NFL – SUPER BOWL
Philadelphia 41 New England 33
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Foles, Eagles outshoot Patriots for 1st Super Bowl, 41-33
As their delirious fans sang their theme song and their owner lifted the Lombardi Trophy, the Philadelphia Eagles finally could breathe freely.
Yo, Philly, you really did beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in a thrilling Super Bowl that rewrote the offensive record book.
Nick Foles guided the drive of a lifetime, Zach Ertz made a bobbling touchdown catch that had to survive replay review, and an exhausted defense came up with two stands in the final moments Sunday for a 41-33 victory. For the first time since 1960, the Eagles are NFL champions.
“Fly Eagles Fly,” indeed.
“We’ve played this game since we were little kids, we dreamed about this moment,” game MVP Foles said. “There’s plenty of kids watching this game right now dreaming about this moment and someday will be here.”
In a record-setting shootout between backup QB Foles and five-time champ Brady of the favored Patriots, Foles led a pressure-packed 75-yard drive to the winning touchdown, 11 yards to Ertz with 2:21 to go .
Then Brandon Graham strip-sacked Brady and Derek Barnett recovered, setting up rookie Jake Elliot’s 46-yard field goal for an 8-point lead.
Brady got his team to midfield, but his desperation pass fell to the ground in the end zone.
“For us, it was all about one stop we had to make. We went out here and made that one stop,” Graham said.
The underdog Eagles (16-3), even injured starting quarterback Carson Wentz, came bolting off the sideline in ecstasy while Brady sat on the ground, disconsolate.
It was the first Super Bowl title for Philadelphia (16-3), which went from 7-9 last season.
“If there’s a word (it’s) called everything,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said. “That’s what it means to Eagles fans everywhere. And for Eagles fans everywhere, this is for them.”
Super Bowl MVP Foles orchestrated the victory with the kind of drive NFL MVP Brady, a five-time champion, is known for. The drive covered 14 plays, including a fourth-down conversion.
“I felt calm. I mean, we have such a great group of guys, such a great coaching staff,” Foles said. “We felt confident coming in, and we just went out there and played football.”
The Eagles had to survive a video replay because ball popped into the air as Ertz crossed the goal line.
“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 US 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 Lurie. Later, fans danced along with the “Gonna Fly Now,” the theme from “Rocky,” the city’s best-known fictional underdog.
The Patriots (15-4) seemed ready to take their sixth championship with Brady and coach Bill Belichick in eight Super Bowls. Brady threw for a postseason record 505 yards and three TDs, hitting Rob Gronkowski for 4 yards before Stephen Gostkowski’s extra point gave New England its first lead, 33-32.
Then Foles made Eagles fans forget Wentz – at least for now – with the gutsiest drive of his life.
“We couldn’t make a play to give the ball back to the offense,” Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore said.
Foles has been something of a journeyman in his six pro seasons, but he has been spectacular in four career playoff games. He finished 28 of 43 for 373 yards and three TDs.
The combined 1,151 yards were the most in any modern NFL game. The 40-year-old Brady finished 28 of 48 and picked apart the Eagles until the final two series.
Brady indicated he will return for a 19th season even as Gronkowski was hedging on his future.
“I mean it’s 15 minutes after the game ended, so I’d like to process this a little bit,” Brady said. “I wouldn’t see why I wouldn’t be back.”
Gronkowski, who has played eight superb but injury-riddled years, said “I am definitely going to look at my future.”
It was such a wild game that Foles caught a touchdown pass , and Brady was on the opposite end of a Danny Amendola throw that went off his fingertips.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson brought home the championship in his second year in charge. Belichick is 5-3 in Super Bowls, most of them decided by less than a touchdown.
So this one was in keeping with that trend: breathtaking and even a bit bizarre.
Brady and the Patriots looked ready for another comeback by opening the second half with a 75-yard touchdown drive. Gronkowski was unstoppable, grabbing four passes for 69 yards, including the 5-yard score.
