Eagles beat Patriots 41-33 for first Super Bowl championship in franchise history

The Philadelphia Eagles’ flight from last to first ended up with a Lombardi Trophy.

In a record-setting shootout between Nick Foles and Tom Brady of the favored New England Patriots, the backup quarterback led a pressure-packed 75-yard drive to the winning touchdown, 11 yards to Zach Ertz with 2:21 to go Sunday night. Then a defense that had been shredded throughout the second half made two final stands to win 41-33.

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.

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.

“For us, it was all about one stop we had to make. We went out here and made that one stop,” Graham said.

It was the first Super Bowl title for Philadelphia (16-3), which went from 7-9 last season to the franchise’s first NFL title since 1960.

“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 pop 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 game-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 them forget Wentz – and least for now – with the gutsiest drive of his life, including a fourth-down conversion to Ertz at midfield.

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, and Brady’s 505 were the most in any playoff contest. The 40-year-old master finished 28 of 48 and picked apart the Eagles until the final two series.

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 and his teams have only a plus-4 overall margin in those games.

So this one was in keeping with that trend: breathtaking and even a bit bizarre.

Brady and the Patriots looked more like five-time champions 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 and three more third-down conversions; the Eagles were 10 for 16. The last was 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.

Brady shrugged and, getting steadfast protection, went over 400 yards passing on the next TD drive. Chris Hogan scored from the 26 as he turned around safety Rodney McLeod.

When all the Eagles could manage was 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.

When he got back to what he has done better than anyone in Super Bowls, Brady led a 90-yard drive following an equally strange play. Alshon Jeffery nearly made a spectacular attempt near the Patriots’ goal line, only to juggle the ball into the air while off-balance. 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 last year.

But the Eagles still had 2:04 left in the half – and some more magic in their bag.

A short third-down throw to rookie Corey Clement on a circle route turned into a 55-yard explosion down to the Patriots 8. Philly got to the 1 and on fourth down, 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 team started with 67-yard drives to field goals – New England had never scored a first-quarter point with Brady in a Super Bowl.

Each kicker later faltered, with Elliott missing the extra point, his fifth failed PAT this season, after Jeffery’s 34-yard touchdown. 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.

Check back here for the latest updates.

Follow this story

Motion to dismiss manslaughter charge denied for shooter of ex-FSU star’s father

A criminal charge won’t be going away — at least for now — for a man facing trial in the fatal shooting of a former Florida State University football star’s father.

Palm Beach County Judge Glenn Kelley on Wednesday denied a motion to dismiss the manslaughter charge against Paul Senat.

Darryl Rudolph was shot in the neck with an AK-47 assault rifle while he was making a repair at a West Palm Beach strip club last April.

According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office arrest affidavit, Senat told detectives he was in the office with Rudolph, 55, and co-owner David Fiore, but Senat left to move the rifle, which was kept on a shelf in an adjacent liquor room.

Senat, who co-owns Sugar Daddy’s Cabaret, said he grabbed the gun and it discharged, firing a single shot that went through the wall and struck Rudolph.

Fiore said he heard a loud bang and then saw Rudolph fall to the ground. 

Senat said he didn’t recall how he grabbed the rifle when it fired, Detective Jimmy Francisco wrote in the affidavit. 

“Senat’s conduct was a grossly careless disregard of the safety and welfare of others,” Francisco wrote. 

An attorney for Senat argued that the shooting was an accident that didn’t amount to manslaughter by culpable negligence, but Kelley ruled otherwise.

Travis Rudolph, who played football at Cardinal Newman High School, made headlines after he ate with an autistic boy who was sitting alone while the Seminoles were visiting a Tallahassee middle school. The wide receiver left FSU after the 2016 season and signed with the New York Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent.

He was not in court for Wednesday’s hearing.

Follow this story

Eagles fly into Super Bowl, rout Vikings 38-7

Hey Philly, maybe it’s time to forget Carson Wentz. Nick Foles might be good enough to win the Eagles their first Super Bowl.

Foles was on fire Sunday night against the stingiest scoring defense in the NFL. Philly made big play after big play on both sides of the ball in a stunning 38-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC championship.

Next up after their most-lopsided playoff victory: the Eagles’ first Super Bowl appearance since 2005, against the team that beat them then, AFC champion New England.

Foles replaced the injured Wentz in Game 13 and finished off a rise from last place last season to first in the NFC East. There were plenty of doubters entering the playoffs, but the former starter in Philadelphia (15-3) under another regime has been brilliant.

“I just think you’ve got to keep going at it,” Foles said. “And we all believe in each other. I’m blessed to have amazing teammates, amazing coaches. Everyone here that’s a part of the Philadelphia Eagles organization is first class.”

Foles’ best work might have come against Minnesota (14-4) and its vaunted defense that was torn apart in every manner. Foles threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, showing poise, escapability and moxie in going 26 for 33.

