The Philadelphia Eagles fly against the Patriots

Naythan Bryant, Reporter

Super Bowl LII was played on Feb. 4 between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots. The sport’s biggest game left nearly 100 million viewers in shock when the Eagles successfully defeated the NFL’s best team in recent years by a score of 41-33. The competition was filled with incredible plays, intense emotion, and a nail-biting finish that propelled a young Eagles team to bring home their first Lombardi trophy to the city of Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Nick Foles, started firing passes early in the game and was not afraid to show his confidence. Foles, a University of Arizona graduate, found himself starting for the Eagles after their original quarterback, Carson Wentz, suffered a torn ACL and was ruled out during the regular season. Football fans reacted to Wentz’s injury by ruling the Eagles out of any chance at a Super Bowl appearance. Attitudes towards the young QB changed when Foles led the Eagles to a 38-7 victory in the NFC Championship game against the team with the top ranked defense in the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings. As if that wasn’t enough, Foles now had to go head to head with what many football fans consider the best player of all time, Patriots QB Tom Brady.

The Eagles were the first to score when kicker Jake Elliot completed a 25-yard field goal. The Patriots quickly fired back by advancing down the field with passes to James White and Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots opening drive ended with a field goal of their own, tying the game 3-3.

With a little over three minutes left in the first quarter, Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount completed a 36-yard carry up the middle of the field that would set up the team for their first touchdown of the game. The next play, Foles delivered an incredible pass to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery who propelled himself over Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe to make the catch.

While the Patriots were able to fight their way back to the Eagles 10 yard line, they could not answer with a touchdown of their own and even missed a 26-yard field goal attempt, a rare mistake for the veteran players.

The next Eagles touchdown came with a remarkable run through the middle of the Patriots defense by Blount, who sped past three opposing players as he was tackled into the end zone. The Patriots, however, were once again held back by the Eagles defense and were forced to attempt another field goal, this time by twice the distance. The 45-yard field goal was scored by Stephen Gotkowski, bringing the score to 15-6. In the next scoring drive, the Eagles momentum began to build as running back Jay Ajayi completed a 26-yard run for a first down. After, Foles launched a deep pass to Jeffery in an attempt to get within yards of scoring another touchdown. The pass, however, bobbled off the hands of the Eagles receiver right into Patriots safety Duron Harmon. The interception was the only one of the night but would result in the Patriots scoring their first touchdown off a 26-yard run by White, who continued to dominate the field throughout the game.

With less than one minute left in the first half of Super Bowl LII, Foles found himself on the Patriots 2-yard line with a scoring opportunity on fourth-and-goal. What happened next will be remembered as one of the great moments of Super Bowl history. The ball was snapped to running back Corey Clement, who then flipped the ball to tight end Trey Burton on a reverse. During the reverse, Foles made his way into open space and was left completely open by the Patriots defense. The distraction was successful as Burton lobbed a touchdown pass to Foles, who became the first player to ever throw and catch a touchdown in a Super Bowl.

The beginning of the second half started with similar offensive drives as Gronkowski and Clement were able to score, bringing the game to 29-19. Brady continued to pass his way down the field as the Patriots energy increased. Towards the end of the third quarter, Brady launched a touchdown pass deep into the hands of wide receiver Chris Hogan. While the Eagles were eager to respond, the Patriots defense held them back and forced an attempt at a 46-yard field goal, which was scored by Elliot.

Brady and the Patriots, sensing a comeback, battled their way once again down to the Eagles 10-yard line. On second-and-goal, Brady found Gronkowski in the end zone to give the Patriots their first lead of the entire night. A Patriots comeback seemed inevitable. There were less than five minutes left in the game, but the Eagles still had hope in QB Nick Foles.

On third-and-seven, Foles fired a pass to tight end Zach Ertz, who then dove over an opposing player to score a touchdown. The score was 38-33 with only two minutes to play. With the Eagles failing to complete a two-point conversion, the game was Brady’s for the taking. It was now or never for the Patriots. At the Patriots own 30-yard line, Brady dropped back into the pocket, looking for an option to fire the ball to. Brady found his target, cocked his arm back, and began to throw right when Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham broke through the offensive line and dove towards the quarterback. Garahams fingertips were able to push the ball out of Brady’s hand, forcing the first fumble of the night in what would be considered the game winning play of Super Bowl LII.

The seemingly impossible had been done, and the Patriots were taken down. Super Bowl LII left viewers with not only an incredible game, but a game filled with stories. There’s the story of the returning quarterback who just years earlier was talked out of retirement by his brother and now stood tall as the Super Bowl MVP. There’s the story of how Brady had one of his best Bowl performances ever, throwing for over 500-yards, and was still outplayed by the passionate Eagles side. Whatever story you took away from Super Bowl Sunday 2018, the battle will undoubtedly go down as one of the best Super Bowls of all time.