MINNEAPOLIS Ė The Philadelphia Eagles won their first ever Super Bowl after they defeated the reigning NFL Champions the New England Patriots 41-33 at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday.
New England, which under the stewardship of coach Bill Belichick and star quarterback Tom Brady, has made a habit of making victorious late surges in the biggest games, looked set to break Eagles hearts again when Brady had the ball in his hands with just over two minutes remaining.
The stage was set for yet another Brady-inspired comeback win, until defensive lineman Brandon Graham broke through the New England offensive line to strip sack number 12, with Philadelphia recovering the fumble.
It was the first time the Eaglesí famed pass rush got to Brady all game.
The Eagles, who came into the game as underdogs to serial Super Bowl winners New England, outgunned Bradyís top-ranked offense, with backup quarterback Nick Foles completing 28 of 43 passes for 373 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Foles, who took over from starting QB Carson Wentz in Week 14 after a season-ending knee injury, also caught a touchdown pass, becoming the first player in Super Bowl history to have both a receiving and a passing touchdown.
The Eagles were hugely impressive on offense, holding their nerve to successfully convert on a series of huge 3rd downs and complete big pass plays into coverage.
Coach Doug Pederson stayed aggressive throughout, and his gambles on 3rd-and-long and especially 4th down repeatedly paid off.
Philadelphia started strong, rushing into a 15-3 lead through touchdowns from Alshon Jeffrey and former Patriots running back LaGarrette Blount.
Brady and New England were moving the ball well, but could not capitalize when in Philadelphia territory, with kicker Stephen Gostkowski guilty of missing a FG and an extra point attempt.
Having played almost error-free, Foles will have been disappointed to go into the half time break only up by 10, especially considering New Englandís history of clutch comebacks.
An extended 30 minute half-time break, during which Justin Timberlake performed for the Super Bowl Half Time show, gave New Englandís coaches an opportunity to make adjustments after the loss of their deep threat Brandin Cooks, who left the game early with a concussion.
The Patriots started the second half strongly Ė Brady threw to his favorite target Rob Gronkowski on 3 consecutive pass plays, before finishing the drive with a 5-yard TD throw to the tight end.
The Eagles and Foles remained unfazed, however, staying aggressive and not letting the occasion or their supposedly more illustrious opponents get the better of them.
A second touchdown catch for Gronkowski in the 4th quarter from Brady gave the Pats the lead for the first time in the game.
But Philadelphia continued to plug away, refusing to deviate from their aggressive game plan, and regained the lead through tight end Zach Ertzís 11-yard touchdown to make the score 39-33.
Brady, who finished the game 28 for 48 for 505 yards and 3 touchdowns, had engineered more unlikely comebacks than this, and Philadelphia fans will have been fearing the worst as the quarterback widely considered to be the greatest of all time retook the field with over 2 minutes and just a touchdown away from tying the game.
Brandon Graham and the Eaglesí star studded pass rush had other ideas and were finally influenced affairs, breaking through New Englandís protection to strip-sack Brady, with Derek Barnett recovering the fumble in what would prove to be the gameís deciding moment.