Not the ending Patriots fans — and Brady — are used to
The scene was one New England Patriot fans weren’t used to seeing.
It was their icon, quarterback Tom Brady, sitting on the turf at U.S. Bank Stadium. He had just been strip sacked by Philadelphia Eagles rookie Brandon Graham at the worst possible time, with 2:09 to play and the Patriots looking for another heroic Brady drive to lead them to victory as they were down 38-33.
“That’s what they needed,” Brady, who threw for 505 yards said, giving another fabulous Super Bowl performance. “Somebody to make a play. And those guys (the Eagles) made it.”
They did in a 41-33 Super Bowl LII victory Sunday that left you dizzy the entire time. Both teams went up and down U.S. Bank Stadium Field, chewing up real estate like a tycoon for a combined 1,151 yards.
Defensively, neither team seemed to have an answer for the other, but the Patriots really struggled, as Philly backup QB became an MVP. New England just couldn’t figure out what Eagles head coach and play caller Doug Pederson was throwing at them.
“A lot of people counted us out,” Pederson, who went for it on a critical midfield fourth and 1. “We stayed aggressive. Play after play.”
There are some questions. Patriots head coach had opted not to play Malolm Butler defensively for some reason, and the Eagles had over 400 yards of total offense by the middle of the third quarter. Pederson, an aggressive play caller, was not going to cower the way the Falcons coaches did a year ago. The coach who probably should have been born in Vegas went for it on fourth down late in the first half with a trick play that caught the Patriots flatfooted, Foles catching a TD pass from Trey Burton, the play called, according to Pederson, “Philly Special.”
But still, back and forth they went in an epic battle. You wondered what kind of magic the Patriots might have. They had some, but not enough. Foles led the critical drive, not Brady. The Patriots earlier tried a similar trick play, but Brady couldn’t catch Danny Ammendola’s pass. “Same play they ran against us,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “We just didn’t hit it.”
“We have been wanting this for a long time,” Foles said. “And I’m just blessed to be a part of it.”
It’s a strange feeling after the Patriots success of two titles in the last three years. Or, as Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said, “It stinks. It stinks for sure.”
The Eagles simply showed no fear. They were hitting the open spaces, and the curious benching of Butler also seemed to have an effect on things. Butler hadn’t practiced for much of the week due to the Bloomington Bug that was making the rounds. Philly and Pederson picked on Butler’s replacement, Eric Rowe, continuously.
Had it not been for Alshon Jeffrey’s bobble of a pass down in the red zone into the hands of Duron Harmon, the Eagles may have enjoyed as much as a 17 point halftime lead.
Clearly, New England was in big trouble in the Super Bowl. Again. But when they grabbed a 33-32 lead in the fourth quarter, you thought it was going to be their night again.
And now the questions will begin. Brady, after the game, said “I expect to be back, we’ll see. It’s just 15 minutes after the game ended.”
Oh you can bet he’ll be back. He’s not going anywhere. “There was no quit in our team,” Brady said.
There won’t be in him, either.
Tom King can be reached at 594-1251,firstname.lastname@example.org., or @Telegraph_TomK.