“I’m so happy for Nick and the offense,” said coach Doug Pederson, “and for Nick, everything he’s been through and battled, he stayed the course and we all believed in him.”

Foles was helped greatly by the Eagles’ domination on defense and a spectacular weaving 50-yard interception return TD by Patrick Robinson . Philadelphia ruined the Vikings’ hopes of being the first team to play in a Super Bowl in its own stadium.

Instead, the Eagles will seek their first Super Bowl crown in Minnesota on Feb. 4; their last championship came in 1960.

“I’m so proud of our players,” team owner Jeffrey Lurie said. “The resilience this group of men has is unequaled.”

OVER AT HALFTIME: Minnesota made it look easy at the outset, driving 75 yards on nine plays, each of which gained yardage. The payoff was a 25-yard throw from Case Keenum to Kyle Rudolph well behind linebacker Najee Goode as Philadelphia’s defense looked confused on the play.

That didn’t happen again for Philly.

Defensive end Chris Long had a huge hand in Robinson’s 50-yard interception return. Long burst in from the left side and got his arm on Keenum to disrupt the throw for Adam Thielen. The ball went directly to Robinson, who sped down the left side, then made a sharp cut to the right and got a superb block from Ronald Darby to reach the end zone.

Inspired, Philly’s D forced a three-and-out, the Foles led the Eagles on a 12-play, 75-yard masterpiece of a drive. LeGarrette Blount showed all his power and escapability on an 11-yard surge up the middle for a 14-7 lead.

Turnovers, something Minnesota rarely committed with an NFC-low 14 during the season, hurt again and not only ended a solid drive, but set up more Philly points. On third down from the Eagles 15, Keenum was blindsided by rookie Derek Barnett, and the ball bounced directly to Long.

It was only the second strip-sack the Vikings have been victimized by all season.

A blown coverage – another rarity for Minnesota – on third-and-10 allowed Alshon Jeffery to get wide open for a 53-yard TD, and Philadelphia tacked on Elliott’s 38-yard field goal to make it 24-3 at halftime.

DANCING IN THE LINC: Fifty seconds into the final quarter, with the score 38-7, Eagles players on the sideline and waiting to kick off on the field were dancing up a storm and fans were chanting “We want Brady.”

They get Tom Brady and company in two weeks.

BACK TO THE BIG GAME: Long won the Super Bowl last year with the Patriots, as did Blount. Now they return on the other side.

QUICK DRIVE: Philadelphia got the ball with 29 seconds remaining in the first half at its 20. Foles hit passes of 11 yards to Jay Ajayi, 36 to Ertz and 13 to Ajayi before Elliott’s field goal to end the half.

THIRD DOWNS: Minnesota was the league’s best team defending third downs and was third in converting them. Yet Philadelphia went 10 for 14.

STATS

Jeffery caught TD passes of 53 and 5 yards and had five receptions for 85 yards. Tight end Zach Ertz was free seemingly all night and finished with eight catches for 93 yards. Torrey Smith had a 41-yard TD catch against double coverage in the third period.

Keenum finished 28 of 48 for 271 yards, with two picks, a lost fumble and the TD throw to Rudolph. The Vikings’ previously staunch defense yielded 456 yards.

NEXT UP: Minnesota returns home to watch two other teams play at its stadium for the Lombardi Trophy.

With the entire stadium singing “Fly Eagles Fly” during the NFC trophy ceremony, Philadelphia can look forward to facing New England in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4. The Patriots are a 5- to 6-point favorite.

___

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

Follow this story

Patriots beat Jaguars 24-20 in AFC championship game

Give ’em a hand: Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are heading back to the Super Bowl.

Brady shook off a hand injury and threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola with 2:48 remaining , rallying the Patriots to a 24-20 comeback victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC championship Sunday.

Brady, wearing a black bandage on his right hand after hurting it during practice earlier in the week, showed no signs of being hampered.

And, with the game – and possibly the season – on the line, the Patriots star came up big again.

“I’ve had a lot worse,” Brady said. “I didn’t know that on Wednesday. It was a crazy injury. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday was a little scary. Then I started getting some confidence and today we did just enough to win.”

Brady finished 26 of 38 for 290 yards and two touchdowns for the Patriots (15-3), who’ll play the winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia in Minneapolis on Feb. 4.

It’s the eighth Super Bowl appearance for Brady and coach Bill Belichick, who have won five times – including last year’s 34-28 overtime rally against the Atlanta Falcons.

The Jaguars (12-7) led 20-10 early in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t hold against the defending champions.

Jacksonville – looking to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history – had one more shot, but Bortles’ throw on fourth-and-15 to Dede Westbrook was knocked away by Stephon Gilmore.

The Patriots then ran out the clock, with Dion Lewis’ 18-yard scamper with 90 seconds remaining sealing the victory. And they did it mostly without tight end Rob Gronkowski, who left the game late in the first half and didn’t return.

