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Fans celebrate after the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl LII, in Philadelphia. Peter FItzpatrick
Fans celebrate after the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl LII, in Philadelphia. Peter FItzpatrick

Philadelphia wins its first Super Bowl

[node:field_slideshow]In an epic game the Eagles upset the Patriots to offer their city the most precious trophy in American sports

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The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots 41-33 in the most prolific offensive game in the history of the NFL. Despite being underdogs yet again, Doug Pederson’s troops won against the defending Super Bowl champions and claimed the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time in a Super Bowl that will be remembered as the most exciting ever.

The key to the Eagles victory was once again the ability to keep believing in their chances, no matter how difficult the barriers they had to overcome.

Last night Tom Brady, the best quarterback who has ever played the game, passed for 505 yards and three touchdowns, rewriting once again the NFL’s postseason record books, but Nick Foles was up to the occasion in a gunslingers duel. In fact, the 1,151 combined total yards gained by both squads –yes, one thousand, one hundred and fifty-one!- were the most ever in an NFL game, including postseason and regular season. The man who started as the Eagles backup not only threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns, but also caught a scoring pass in a play that defines Pederson’s genius. With fourth down and goal at the one yard-line, very close to the end of the first half, Philadelphia’s head coach not only decided to go for it, but send his quarterback into the action. Running back Corey Clement received the snap directly and threw it back to tight end Trey Burton, who then passed it to Foles who was alone at the end zone. With this play the Eagles quarterback, who was voted Most Valuable Player at the end of the contest, became the first signal caller to catch a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl. The play allowed Philadelphia to be up by 10 (22-12) at the end of the second quarter.

But it is not easy to finish off Brady. The veteran quarterback took the field in the second half eager to engineer his third Super Bowl comeback in four years. He immediately connected with tight end Rob Gronkowski, who had had only one reception in the first half. After halftime, Gronk caught eight balls for 107 yards and two scores. However, the Eagles offense kept the team in the game, reaching the last quarter three points ahead, 29-26.

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With less than 10 minutes left in the game, Brady threw his third touchdown pass of the night and the succeeding extra point by Stephen Gostkowski gave the Patriots their first lead of the game, going up 33-32. However, Philadelphia did not stop believing. Foles orchestrated a long drive that converted a fourth down on the way to reach New England’s 11 yard-line. He found Zach Ertz for a touchdown that put the Eagles back ahead. After missing the two-point attempt, Philadelphia had a five-point lead (38-33).

Uncertainty was floating in the air. Brady had the ball at his 25 yard-line with one time out left and more than two minutes to play. An eternity for the veteran passer! But the Eagles defense, humiliated during most of the game, kept believing. Defensive lineman Brandon Graham got to the quarterback, sacked him and forced a fumble that was recovered by Derek Barnett. Four plays later Jake Elliott nailed a 46-yard field goal to set a Super Bowl record for a rookie and increase Philadelphia’s lead to eight points.

Brady did not stop fighting. He took the ball to midfield and tried a last desperate pass to the end zone, looking to tie the contest. But the Eagles secondary was ready and the pass fell to the ground, incomplete, while Minnesota’s U.S. Bank Stadium scoreboard went down to zero. Players on the Philadelphia’s sideline jumped euphorically, and Pederson received a quick Gatorade shower. A few rubbed their eyes as if they couldn’t believe what was happening: The team that had kept believing since the start of the regular season had won the Super Bowl for the first time.

 

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