MINNEAPOLIS — Cast aside once in Philadelphia, Nick Foles delivered the city its first Super Bowl title, and he outdueled the great Tom Brady to do it.
Foles, who took over when Carson Wentz injured his right knee in mid-December, matched five-time champion and three-time MVP Brady big play for big play in leading the Eagles past the New England Patriots 41-33.
He threw the go-ahead touchdown to tight end Zach Ertz from 11 yards on third-and-7 with 2:21 remaining, capping a seven-minute, 14-play drive that covered 75 yards, kept Brady cooling his cleats on the sideline and allowed 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.
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.
Foles was 28 of 43 and wasn’t sacked at all.
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 only 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. Foles considered hanging up his cleats before Reid persuaded him to go to Kansas City to be Alex Smith’s backup.
After one season with the Chiefs, Foles returned to Philly to provide insurance behind Wentz.
Now he’s a folk hero for a franchise that had gone 0-for-2 in Super Bowls.
Foles and fellow Arizona letterwinner Dave Fipp, who serves as the Eagles special teams coordinator, raised the Lombardi Trophy Sunday night. Two other Wildcats, Rob Gronkowski and Marquis Flowers, also appeared in the Super Bowl for the Patriots. Gronkowski finished with nine receptions for 116 yards and two TDs, while Flowers recorded a tackle.