There were no wardrobe malfunctions during Justin Timberlake’s halftime performance – just a sea of stunned Patriot fans as Eagle’s quarterback Nick Foles outdueled terrific Tom Brady in an offensive showdown for the record books.
With the gutsy play calling of second year head coach Doug Pederson, Philadephia converted on a series of critical fourth downs to give the City of Brotherly Love their first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.
Alshon Jeffery and Corey Clement sucker punched the Patriots secondary with a pair of dramatic TD grabs in the end zone and Zach Ertz’s mid-air leap over the goal line sealed the deal in the final moments of Sunday’s 41-33 victory.
Foles, the man who would become Super Bowl MVP, had the back-up quarterback game of his six-year journeyman career. Even though he fell short of Brady’s 505 record setting postseason yards with 373, he schooled the five-time champ as a receiver on the same trick play the Patriots botched earlier in the first half.
After a wide-open Brady failed to haul in an easy pass from wide receiver Danny Amendola, the Eagles turned it up a notch on an identical play on 4th and goal with a 1-yard pass from tight end Trey Burton to an uncovered Foles in the end zone.
And every time New England answered back, Foles and Pederson proved, whatever Brady and Belichik could do, we can do better.
When Rob Gronkowski awoke in the third quarter with four consecutive completions for 68 yards to cut the lead 22-19, the Eagles countered with a Clement touchdown for a 10-point advantage.
After Chris Hogan’s heroic 26-yard catch closed the gap by three, Jake Elliot’s rookie foot put Philadelphia back on top by six.
And when the Patriots took the lead for the first time in the game, on another TD by The Gronk, the Eagles made sure it was short-lived with a lot of hurt by Ertz, who got a crucial first down on 4th and 1, followed by the nail biting review of his bobbled TD catch in the end zone to make it a five point game.
But when it comes to the postseason Patriots, five points and 2:21 left on the clock is a long way from the fat lady singing. That’s when Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett did their defensive due diligence with a forced fumble and recovery that led to another Elliot field goal and an eight point lead.
The Brady Bunch got one last shot with a minute and change, but the mighty Eagles soared causing a series of six incomplete passes to end the title drought of the past 57 years.