The New England Patriots were unable to stop the Eagles from winning their first NFL Super Bowl in franchise history as Philadelphia survived to win 41-33 in Minneapolis on Sunday.
Super Bowl LII was filled with excitement and scoring. Iconic Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Nick Foles traded touchdown passes most of the second half, as both teams lit up the scoreboard.
But it was ultimately an Eagles defensive play that cost the Patriots another title.
Here are three reasons why the Patriots lost:
NON-EXISTENT DEFENSE IN CRUCIAL MOMENTS
The Patriots allowed 538 total yards of offense. Foles threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns (his interception was mostly a fluke due to Alshon Jeffery trying to make a circus catch), and LeGarrette Blount added 90 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries against his former team.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick opted to bench Malcolm Butler in this game due to a "coach's decision" but New England looked like it could have used him out on the field. Philadelphia consistently picked up chunk yardage and the Patriots got lost in coverage, allowing uncharacteristic touchdowns.
THE OFFENSIVE LINE STRUGGLED TO PROTECT BRADY
Yes, Brady threw for 505 yards and three touchdowns, nearly setting a Super Bowl record, but the QB was hit repeatedly, especially in the first half when he looked like a training dummy in a car safety commercial.
Brady was only sacked once, but it was one of the most costly plays of the game. Brady did not look quite as comfortable in the pocket as usual, but he was not given the time to make accurate throws when the game was on the wire.
PATRIOTS LACKED OFFENSIVE BALANCE
When Brady is hot it is hard to go away from him, but New England needed to kill some clock in the second half and were unable to do so. New England's drives were short and effective, but their inability to control the game clock hurt in the fourth quarter.
James White led the Patriots' ground game with 45 yards and a touchdown, while starter Dion Lewis rushed for just 39 yards on nine carries. Brady and Rob Gronkowski tied Joe Montana and Jerry Rice for the most in NFL postseason touchdowns (12) in history. Still, the Patriots needed more out of their rushing attack.