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Super Bowl 52 Patriots vs Eagles recap: New England can't overcome bad defense, loses 41-33

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The Patriots' season ends in heartbreaking fashion.

Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

New England won the coin toss and opted to defer, kicking the football away to open the game. Philadelphia's offense started the game well and was able to gain considerable yards against the Patriots offense while converting two third down attempts. However, after over seven minutes, the drive stalled in the red zone on a pass breakup by cornerback Eric Rowe and the Eagles had to settle for a field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

On came Tom Brady and the Patriots offense. The unit answered the Eagles' 67-yard drive with a 67-yard series of their own. And just like Philadelphia's opening possession, New England's also ended with a field goal after the team failed to convert a third down inside the 10-yard line. Stephen Gostkowski's 26-yard kick split the uprights and the game was tied at three.

The tie was short-lived as it took the Eagles only three plays to get from their own 23-yard line to the end zone. New England's defense gave up two big plays on the series, the second of which a touchdown pass from Nick Foles to Alshon Jefferey. Rookie kicker Jake Elliott, however, missed the ensuing extra point and the Patriots only found themselves in a six-point hole.

New England answered with a promising-looking drive of its own. However, inside the Eagles' 10-yard line, the team failed to convert a third down before Gostkowski saw a field goal attempt bounce off the upright after a bad snap and hold. The Patriots defense were forced onto the field again but delivered its best series of the game so far and held the Eagles to a three-and-out.

However, New England's next drive did not go any better: While the team opened with a 23-yard completion to Brandin Cooks, the team lost the wide receiver to a head injury in the process – a brutal blow to the offense. After the injury timeout, the Patriots were unable to move the football any further and failed to convert a 4th down attempt.

Philadelphia took advantage of the solid field position and drove for its second touchdown, a 21-yard scoring run by ex-Patriot LeGarrette Blount. The NFC champions decided to go for two but failed and New England was down “only” 12 points – 15-3. The deficit was cut to nine on the ensuing drive: Thanks to a long screen play by Rex Burkhead, the Patriots were able to move into field goal range again.

However, once again New England failed to advance much further and had to settle for a kick. Gostkowski's 45-yard attempt sailed through and the Patriots were down 15-6. Momentum finally continued to momentarily shift further towards New England on the next series: The Patriots drove 90 yards in seven plays, capped by a 26-yard touchdown run by James White.

With a little over two minutes left in the second quarter, the Patriots defense was needed to deliver a stop but failed to do so. Instead, the unit allowed the Eagles to score another touchdown and take a 22-12 lead into halftime.

New England came out of the locker rooms guns blazing and marched down the field behind four Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski passes, the last of which a touchdown to cut the Eagles' lead to three points. However, the Eagles would answer with a touchdown of their own as the Patriots' defense again struggled to get off the field on third down – fittingly, the score happened on a third down pass.

Down 29-19, New England's offense again worked its way down the field. The Patriots traveled 75 yards in seven plays to make Super Bowl LII a three-point game again when Tom Brady and Chris Hogan connected from 26 yards out. But again, New England's defense – true to its form today – failed to stop Philadelphia from marching right down the field.

As opposed to the last drive, however, Matt Patricia's unit prevented a touchdown thanks in part to a huge third down stop by linebacker Marquis Flowers. Consequently, Philadelphia had to settle for a field goal to go up 32-26. The stop was a big one as it allowed the AFC champions to go up on their next possession – which is exactly what they did.

The Patriots drove 75 yards in 10 plays and ended the series on a touchdown pass from Brady to Gronkowski. Up 33-32, it was on the defense to deliver a stop. And as has been a case all year long, the unit failed to do just that as it allowed a 14-play, 75-yard drive that took 7:01 off the clock and resulted in a touchdown to put the Eagles up 38-33 with 2:21 left in the game.

Of course, with Tom Brady at quarterback, New England still had a chance. This chance, however, took a hard hit on the second play of the potential game-winning drive: Brady was sacked for the first time all game, lost the football and the Eagles recovered. Philadelphia ran three times in a row en route to a field goal to take a 41-33 lead with a little over one minute left.

There was still a little life for the Patriots, though. Unfortunately, the team was unable to get close to the Eagles end zone and saw a last-second Hail Mary fall short.

Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles on their first Super Bowl win. They certainly earned it.