Philly didn’t flinch, answering with a precise 75-yard march with three more third-down conversions. The Eagles finished 10 for 16 on third. The last was a perfect pass by Foles to Corey Clement over double coverage, and the rookie’s reception was upheld by review, putting the Eagles up 10.
Brady shrugged and, getting steadfast protection, connected with Chris Hogan from the 26 for another touchdown.
When all the Eagles could manage was Jake Elliott’s 42-yarder for a 32-26 lead, it seemed inevitable the Patriots would go in front, then become the first repeat Super Bowl winner since they did it in the 2004 and `05 games.
Foles, Ertz, and – at last – a revitalized defense said otherwise.
The weird image of Brady ambling downfield on a pass pattern came three plays after New England lost receiver Brandin Cooks to a concussion on a vicious but clean hit by Malcolm Jenkins in the second quarter. Amendola’s pass required an over-the-shoulder grab and the ball fell off Brady’s outstretched hands.
Brady got back to passing after a wild interception. Alshon Jeffery nearly made a spectacular catch near the Patriots’ goal line, only to juggle the ball into the air. Duron Harmon picked it off at the 10. Moments later, Brady was connecting with Chris Hogan for 42 yards.
James White broke several tackles with a brilliant 26-yard run and it was 15-12. That gave White seven touchdowns in his past three postseason games, including the overtime winner in last year’s Super Bowl.
But the Eagles still had 2:04 left in the half – and some more magic in their bag.
A short third-down throw Clement turned into a 55-yard gain to the Patriots 8. Philly got to the 1 and on fourth down, and it was Foles’ turn to morph into a receiver.
He did better than Brady. On fourth down, Clement took a direct snap, pitched to tight end Trey Burton, and the former Florida QB hit an uncovered Foles. The Eagles were up 22-12 at halftime, the most points New England has allowed in the opening half of a Super Bowl under Belichick.
Each kicker had issues, with Elliott missing an extra point, his fifth miss this season. Then Gostkowski hit the left upright with a 26-yard field goal after holder Ryan Allen mishandled the snap. Gostkowski also missed an extra point.
When LeGarrette Blount, who won the title last season with the Patriots, scored on a 21-yard burst, Pederson went for 2, but the pass failed, making it 15-3.
The Eagles and Pederson brushed it off and stayed with their usual aggressive approach. Breathtakingly, it eventually paid off.
Nick Foles a Super Bowl MVP and unlikely folk hero in Philly
Cast aside once in Philadelphia, Nick Foles delivered the city its first Super Bowl title.
He outdueled the great Tom Brady to do it.
“Being a part of this and being drafted to Philadelphia, and being fortunate enough to come back and be a part of this team, to be a piece of this puzzle, I mean, it’s been a long time coming and I know there’s going to be a lot of celebrating tonight,” Foles said.
Foles, who took over when Carson Wentz injured his right knee in mid-December, matched Brady, the five-time champion and three-time MVP, big play for big play Sunday in leading the Eagles past the New England Patriots 41-33 .
After an unusually slow start, Brady led the favored Patriots to scores on five of six possessions, and Foles kept right on coming, executing coach Doug Pederson’s aggressive calls.
“I wasn’t worrying about the scoreboard, I wasn’t worrying about the time, I was just playing ball,” Foles said. “I think sometimes you start worrying about that too much, it starts creeping in your brain. I was just playing, whatever play Doug called, I was just going to go out there and rip it.”
After watching Brady put the Patriots ahead 33-32 with 9:22 left, Foles drove the Eagles 75 yards in 14 plays, hitting tight end Zach Ertz from 11 yards on third-and-7 for the go-ahead TD with 2:21 left.
That drive lasted a tick more than seven minutes and kept Brady cooling his cleats on the sideline while allowing the Eagles’ exhausted defenders to catch their collective breath in a game that featured 1,151 total yards, the most in any NFL game in the Super Bowl era.