Brady’s hand was the most-scrutinized body part in Boston since the quarterback’s right ankle before the 2008 Super Bowl, and Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s right ankle tendon – the bloody sock – in the 2004 playoffs.

Brady was listed as questionable after he hurt his right hand during practice earlier in the week. He was limited Wednesday, sat out Thursday and was limited again Friday because of the injury.

That caused some panic among the Patriots faithful.

Turns out, it was nothing to fret about.

Brady came out for warmups without a glove on his hand, and he came out throwing. He completed his first six passes – including a 20-yarder to Amendola on fourth-and-1 from the Jaguars 30 – for 57 yards to march the Patriots down the field. The drive stalled when Brady was sacked by Dante Fowler Jr., and New England settled for Stephen Gostkowski’s 31-yard field goal.

A wide-open Marcedes Lewis gave the Jaguars a 7-3 lead 45 seconds into the second quarter with a 4-yard touchdown catch from Blake Bortles, who was 5 for 5 for 66 yards on an impressive and efficient seven-play, 76-yard drive.

Leonard Fournette gave Jacksonville a 14-3 lead midway through the second quarter with a 4-yard TD run, hushing the crowd at Gillette Stadium.

The Jaguars made some big mistakes that hurt them just before halftime. Bortles completed a 12-yard pass to Lewis on third-and-7 from the Patriots 44, but Jacksonville was called for delay of game – after New England called a timeout.

That wiped out a first down, and Bortles was sacked by Adam Butler on the next play to force a punt.

With just over two minutes left before halftime, New England’s offense took over and the fans chanted “Bra-dy! Bra-dy!”

And their quarterback delivered – with some help from the Jaguars on two long penalties.

On first-and-10 from the Patriots 40, Brady threw a long pass for Gronkowski, who was injured when he got popped by Barry Church just as the ball was arriving. Church was called for unnecessary roughness, putting the ball at Jacksonville’s 45.

A.J. Bouye was called for pass interference on the next play on an incomplete throw for Brandin Cooks. The 32-yard penalty put the ball at the Jaguars 13. After a 12-yard catch by Cooks, James White ran it in from the 1 to make it 14-10 with 55 seconds left.

Josh Lambo gave Jacksonville a 17-10 lead 4:37 into the third quarter with a 54-yard field goal. He added a 43-yarder 8 seconds into the fourth quarter to make it a 10-point game.

But Brady & Co. were just getting started.

___

More AP NFL: https://pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Follow this story

VIDEO: Vicious fight between football fans captured on video

Video taken at Thursday night’s NFL game in Charlotte shows one man sucker-punching another, and now the search is on for the suspect.

The video of the bloody fight was posted to Instagram by another fan at the game.

A man wearing a Carolina Panthers jersey is seen engaged in a verbal argument with a fan seated behind him at Bank of America Stadium. After a few seconds, the fan in the jersey throws multiple punches at the victim, causing a flow of blood from the man’s head..

The Charlotte Observer reports Warren Carrigan was the fan who shot the video.

Carrigan says the victim was upset about the fan in the jersey standing up throughout the game and obstructing his view. The suspect and his girlfriend allegedly called the seated fan numerous epithets before the fight started.

The fans has been identified by the team as the Panthers and the NFL continue to investigate the incident.

“We have reviewed video tape of the incident and have identified the perpetrator,” the Panthers aid in a statement. “We are working with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department to pursue charges to the fullest extent of the law.”

 

dude bro & his chicka were standing for the entire game. words gradually got more and more escalated. there previously was a single mom and her son between us, they left halfway through the 3rd. after that, the lid was off. the dude took offense to the couple never sitting down and obstructing his view. the victim telling the dude bro how they’re being jerks and how rude they are for not sitting. the dude bro turns around and calls the victim a “geriatric fuck”, “faggot”, and “hick”. then sucker punches him right in the face. i don’t know if he got away or left in handcuffs, but i hope it’s the latter. edit: to clarify further, both the puncher and punchee were wearing Panthers attire. The assailant was seated in section 541, row 24, seat 10.

A post shared by Warren C (@odubco) on Oct 12, 2017 at 10:11pm PDT

Follow this story

Titans receiver: Would quit over anthem rule, deletes tweet

Former Dolphins and current Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews said he would be done playing football when asked on Twitter if he would accept a fine or penalty if the NFL instituted a new rule for the national anthem, then later deleted the tweet.

Matthews’ response Thursday to a reporter from his verified account was captured by a screen grab.

The starting receiver has stayed in the locker room during the national anthem through the last two games in protest of President Donald Trump’s comments on NFL players. Matthews was not available Thursday after practice before the locker room closed to reporters.

Titans coach Mike Mularkey said he could not comment because he learned of Matthews’ tweet after practice and had not talked to the player yet.

Matthews played four seasons with the Dolphins from 2012 to 2015.

Follow this story