Eagles win Super Bowl LI

Written by: Elisha Deluhery

Super Bowl LII will go down as one of the greats. With both teams’ narratives climaxing at the most important, and most captivating, game of the year this year’s bout will no doubt be long remembered. Philadelphia chasing its first championship while New England tries to expand their legacy amidst organizational doubt.
For the first time in their 18-year-long tenure, the Brady-Belichick tandem looked questionable. Rumors began swirling throughout the NFL after the Patriots shipped esteemed backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a 2018 second-round pick. Earlier, during the 2017 offseason, the Patriots looked at deals to send the quarterback elsewhere for a high, first-round pick. However, the Patriots decided against moving the quarterback in favor of keeping him on as a backup. This would seemingly tell everyone that either the Garoppolo trade was forced, or, that the picking of the 49ers as a landing spot was intentional. The situation, while foggy, doesn’t look good either way. According to the NFL rumor mill, both were true. Brady, who previously stated he would only play for the 49ers outside of New England, became grumpy after Belichick started to prep his backup, Garoppolo, to succeed him after this season. So, as the rumor goes, Brady goes to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, complains and gets Kraft to force a Garoppolo trade on Belichick. Belichick in response sends Garoppolo to Brady’s second-favorite team. The San Francisco 49ers. Which prevents Brady from leaving to another destination and sticks it to Kraft by nabbing a second-rounder in return. While none of these reports will ever be one-hundred percent confirmed, it didn’t paint a pretty picture for the team. Cue the typical regular season Patriots revenge tour, throw in some angry Belichick and Brady and bam. Congratulations you’re going to the Super Bowl.
For Philadelphia, the journey to the Super Bowl is just as impressive. The Eagles started the season hot. Their opening week they killed the Washington Redskins 30-to-17. Sophomore quarterback Carson Wentz tossed for 307 yards, two touchdowns and squeezed of only one interception. The following week saw one of Philly’s two losses on the season as they were beat by the Kansas City Chiefs by a touchdown. Then, Philly went on a four-game tear blowing through the New York Giants, Las Angeles Chargers, Arizona Cardinals and the Redskins again. However, not without consequence, during the rematch with Washington the Eagles lost their four-time pro bowl left tackle Jason Peters. For the Eagles, the injury obviously didn’t help set Philadelphia up for any more success in the slightest, but fate would say otherwise. Philly went on yet another four-game tear with victories over the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys. After week 11 things got interesting for Philadelphia. Week 12 saw a smothering loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Going back and watching the tape on the game, Philadelphia really seemed to struggle. They didn’t show their normal offensive tenacity let alone a hint of their over-dominating defense. It’s perfectly understandable to see a team have an “off-week”. Which is exactly what the Eagles had. Week 13 would fair no better for Philadelphia. In the midst of a high-scoring shootout with the Los Angeles Rams, franchise quarterback Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending injury on a called-back touchdown scramble. Philadelphia’s enigmatic run of greatness seemed to be over. To replace Wentz was impossible. At least it seemed impossible. A familiar face in Philly would step in to help. Drafted by the Eagles in 2012, Nick Foles played his heart out. For three years Foles tried to uplift, the then lackadaisical, Philadelphia Eagles. His first year flew by without pause, his second season saw him named to the Pro Bowl and his third season saw him regress into a career backup. Then he was ousted from Philly. Next, he spent a rather questionable year struggling with another 2018 season breakout Case Keenum in St. Louis. Followed by backup duties to Alex Smith in Kansas City the next season. Foles, all hope lost, was on the verge of retirement when he got another call from the Eagles. So down goes Wentz and in goes Foles. For the remainder of the game, and regular season, Foles does phenomenal. He threw for 481 yards, five touchdowns and held an accumulative passer rating of 79.5 throughout the last four games. Postseason Foles performs even better throwing for 971 yards, six touchdowns and at an 115.7 passer rating. With Foles playing lights-out, and the defense keeping its regular-season dominance, Philly wrote a path to another Super Bowl appearance.
The Super Bowl itself was stellar. New England entered as the heavy favorite and Philly as the underdogs. With the opening drive, Philly was able to take the lead early with a field goal. Up 3-0 the Eagles defense held steady allowing the Patriots to just a field goal as well on the next drive. Philadelphia responded with two back-to-back touchdown resulting offensive drives. The first a 34-yard reception by Alshon Jeffery. The second a 21-yard burst by LeGarrette Blount. However, the Eagles were unsuccessful on both extra-point attempts. On the Jeffery reception, Eagles kicker Jake Elliott missed the extra-point kick. To try and make up for the miss the Eagles went for a two-point conversion, and failed, on their next scoring possession. The Patriots managed another field goal, as well as a 26-yard touchdown courtesy of James White, in the first half of play. Like the Eagles though the Patriots missed their extra-point attempted on the touchdown play. To close out the half, the Eagles scored a last-minute touchdown via a Nick Foles caught trick-play touchdown.This set the score at 22-12 in favor of Philadelphia at halftime.
The second half saw a much more back-and-forth game between the two powerhouses. To start the second half the Patriots scored a touchdown off a 5-yard toss to all-star tight end Rob Gronkowski. This was followed by a reciprocated Eagles 22-yard touchdown reception by Corey Clement. The score, set at 22-19, was soon changed again via a 26-yard Patriots reception by wide receiver Chris Hogan. Philly managed a field goal early in the fourth quarter. With the score at 32-26 Tom Brady once again found Gronkowski for another touchdown. Now the game was within the Patriots grasp with the score sitting at 33-32 New England. After the field goal, the Eagles took the ball back on their own 25-yardline. Desperate for a stop, the New England defense tried its best to seal the game. However, the Eagles slowly chipped their way down the field. In total, they marched 75 yards to find the endzone once again on an 11-yard stretched reception by tight end Zach Ertz. Even with the made field goal the Patriots, only down by six points, still had a chance to win the game. Leading the Patriots offense, Brady wasn’t able to conjure up a magical last-minute drive. Instead the Eagles defense held him steady, sacked him and forced a fumble to seal their championship dreams. With dwindling seconds, the Eagles kicked a play-it-safe field goal. Brady’s last ditch effort to heave a touchdown failed on the following possession. The Eagles had won the Super Bowl.
The conclusion of these two stories brought about a legendary end to the NFL season. The perennial Patriots dethroned. Philadelphia harboring a new champion. Truly a Cinderella year. Until next year football. Until next year.

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