That meant the world when Brady got the ball back and Brandon Graham swept in and jarred the ball loose for the game’s lone sack. Derek Barnett smothered it at the 31 with just over two minutes remaining, and Jake Elliott’s 46-yard field goal, the longest in a Super Bowl by a rookie, made it an eight-point cushion.
It also gave Brady just a minute to work his magic.
He started at his 9 with 58 seconds remaining and drove the Patriots to midfield before time ran out on New England as a desperation pass fell in the end zone.
Foles searched out Brady, but never did find him in all the chaos and confetti.
“I didn’t get to see Tom. I was looking for Tom. It got pretty crazy really fast,” Foles said. “I mean, he’s one of the greatest of all time. He’s been unbelievable. He was unbelievable tonight. I can’t say enough about him.”
Brady threw for more yards – a playoff career-high 505 to Foles’ 373 – but Foles matched Brady’s three touchdown tosses and even caught another .
He hauled in tight end Trey Burton’s toss from the 1 that gave Philadelphia a 22-12 halftime edge and made him the first player in Super Bowl history to be on both ends of a touchdown pass in the same game.
Brady nearly beat him to it.
Although wide open, the ambling Brady couldn’t quite haul in receiver Danny Amendola’s high pass for what would have been a nifty over-the-shoulder reception which might have gone all 35 yards for the score.
That brought to mind Gisele Bundchen’s famous dig after one of Brady’s two losses to Eli Manning and the Giants in the Super Bowl, when his supermodel wife responded to hecklers by complaining about the Patriots’ many dropped passes that day.
“You’ve to catch the ball when you’re supposed to catch the ball,” she fumed. “My husband cannot … throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time.”
Nor could he haul in Amendola’s throw early in the second quarter with New England trailing 9-3.
Foles had never caught a pass in the NFL before his TD grab.
His only interception was a fluke, but it did help Brady and the Patriots staunch an early stumble to stay in it until the very end.
Foles was 28 of 43 and wasn’t sacked. Brady was 28 of 48, and while he didn’t throw any interceptions, his only sack was a doozy.
A third-round pick by former Eagles coach Andy Reid in 2012, Foles had tremendous success as a starter under Chip Kelly his sophomore season. He threw 29 TDs and two picks in 11 starts, including playoffs in 2013. Foles posted a passer rating of 119.2, third-highest in league history. He tied an NFL record with seven TD passes in a game at Oakland in November 2013 and won an offensive MVP award at a Pro Bowl.
But Foles was traded to St. Louis for Sam Bradford in March 2015. He lost his starting job to Case Keenum and asked for his release after Jared Goff was drafted No. 1 overall when the Rams relocated to Los Angeles. Foles even considered hanging up his cleats before Reid persuaded him to go to Kansas City to be Alex Smith’s backup.
“As people we deal with struggles and that was a moment in my life where I thought about it, I prayed about it,” Foles said of quitting. “And I’m grateful that I made a decision to come back and play.”
So is Philadelphia, where Foles returned after one season with the Chiefs, signing a two-year, $12 million deal to provide insurance behind Wentz.
Now he’s a folk hero for a franchise that had gone 0 for 2 in Super Bowls, and for a legion of fans who were rooting for anybody other than the Patriots.
“Just to be in this moment,” Foles said, shaking his head. “Unbelievable.”
Colts: Linebacker Edwin Jackson among 2 killed on highway
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson was one of two men killed early Sunday when a suspected drunken driver struck them as they stood outside their car along a highway in Indianapolis, the team and police said.
The Colts said in a statement Sunday that the team is “heartbroken” by Jackson’s death and that the 26-year-old “was loved by all in the Colts organization.”
State police identified the victims as Jackson, who grew up in Atlanta, and 54-year-old Jeffrey Monroe, of Avon, Indiana. Police say they were killed when a suspected drunken driver struck them as they stood outside their car along Interstate 70 on Indianapolis’ west side.
