Key plays go Philadelphia’s way
It was a scene all too familiar for Pittsburgh Steelers fans.
With the Eagles down 33-32 to the Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl LII, tight end Zach Ertz caught a pass from quarterback Nick Foles on the New England 2-yard line.
The Eagles had to survive a video replay because the ball popped into the air as Ertz crossed the goal line to give Philadelpha a 38-33 lead.
“If they would have overturned that, I don’t know what would have happened to the city of Philadelphia,” Ertz said. “But I’m so glad they didn’t overturn it.”
The touchdown stood — and so did thousands of green-clad Eagles fans who weren’t going to mind the frigid conditions outside U.S. Bank Stadium once they headed out to celebrate. But not before a rousing rendition of “Fly Eagles Fly” reverberated throughout the stands once the trophy was presented to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie. Later, fans danced along with the “Gonna Fly Now,” the theme from “Rocky,” the city’s best-known fictional underdog.
Another review came on Foles’ perfect pass to Clement over double coverage. The rookie’s reception was upheld by review, and the Eagles were back on top by 10.
The play of the game came in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
The stage was set for another dramatic Super Bowl comeback for Tom Brady and the Patriots.
That’s when Brandon Graham delivered one of the few defensive highlights in the most prolific offensive game in NFL history, ripping the ball out of Brady’s hands for a fumble that gave the Eagles their first Super Bowl title in franchise history with a 41-33 victory on Sunday night.
Rookie Derek Barnett recovered the loose ball and Eagles fans began celebrating their first title since winning the 1960 NFL championship in what proved to be a surprise ending.
Brady had made the late-game comeback a specialty in winning a record five Super Bowl titles, including last year’s rally from 28-3 down to beat Atlanta in overtime. He also led late game-winning scoring drives to beat the Rams, Carolina and Seattle.
The Eagles showed no sign of slowing Brady down on Sunday as he threw for a playoff-record 505 yards and three touchdowns, carving up the defense at will on a night when the Patriots did not punt once or turn it over until Brady’s late fumble with New England on its 33 with just more than two minutes remaining and poised for a comeback.
That’s when Graham beat Shaq Mason off the line and reached his left hand out for Brady just before he was set to throw. Graham knocked the ball loose and Barnett landed on it in what will go down as one of the most memorable plays in Philadelphia history.
“We said we needed a play,” Graham said. “If we got one more opportunity, we’re going to give everything we’ve got and I just so happened to get there.”
The fumble set up a field goal that gave the Eagles an eight-point lead and then the game ended when Brady’s desperation heave for Gronkowski in the end zone fell to the turf, sending green and white confetti to the field, emotional Eagles pouring out on the field and Brady on the ground in frustration.