Foles completes fairytale as Eagles stun Patriots in thriller
Nick Foles completed one of the NFL's great fairytale stories as he led the Philadelphia Eagles to their first Super Bowl title with a pulsating 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.
Foles, thrust into the Eagles' starting quarterback role when starter Carson Wentz tore his anterior cruciate ligament in December, has defied observers with his play in the postseason and, on the biggest stage of his rollercoaster career delivered another incredible performance to deny the Patriots and Tom Brady a sixth Super Bowl title, which would have been an individual NFL record for the legendary New England signal-caller.
Despite Brady throwing for a record-breaking 505 yards and three touchdowns, Foles, who also made Super Bowl history by catching a scoring pass from Trey Burton, tossed his third touchdown to tight end Zach Ertz with two minutes, 21 seconds remaining to put Philadelphia up for good.
After his incredible efforts in bringing the Patriots back from a 28-3 deficit in Super Bowl LI, 141 seconds seemed like more than enough time for Brady to produce the kind of late twist that has become almost routine in his storied career.
But in a game that produced a Super Bowl record 1,151 yards of offense, Brandon Graham stripped Brady of the ball on the only sack of the contest, producing a turnover that allowed the Eagles to kill some of the clock and set up a Jake Elliott field goal to make it an eight-point lead.
Brady still had one more drive to try to force overtime, but in scenes eerily similar to his second Super Bowl defeat to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, a last-ditch Hail Mary throw to Rob Gronkowski came up short as the Eagles finally ended their long wait, winning a first NFL title since 1960 in utterly remarkable circumstances.
The Eagles' offense opened with a drive that led to an Elliott field goal, the Patriots joining them in setting the tone for a shootout by answering with a three-pointer of their own.
But the pendulum swung firmly in the Eagles' favour when a 36-yard run by former Patriot LeGarrette Blount was followed by an excellent play-action throw from Foles to Alshon Jeffery for a 34-yard score, though Elliot missed the extra point, with Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski then hitting the upright with a field goal attempt following a bobble by the holder.
And, after the Patriots turned the ball over on downs following a series on which they attempted a throw to Brady, Blount gashed his former team for a 21-yard rushing touchdown, New England finding themselves in a 12-point hole as the Eagles failed with a two-point conversion attempt.
But the Patriots responded with a field goal and their cornerback Duron Harmon intercepted a Foles pass juggled by Jeffery, enabling Brady to lead them down the field on a drive capped by a 26-yard James White touchdown run - the extra point missed by Gostkowski.
Foles, though, ended the half by becoming the first quarterback to catch a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl as an audacious fourth-down trick-play call in the red zone paid dividends.
Eagles fans may have been fearing the worst when Brady hit Gronkowski four times on the opening drive of the second half, which finished with a five-yard scoring pass, but the Eagles reply was again emphatic, Foles making an incredible throw to Corey Clement in the back of the endzone, though replays suggested the running back may have bobbled the ball as he went out of bounds.
Refusing to let Philadelphia run away with it, Brady connected with Chris Hogan for a 26-yard touchdown and, after the Eagles settled for a field goal on their next drive, the outcome looked inevitable as the 40-year-old quarterback hooked up with Gronkowski for a second time to give New England their first lead.
Yet Foles had one last answer, completing a fourth-down pass to Ertz to keep the drive alive before hitting him in stride on third down to restore their advantage.
And that effort was finally backed up by Philadelphia's much-vaunted defense as Graham produced the pivotal turnover, as Brady - despite breaking his own Super Bowl record for yardage - was denied an historic sixth ring.