Police said that it’s believed that Monroe was a ride-sharing operator who was transporting Jackson when Jackson became ill. Monroe pulled over to the side of the highway and got out to help Jackson when both were struck by a pickup truck that also hit Monroe’s car, police said.
The pickup’s driver, a 37-year-old Indianapolis man, tried to flee on foot but was quickly captured, State Police said. The man was believed to be intoxicated and was driving without a license, police said.
He was taken to the Marion County Jail, where blood-alcohol test results were pending.
The 6-foot, 234-pound Jackson attended Georgia Southern. He was signed by the Arizona Cardinals in May 2015 and released by the team about three months later. Jackson was signed to the Colts practice squad in December 2015 and then by the Colts to reserve/future contract in January 2016.
He was placed on injured reserve by the Colts last September.
The Colts said in their statement that they “admired” Jackson’s “outgoing personality, competitive spirit and hard-working mentality.”
“He was well-respected among all with whom he crossed paths, and he will be greatly missed in our locker room and throughout our entire organization,” the statement said.
AP source: Struggling Cavaliers don’t plan to fire coach Lue
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue has a long list of immediate concerns.
Keeping his job isn’t currently one of them.
Despite Cleveland’s recent slide and his team’s lack of cohesion, the Cavaliers have no immediate plans to replace Lue, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Sunday.
The status of Lue, who led the team to an NBA title in 2016 and three straight Finals appearances, came into question following Saturday night’s 32-point home loss to Houston, the latest blowout suffered by a team in disarray. However, Lue’s job isn’t in danger because of the need for “keeping continuity” at this challenging time, given Cleveland’s roster overhaul and injuries, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because of the sensitive nature of the situation.
ESPN first reported that Lue’s job wasn’t in jeopardy.
Cleveland has lost 12 of 18 and LeBron James and his teammates have been beaten by at least 24 points in four games during the span. They were booed by fans in Quicken Loans Arena almost from the start of the performance against Houston, and following the game, Lue and several of his players challenged the team’s level of effort and trust.
“We didn’t have no fight,” Lue said.
James said: “I’m at a loss for words.”
Isaiah Thomas said the struggled is internal.
“We’re not together on both ends,” he said. “There’s a lot of one-on-one on the offense end, maybe because we don’t trust each other. And then on the defensive end, it’s the same thing. Guys are put on islands and there’s no trust. I mean, if you don’t trust something . I don’t know.”
A search for answers has yielded no solutions during this prolonged slump, and Cleveland has looked overmatched against the league’s elite teams.
The Cavaliers have lost eight consecutive games on national TV, prompting James to half-heartedly joke the team should be dropped from future network appearances.
Lue, who took over the Cavs midway through the 2016 championship season when David Blatt was fired, has been criticized for an unwillingness to change his lineups. But he’s had to juggle minutes because of injuries and the Cavaliers’ makeup was altered radically when Thomas returned from a hip injury that knocked him out last year’s playoffs with Boston.
The Cavs haven’t been the same since Thomas came aboard, and the former All-Star has struggled trying to find his rhythm and shot. It has created a trickle-down effect through Cleveland’s lineup, weakened an already feeble defensive team, and raised tensions in the locker room.
And as if Lue didn’t have enough problems, the Cavaliers lost All-Star forward Kevin Love this week with a broken hand. Love could be sidelined two months, and there’s no telling what the team will look like when he returns.
The trading deadline is Thursday, and the Cavs have been engaged with several teams about potential deals. At this point, there may not be anything they can do make them title contenders this year.
Although Cleveland owns two first-round picks to swap, the team’s front office must decide whether it’s worth investing in this core group or begin rebuilding for the future while not knowing if James will leave this summer for a second time in free agency.
