- The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl when the New England Patriots didn’t get any lucky breaks.
- Their luck was perhaps best exemplified by both teams running nearly identical trick plays – the Eagles converted theirs, while the Patriots did not.
- The NFL world is accustomed to seeing things break right for the Patriots, but on Sunday, it did not happen.
While neither team’s defense played particularly well, the offenses were explosive, with Tom Brady dueling Nick Foles, the most unlikely of heroes.
Both teams even got clever on offense, running nearly identical trick plays that attempted to get their quarterbacks touchdown catches in the second quarter. The difference seemingly summed up the game: the Eagles executed theirs to perfection, while the Patriots’ attempt slipped through their fingers.
The Patriots’ play began with Brady taking the snap, handing it off to James White, who flipped it to Danny Amendola, who then tossed the ball to Brady. Brady would have had the first down with plenty of room to run, but the ball danced just off of his fingertips.
Brady said after the game that he had caught the ball when the Patriots tried it in practice, but just could not finish it during the game. The drop came on third down, setting up 4th-and-5, which the Patriots failed to convert, turning the ball over to the Eagles on downs.
Four possessions later, the Eagles marched down the field to end the second half. On 4th-and-1, Foles faked an audible and moved out of the way of the snap. The snap went directly to Corey Clement, who tossed it to tight Trey Burton, who threw to a wide-open Foles. He did not drop the ball.
In a game decided by eight points (and that margin belies what was a closer game for much of the fourth quarter), these plays both had significant impact on the result.
The NFL world is accustomed to seeing the Patriots get the big breaks. They got the game-sealing interception on the Seattle Seahawks in 2014 when Seattle oddly decided not to run the ball at the goal line. Last year, they earned their historic comeback over the Atlanta Falcons, but everything had to break just right, too – including winning the overtime coin toss.
This year, the Patriots couldn’t muster the magic. Stephen Gostkowski, one of the NFL’s most accurate kickers, missed and extra-point and a field goal. The referees made a questionable ruling on a Clement touchdown catch that seemed to defy what we’ve learned about the catch rule. On a final Hail Mary attempt, the ball got tipped in the end zone, but no Patriots players could come down with it.
And Brady dropped the ball.