there and I went for the ball.”
The Eagles added a field goal and then had to withstand another Brady rally and a failed Hail Mary pass that was incomplete at the buzzer.
3. Philly Special works: The Eagles stayed aggressive at the end of the second quarter in the shootout with Brady.
After the two minute warning, Foles connected with running back Corey Clement on a wheel route out of the backfield on third-and-3 from their 37-yard line. Clement turned the short pass into a 55-yard gain down to New England’s 8-yard line and threw a classic stiff-arm along the way.
On fourth-and-goal from the 1, the Eagles went with a razzle dazzle play to befuddle the Patriots. The ball was snapped to Clement, who started running to his left before flipping it back to tight end Trey Burton, a former quarterback, who tossed a soft pass to Foles, who’s slipped out the right side of the backfield unnoticed.
Foles hauled down the pass for the touchdown. Elliott’s point after gave the halftime margin, 22-12.
“You really want to know what we call it?,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “Philly special (laughter). Philly special.”
The Eagles have been working on that play for a month, but it was right out of Foles’ Austin (Tex.) Westlake High playbook.
“That play we’ve been working on for the last couple of weeks and just needed the right time, right opportunity, and the guys executed it brilliantly,” Pederson said.
4. Clement comes up big: Backup running back Corey Clement, who had four catches for 100 yards, came up with a big 22-yard touchdown catch to give the Eagles a 29-19 lead in the third quarter.
“I have to thank the Philadelphia organization for giving me a shot as an undrafted rookie free agent, being put in such a big stage and believing in me,” Clement said. “I can only thank them. Thank you.”
5. Fourth-down magic: The Eagles were 2-for-2 on fourth down, including Foles’ touchdown, and 3-for-3 in the playoffs.
Trailing 33-32, the Eagles went for a fourth-and-1 from their 45. Foles connected with tight end Zach Ertz for two yards to pick up the first down and keep the drive alive.
Seven plays later, Foles tossed an 11-yard touchdown to Ertz to re-take the lead. Ertz dove into the end zone and his catch survived a replay review.
“I want to get the ball whenever the situation calls for it,” said Ertz, who caught seven passes for 67 yards. “We have a lot of talented guys on this football team. They’ve done an amazing job building this roster. When the situation calls for it, they trusted me. That’s all I can ask.”
6. Cooks knocked out of the game: Early in the second quarter, Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks suffered a concussion after getting hit in the open field by safety Malcolm Jenkins on what appeared to be a helmet-to-helmet hit. He was later declared out of the game.
“He’s one of our best players,” Brady said. “Any time you lose a great player, it’s tough. Frustrating to lose him. He was very disappointed, but that’s football.”