KELSO WINS 200 UNITS ON SUPER BOWL LII
KELSO WINS 200 UNITS ON SUPER BOWL LII
PHILADELPHIA (+4.5) 41, NEW ENGLAND 33 - Nobody had this as the script for SB 52 ... you're gonna tell us now that Patriots' QB Tom Brady would throw for 505 yards with 3 TDs and 0 INTs and that New England wouldn't punt the ball all game long and still it wasn't enough for Pats Nation to snag Super Bowl Championship #6?
The fact of the matter is the always-brilliant Brady had it right in the post-game presser - that this was a game that New England never had "control of" and you simply never got the sense that a Patriots defense that strangely played every down without top-flight CB Malcolm Butler (see Super Bowl 48 hero) could make a key stop at crunch time.
In the end, the Eagles - down for the first time all game long at 33-32 in the fourth quarter - marched 75 yards in the waning moments with QB Nick Foles (28-of-43 for 373 yards with 3 TDs and 1 INT en route to being named Super Bowl MVP) tossing an 11-yard scoring strike to TE Zach Ertz with 2:21 remaining in the game and then Philadelphia somehow held off Brady and Company at the very end (remember the Pats had it fourth-and-10 at their own 9-yard line with no timeouts left and still had a shot to tie the game late).
The Patriots' bend-but-don't-break defense snapped like a twig as Foles was an absolute assassin - man, was this dude cool under some heat! - and consider the spread-the-wealth mentality as five different Eagles accounted for between 49 and 100 receiving yards per man with RB Corey Clement (4 catches for 100 yards and one TD) a true wild-card player who no one (including us) mentioned in the lead-up to this Super Bowl.
Toss into the mix the fact RBs LeGarrette Blount (14 carries for 90 yards and 1 TD) and Jay Ajayi (9 carries for 57 yards) sliced-and-diced the New England defense for nearly 6.4 yards a carry behind a dominant O-line and you can see that New England head coach Bill Belichick / defensive coordinator Matt Patricia really failed at their game planning here and must take a major hit for the rotten execution ... and, again the decision to bench Butler will haunt Belichick for a long time no matter his logic.
Now, consider how fortunate the Eagles were as the defense that manhandled both the Falcons and Vikings in recent playoff games (allowed a grand total of 17 points in those home upset wins) surrendered those 505 passing yards by Brady and why were so many New England pass-catchers so wide open for much of this game with TE Rob Gronkowski (9 catches for 116 yards), WR Chris Hogan (9 grabs for 128 yards) and WR Danny Amendola (8 receptions worth 152 yards) merely shredding an Eagles' secondary that blew a batch of assignments and didn't tackle particularly well either while yielding a batch of chunk plays. Hey, if LB Brandon Graham doesn't strip-sack Brady inside the game's two-plus minutes (recovered by rookie DE Derek Barnett) then who knows what would have happened as the proverbial bottom line is Philly played its worst defensive game of the season and somehow survived it while forcing that one single/solitary lost fumble by Brady.
Decisions? Well, the late first-half move by Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson to go for it on fourth down - and then confound the Pats' defense with a trick reverse pass play where WR/TE Tom Burton aired a short scoring strike to a wide-open Foles - turned out to be the "play of the game" but we thought it was a suicide move at first considering Pederson was forgoing a sure field goal.
Maybe Belichick's "decision" to sit Butler cost his club a sixth title - and count us among the folks that believe Belichick's decision not to blitz Foles more backfired too. The Patriots needed to make some negative plays for Foles and that Philly offense.
Instead, it was an empty trip to Minnesota for these win-it-all-or-bust Patriots. Nope, the champ has changed addresses and it now resides in Philadelphia. Heck, the last time you could say that about the Eagles was nearly six decades ago. No wonder those Philly fans are still going wacko - so put away those "Duck Boats" in Boston! Fly Eagles fly.