As for the present, James has not been himself on the court. He’s going through a puzzling slump, and after scoring just 11 points and taking only 10 shots on Saturday, his night ended with him whipping the ball in disgust toward one hoop as the third quarter horn sounded.
In a weirdly quiet locker room, James expressed frustration and confusion, then deflected questions about whether he senses any moves.
“I’m not the GM and I don’t make those calls so I can’t control that,” he said. “What I can control is how I show up to work every day and try to put my hard hat on and go out and play. That’s what I can control.”
There’s no doubt James, who has played in seven straight Finals, would like to see the Cavs re-load for another title chase. But without any assurance that the three-time champion will be staying beyond this season, Cleveland’s front office is hesitant to make a major deal.
Lue’s focus is on the here and now.
“Only way you can get to April, May and June is fixing it right now,” he said. “We have to play better. We understand that. I have to be better. So we all have to look in the mirror and be better.”
Horford hits at buzzer, Celtics top Trail Blazers 97-96
Al Horford captured the attention of Boston sports fans even on Super Bowl Sunday.
Horford made a 15-foot fadeaway jumper at the buzzer and the Celtics finished off the Portland Trail Blazers 97-96 Sunday, giving New England fans a few hours to get home before the Patriots played for the NFL championship.
“Wanted to end the game so we could go watch the Super Bowl,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.
Stevens spoke while wearing a Patriots hat. He was joined by Eagles fan and Celtics player Marcus Morris, who sported an Eagles jersey.
“I called game when Al hit the turnaround, just so you know,” Morris said.
Stevens smiled, adding: “Al feels a lot like Tom Brady today, right?”
Several jerseys for Brady and fellow Patriots star Rob Gronkowski were in the crowd at TD Garden. An Eagles fan shown on the Jumbotron repeatedly got booed.
Horford wound up with 22 points and 10 rebounds, helping Boston win its fourth in a row.
“He (Stevens) had called a play for Jaylen (Brown) but they were ready for it so he kept yelling keep the ball, keep the ball,” Horford said. “It’s a shot I work on a lot and it felt good when it left my hands.”
Horford hit a game-winning shot with 3.7 seconds left against Houston earlier this season and also hit a buzzer-beater for Atlanta to beat Washington during the 2013-14 season
Damian Lillard shot just 6 for 19, but scored Portland’s final eight points, including a 3-point play with 7.2 seconds remaining to give the Blazers a 96-95 lead.
C.J. McCollum led the Blazers with 22 points and Lillard added 21.
“They executed well down the stretch, made some tough shots,” McCollum said. “Credit them for battling back and then down the stretch they seemed to match every basket.”
Boston trailed 85-79 with 5:37 to go before going on an 11-0 run, sparked by consecutive 3-pointers from Semi Ojeleye, Jayson Tatum and Horford.
Tatum had 17 points and Brown scored 16 for the Celtics.
“That shot epitomizes the work he puts in,” Brown said. “He embraces those opportunities and steps up to the challenge.”
Terry Rozier had with 11 points on 5-of-18 shooting after recording a triple-double and a career-high 31 points in his previous two games starting in place of Celtics guard Kyrie Irving.
Giannis leaves early, but Bucks rout Nets 109-94
Giannis Antetokounmpo was planning to come back in, though his coach seemed to have other ideas.
Eric Bledsoe and the Bucks made it a moot point.
Bledsoe scored 28 points, John Henson had season highs with 19 points and 18 rebounds, and Milwaukee easily extended its winning streak over the Brooklyn Nets to 10 games with a 109-94 victory Sunday.
Antetokounmpo twisted his right ankle with about 7 1/2 minutes remaining, not long after the Nets had cut what had been a 28-point deficit to seven. But the Bucks got the next two baskets after his departure to finish an 8-0 run and push the lead back to 15.
“Giannis is a big piece of our team but we got other guys that can step up, especially down the stretch, and took on that role,” Bledsoe said. “We just stayed together and hopefully he’s all right.”
