Patriots Super magic runs out as Eagles prevail, 41-33
MINNEAPOLIS – This time, the late game heroics belonged to the other team.
The New England Patriots saw their recent Super Bowl magic evaporate on Sunday in a heart-stomping 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII before 67,612 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
It basically came apart when, with 2:09 to go when Tom Brady was strip sacked by Eagles rookie defensive lineman Brandon Graham, and the Eagles’ Derek Barnett recovered it at the Patriot 31.
“I kept going, I said we needed a play, and I’m just so happy to get there,” Graham said ” This feels so good. I’m just so happy we’re World Champs. For everybody that doubted us, we’re World Champs.”
“We were slugging all night,” Patriots receiver Danny Amendola, who had eight catches for 152 yards, said.
After the turnover, Eagles rookie kicker Jake Elliott booted a 46-yard field goal with 1:05 left, and the Eagles had a 41-33 lead. Brady had 58 seconds to try to go 91 yards and send it to overtime, but a Hail Mary from midfield on the final play bounced away from Rob Gronkowski, Phillip Dorsett and Danny Amendola.
Brady threw for the most ever yards in any post season game, 505 yards (28 of 48, three TDs), the Patriots had a record 613 yards of total offense, and it wasn’t enough. That’s because, besides the crucial turnover, the Patriots defense allowed 538 yards and their quarterback, Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, completed 28 of 43 for three TDs and one interception. With his team trailing 33-32, Foles hit Zach Ertz on an 11-yard TD play that officials confirmed on review with 2:21 left to give Philadelphia a 38-33 lead.
The Patriots were constantly fighting uphill. Early in the fourth quarter after a 42-yard Elliott field goal, the Patriots trailed 32-26, but finally took their first lead, 33-32, after Rob Gronkowski’s diving 3-yard TD catch and subsequent extra point with 9:22 left. Gronkowski had nine catches for 115 yards.
It still wasn’t enough.
“Everybody competed for 60 minutes,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “It just wasn’t quite enough against a good team like Philadelphia.
“We moved the ball,” Brady said. “I wish we had scored more points.”
The Patriots had life, closing to 22-19 just under three minutes into in the second half, but Foles hit Corey Clement on a controversial 22-yard TD and the Eagles were back up by 10, 29-19, with 7:18 left in the third quarter. And then Brady hit Chris Hogan on a 26-yard TD just 3:55 later, with 3:23 left in the period of a now 29-26 game.
The first half was an incredible up and down show and the Eagles, smelling upset, took a 22-12 lead when Trey Burton, a QB at one time in college (Florida), flipped a 1-yard TD toss to his quarterback, Foles, with 34 seconds left in the half to help give the Eagles a 22-12 advantage. Foles became the first QB to ever catch a TD pass in the Super Bowl.
However, the Patriots finally got Rob Gronkowski untracked, as he caught four passes for 68 yards in an eight play, 75-yard scoring drive, including a 5-yard TD that helped cut the gap to 22-19 just 2:45 into the second half.
After the Patriots tied things 3-3, the Eagles took just three plays to grab a 9-3 lead. LeGarrette Blount’s 36-yard run set up a 34-yard Nick Foles TD pass to Alshon Jeffery with 1:43 left in the first quarter. The Patriots in turn couldn’t take advantage of a 50-yard pass to Amendola, as Stephen Gostkowski had a 26-yard field goal attempt, disrupted by a bad snap, hit off the upright.
After the Patriots were stopped at the Eagle 35, Philly embarded on another quick drive. Jeffrey’s great catch set up a 20-yard Blount run and, despite two failed conversion attempts, the Eagles led 15-3 with 8:48 left in the half. Gulp.
A 46-yard catch-and-run by Rex Burkhead set up a 45-yard Gostkowski field goal to make it a 15-6 game with 7:24 left.
And then the Patriots closed to within 15-12 with 2:04 left as a 43-yard Brady-to-Hogan connection set up a 26-yard James White TD. However, Gostkowski missed the PAT. That’s four points left on the field.
The game started with two good yard-eating drives by each team ending in matching field goals, 25 yards for Philly’s Elliot and 26 yards for Gostkowski to tie it with 4:17 left in first quarter.
But the ride had just begun. A ride that in the end the Patriots took a wrong turn on.