By James Harrington

Eagles star defensive end Brandon Graham (above), shot through the line for a strip sack of Tom Brady that ended a threat, handing the Eagles a 41-33 upset in Super Bowl 52 and the team’s first championship since 1960.

Nick Foles, the backup quarterback who took over as the Birds’ starting quarterback only after an injury to Carson Wentz in Week 14, completed 28 of 43 passes for 373 yards and 3 touchdowns, and he even caught a touchdown pass in an offensive effort that few predicted he was capable of coming into the game.

He repeatedly converted third down opportunities, threw aggressively into coverage all game, and appeared every bit as poised and confident as Brady, the five-time champion on the other side of the field.

The Patriots battled defensive problems early in the season, but had seemed to figure things out down the stretch. On this day, however, they were unable to stop the Eagles from scoring at will, and they squandered an incredible effort in which Brady and Co. generated more than 600 yards of offense.

The Eagles had offensive stars all over the field, with LeGarrette Blount rushing for 90 yards and a touchdown, Corey Clement contributing 108 yards of total offense, and Nelson Agholor catching 9 passes for 84 yards.

But it was Zach Ertz, Foles’s favorite target, who got the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter when he dove over Devin McCourty for a thrilling 11-yard touchdown pass that stood up to a long review by the officials who were trying to determine if he had possession of the ball before it shot out of his hands in the end zone. Ertz finished the day with 7 catches for 67 yards.

Philadelphia’s defense, which relied on superb play by its line all season, spent most of the game generating very little pass-rush, but when the game was on the line Graham burst through for the sack, and Derek Barnett recovered the ball for a turnover that essentially decided the game.

On one final drive, Brady drove his team 40 yards, but it was too little too late, and he lost in a Super Bowl for just the third time in eight tries.

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