If told ahead of time that 5-time Super Bowl champion and defending league MVP Tom Brady would throw for a Super Bowl-record 505 yards and three touchdowns without an interception while facing a backup quarterback, most people would assume the New England Patriots would have won their second Super Bowl championship in a row.
But that’s what they play the games.
In a stunning upset, the underdog Philadelphia Eagles, led by backup quarterback Nick Foles, defeated the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII.
A Back-and-Forth Super Bowl
The offenses were rolling early in Super Bowl LII. Both teams took their first possessions down the field for scores. Things got interesting quickly though, when, after a 34-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffrey, Eagles rookie kicker Jake Elliott missed the point-after attempt.
Then, one-time Patriot LeGarrette Blount found some revenge against his former club when he barreled his way to a 21-yard touchdown run. Midway through the second quarter, the Eagles led 15-3.
The Patriots responded with a 45-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski, who had missed a 26-yard field goal early in the second quarter. New England followed that possession with a 26-yard touchdown run from James White to cut the lead to 15-12.
Philadelphia took the ensuing possession to the Patriots’ one yard line, and, in one of the gutsiest play-calls in Super Bowl history, Eagles head coach Doug Peterson elected to go for it on fourth down. Not only did Peterson forgo the easy three-points, he called a tricky play at the goal line. A direct snap went to running back Corey Clement, who tossed it to backup tight end Trey Burton (who played quarterback in college at the University of Florida). Burton then found an uncovered Nick Foles in the end zone for the touchdown. At the half, the Eagles led 22-12.
But as with all leads against Tom Brady, it wasn’t safe. The Patriots responded by taking their first three possessions in the second half and scoring touchdowns to end each of them. Brady found tight end Rob Gronkowski for a 15-yard touchdown early in the third. But the Eagles answered with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Corey Clement and pushed their lead to 29-19.
Super Bowl LII’s Furious Fourth Quarter
Brady orchestrated another 75-yard drive that ended with a 26-yard touchdown to Chris Hogan late in the third quarter. And after a 42-yard field goal by Jake Elliott, the Patriots took their first lead of the game when Brady found Gronk for a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
With all of the momentum having fully swung to New England’s side, Nick Foles and the Eagles navigated a franchise-defining 14-play, 75-yard fourth quarter drive. They converted a fourth-and-1 attempt to keep the drive alive. They regained the Super Bowl lead on an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Ertz.
Down 38-33 with 2:21 remaining and one timeout, the world watched as Brady seemed poised to lead another memorable comeback. But Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham changed the narrative when he forced a Brady fumble with 2:16 left on the clock.
A Jake Elliott field goal pushed the Eagles lead to 41-33, but Brady still had time. After eight plays to get to midfield, Brady heaved a 51-yard Hail Mary toward Gronkowski, only to see the pass tipped away as time expired. Game over.
The Philadelphia Eagles were Super Bowl champions for the first time in franchise history.
Super Bowl Records
The raucous crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was treated to one of the most entertaining Super Bowls of all-time.
Between the two teams, 1,151 total yards were racked up. That’s not only a Super Bowl record, but also a record for any game played in the modern NFL.
Tom Brady’s 505 passing yards also set a new Super Bowl record.
And Nick Foles became the first player in Super Bowl history to both throw and catch a touchdown pass.
The two quarterbacks (three if you count Burton) combined for a Super Bowl-record 874 passing yards.
Some of the other records include:
- Most points scored by a losing team (33)
- Most Super Bowl appearances by a quarterback (Brady-8)
- Most Super Bowl losses by a franchise (5)
- Longest field goal kicked by a rookie in the Super Bowl (Jake Elliott-46 yards).