Black Quarterback: Super Bowl 52 Review
By Brandon Simmons
The Philadelphia Eagles have won the Super Bowl, the first in the franchise’s history, beating the New England Patriots 41-33. It was a much better game than expected, with both sides going blow for blow the entire time.
Nick Foles Played Like a Starter
Much of the questions surrounding the Eagles’ chances of winning focused on whether or not quarterback Nick Foles would play close to, or at the same level, of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Foles basically exceeded those expectations finishing with 373 yards and 3 touchdowns, including the “game winning” touchdown to Eagles tight end Zach Ertz. Although Foles has been serving as a backup all season, but tonight he was locked in. Foles was not afraid to make throws down the field when needed, as opposed to settling for any short yardage routes. He stood in the pocket and launched the ball, even at times when the pocket collapsed. The bottom line is this: Foles stepped up and performed big in one of the biggest moments of his career.
The Eagles Were Far From Scared of the Patriot Way
If one word can be described about the Eagles’ performance, it would be fearless. Philadelphia did not get bright-eyed on football’s biggest stage against the game’s biggest opponent. But going into a game against the Patriots, it will require some guts as well as your entire; the Eagles provided that formula. After the field goal in the first quarter, they started running the ball to open up the Patriots defense a little bit. That would help set up consecutive touchdown passes to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and running back Corey Clements. The reverse pass to Nick Foles is also a play where Philadelphia proved they were in it to win. That play happened on 4th down near the goal line, and helped the Eagles extend their lead to 10 points before halftime. The 2nd half was really where the Eagles almost lost the game as other Patriots opponents have done in the postseason. However, the key to them not falling victim to that “Patriot way” was being able to score with the football and hold long drives. Running backs LaGarette Blount and Jay Ajayi attributed to much of the Eagles’ 164 yards rushing; these yards helped keep Patriots quarterback Tom Brady off the field and slowly wear down this New England defense.
Patriots’ Defense Faulty
The New England Patriots not stopping the run was very crucial to their loss tonight. In the first half, Blount and Ajayi were just terrorizing the Patriots run defense, combining for 100 yards in the first half. New England tightened up a little better in the 2nd half but there were some plays on the ground to keep the ball and clock rolling for the Eagles. The pass defense was just as bad. Some of the zone coverages left holes that Foles took advantage of immediately. It also didn’t help that the Patriots could not get any real pressure on Foles either. There were probably only a handful of times where he felt the heat coming, but it wouldn’t be long before he dumped the ball in a screen play or moved around the pocket to extend the play and find an open spot for a receiver to make a catch.
You Could Almost say the Same for the Eagles Defense
All this talk about Nick Foles and people will forget the Eagles have one of the best defenses coming into the postseason. But that was not so much the case last night. Philadelphia gave up 505 yards passing to Brady, which was a NFL record for a postseason game. As much as people want to talk down on the wide receivers for the Patriots, they were able to get open n a few one-on-one routes. The Eagles defensive line did not look like they were going to bring Brady down, until it mattered. Right before the 2 minute warning, Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham got after Brady and stripped the football from him. That play set up the field goal to push the lead to 8. Ironically, the inability to sack Brady was an eye-raising statement throughout the night; but it eventually it got done at the right time.
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