This past Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles came into Super Bowl 52 as underdogs, but left U.S. Bank Stadium as top dogs, outplaying the reigning New England Patriots with a 41-33 victory and earning the team its first Super Bowl title in franchise history.
Many fans consider last year’s Super Bowl to be the greatest football game ever played when the Patriots overcame a 25-point deficit in the fourth quarter to raise the Lombardi Trophy for the fifth time. Expectations for this year’s game were not high because the Patriots were the clear favorites. However, the game didn’t disappoint as the young and inexperienced Eagles proved that they were a force to be reckoned with.
Both teams entered the game ready for a toe-to-toe battle, as both managed to put three points on the board in their opening drives. Philadelphia’s fast-paced offense and strong defense gave them a 15-3 lead early in the second quarter. Eagles quarterback Nike Foles looked to extend the team’s lead, but instead threw his only interception at the Patriots two-yard line when, wide-receiver Alshon Jeffrey juggled and then batted the ball in the air for a turnover.
New England quickly made Philadelphia pay for its turnover. Running-back James White took a hand-off up the middle 26-yards for a score to cap a 90-yard drive. Moments before half-time, fans got to see a unforgettable play when Foles caught a touchdown pass on a trick play, making him the only player to throw and catch a touchdown in Super Bowl history.
After half-time, the Eagles continued to dominate the game before the Patriots took their first lead, 33-32, with 9:22 left in the fourth quarter. It was short-lived; the Eagles marched down the field to recapture the lead, by throwing an 11-yard touchdown with 2:21 left on the clock and Quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots looked confident in their ability to drive down the clock. The NFL’s best defensive team was determined to get the ball when Philadelphia’s Brandon Graham strip-sacked Brady, and rookie Derrick Barnett recovered the fumble, putting an end to the game and New England’s hope of another historic comeback victory. Both teams helped set an NFL record of most combined total yards in postseason history with 1,151 total yards.
The underlying theme for the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles was perseverance. This, and the past several seasons, the team has hit multiple bumps in the road, but they seemed to keep improving, despite the odds. The best example of this is the reigning Super Bowl MVP Foles who went from being the Eagles’ starting quarterback in 2013 and 2014 to being traded, then becoming a journeyman and backup before an injury in week 14, which gave him the opportunity to show the world what he can do on the biggest stage of them all.