Antetokounmpo, who said he stepped on a Nets player’s foot, was standing along the baseline near the bench after coming out, trying to get loose in case he was called on to return.
“I knew that if the game was close I would definitely be back in,” the All-Star forward said.
Well, maybe not.
“We had talked and we were pretty sure he wasn’t going to be coming back,” coach Joe Prunty said of his discussion with medical staff. “At the end of the day, it was the trainer lets me know and we make a decision from there. But as the lead gets (bigger), yeah, there was no reason to.”
Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton each had 16 points for the Bucks, who improved to 6-1 since firing Jason Kidd and moved a season-best six games over .500 at 29-23.
DeMarre Carroll and Caris LeVert each scored 15 for the Nets, who lost for the sixth time in seven games.
The Bucks scored six straight points in the first 81 seconds to prompt a Nets timeout, pushed the lead into double digits later in the first quarter and led 36-22 at the end of the period.
“Somehow, some reason, not ready. We weren’t ready,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “I don’t understand. I don’t understand how that happens. A little upset with our group that we weren’t ready mentally, physically.”
Milwaukee led 62-41 at the break. The Bucks opened the second half with seven straight points as the lead peaked at 69-41 on Antetokounmpo’s dunk.
With their length and athleticism, the Bucks looked like high schoolers playing against middle schoolers. They had seven blocked shots, including one by Antetokounmpo on Jarrett Allen to trigger a fast break in the third quarter, which ended with an alley-oop from Middleton to Henson.
The Nets finished the period with a flurry and trailed only 83-72 heading to the fourth.
Lopez scores 20, Lakers top Thunder 108-104
The Oklahoma City Thunder appeared to be on their way to their lofty preseason expectations during an eight-game win streak.
Then they hit another rough patch.
Oklahoma City dropped its fourth straight game Sunday when Brook Lopez scored 20 points and Julius Randle added 19, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 108-104 victory.
Thunder guard Russell Westbrook said the team won’t panic.
“Me personally, I love adversity,” he said. “It gives you an opportunity to bring your teammates together and bring everybody together. Looking forward to positive things. Throughout this season there is going to be a lot of ups and downs, but we never flinch. That’s one thing about this organization and about our team – we never flinch. We are always going to stay together.”
Westbrook scored 36 points and Paul George had 26, but Oklahoma City struggled on defense again. The Thunder have dropped four of five since losing defensive stopper Andre Roberson to a season-ending left patellar tendon injury.
Of particular concern, the Lakers made 13 3-pointers.
“That’s where Andre Roberson is great, maybe the best I’ve ever seen, of being able to close down on top of shooters and get them to bounce it and then also guard it,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “But we’ve got to be able to do a better job.”
Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points and Brandon Ingram added 16 for the Lakers, who have won six of eight.
The Lakers had lost 11 straight in Oklahoma City.
“I was most proud of the way that we engaged ourselves in the fight this time,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “Again, we went off to a good start where we were competing back and forth and this time, we sustained it for much longer.”
The Lakers carried an 82-79 lead into the fourth quarter. Westbrook checked back in with the Lakers leading 87-84 and just over eight minutes remaining. The Lakers went up 98-90 on a fast-break layup by Josh Hart.
Ingram made a layup for the Lakers and George fouled him. George argued the call and was issued a technical foul with 3:32 left. Ingram and Clarkson each made a free throw to give Los Angeles a 10-point lead.
A 3-pointer by George trimmed the Lakers’ lead to 107-104 with 24.7 seconds to play. Randle was fouled with 17.9 seconds left, and he made the first of two free throws. Westbrook missed a long 3-pointer, and the Lakers pulled down the rebound to escape.
“Don’t give into the fact this is a long road trip and we are playing against a really good team,” Walton said. “Enjoy it. Enjoy the challenge. Our guys did a really good job of sticking together and really fighting that one out.”