By Ron Griffitts
On February 4, 2018 the defending champion New England Patriots (15-3) met the Philadelphia Eagles (15-3) in Super Bowl LII at U. S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Patriots were coached by Bill Belichick whose offensive coordinator was Josh McDaniels while the Eagles’ head coach was Doug Pederson who had as his offensive coordinator Frank Reich.
New England was led by quarterback Tom Brady who passed for 4577 yards with 32 touchdowns and had a passer rating of 102.8. They were led in rushing by Dion Lewis (896 yards, 6 TD’s) and in receiving by Brandin Cooks (1082 yards, 7 TD’s), Rob Gronkowski ((1084 yards, 8 TD’s) and Danny Amendola (659 yards, 2 TD’s).
The defense was led by Devin McCourty with 80 tackles and Patrick Chung with 71 while Trey Flowers had 6.5 sacks, Kyle Van Noy had 5.5 and Deatrich Wise, Jr. had 5. Duron Harmon led in interceptions with 4. Their kicker was Stephen Gostkowski who converted on 37 of 40 field goal attempts.
The Eagles were led by quarterbacks, Carson Wentz who passed for 3296 yards and 33 touchdowns in the teams’ first thirteen games and Nick Foles who had 537 yards and 5 touchdowns in the last three games of the regular season and was the starter in the playoffs, including the Super Bowl.
They were led in rushing by LeGarrette Blount (766 yards, 2 TD’s) and Jay Ajayi (408 yards, 1 TD) and in receiving by Nelson Agholor (768 yards, 6 TD’s), Zach Ertz (824 yards, 8 TD’s) and Alshon Jeffery (789 yards, 9 TD’s).
The defense was led by Malcolm Jenkins with 63 tackles and Nigel Bradham with 61, and in sacks by Brandon Graham with 9.5 and Chris Long with 5 while Patrick Robinson had 4 interceptions.
The Eagles’ kicker was Jake Elliott who made 26 out of 31 field goals attempted.
Jake Elliott got the Eagles on the board first with a 25-yard field goal and Stephen Gostkowski answered with a 26-yarder to tie the score at 3-3 until Nick Foles found Alshon Jeffery for a 34-yard touchdown pass play, set up by a 36-yard LeGarrette Blount run.
But Jake Elliott missed the extra point and the score after the first quarter was 9-3 in favor of Philadelphia.
The Eagles got another touchdown in the second quarter on LeGarrette Blount’s 21-yard touchdown run which was set up by a 22-yard completion from Foles to Alshon Jeffery and again they had to settle for six points as the two-point conversion was not successful but the Eagles led 15-3.
Stephen Gostkowski kicked another field goal, this time from the 45-yard line to get the score to 15-6 before Chris Hogan scored from 26-yards out to bring the score to 15-12 as Gostkowski missed the extra point.
With 1:45 left in the half, Foles completed a 55-yard pass to Corey Clement to bring the ball to the eight-yard line of New England and four plays later the Eagles scored on an one-yard flea flicker from Trey Burton to Nick Foles in the end zone. The extra point was good and Philadelphia went into halftime with a 22-12 lead.
New England opened the second half with a drive down the field for a score on a five-yard pass from Brady to Rob Gronkowski, the extra point was good and the score tightened to 22-19.
But Nick Foles and the Eagles answered with a touchdown of their own on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Foles to Corey Clement, the extra point was good and the score was 29-19 favoring the Eagles.
Brady however threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hogan, the extra point was good and the teams go into the fourth quarter with a 29-26 Eagles’ advantage.
The first score of the fourth quarter was a 42-yard field goal by Jake Elliott to make score 32-26 but Tom Brady led his team downfield and scored on a four-yard pass to Gronkowski, the extra point was good and the Patriots had their first lead of the game, 33-32.
But in contrast to the previous year when Atlanta had a big lead and the Patriots mounted a comeback to win the game, Philadelphia continually answered the Patriots with a score of their own. At the 2:25 mark in the fourth quarter, Foles completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz and even though the two point conversion failed, those six points provided the winning margin.
Jake Elliott kicked a 46-yard field goal with 1:10 left in the game to conclude the scoring as the Eagles win Super Bowl LII 41-33.
Nick Foles who passed for 373 yards on 28 of 43 passing for three touchdowns as well as catching one himself, got the game MVP award.
The Eagles have not been back to the Super Bowl but the Patriots returned for their third in a row the following season.
Statistics for this article were from pro-football-reference.com