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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 04: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates after a 26-yard touchdown pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

After watching the Philadelphia Eagles score a touchdown on fourth down near the end of the first half, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots came out firing to start the second half of the 2018 Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Upstaged by Eagles quarterback Nick Foles catching the touchdown to help put his Patriots in a 22-12 hole, Brady peppered Rob Gronkowski with targets to start the third quarter in what wound up as a 29-26 advantage for the Eagles heading into the final frame.

Gronkowski had been quiet for most of the night before Justin Timberlake’s halftime performance. Halftime adjustments, though, clearly emphasized getting the league’s best tight end involved:

NFL Research emphasized how adjustments got the dynamic duo going:

The touchdown helped close the game to a 22-19 advantage for the Eagles, putting the pressure on Foles and coaching adjustments to stay in front of a team known for Super Bowl comebacks.

Granted, the Patriots defense didn’t look like it was a unit known for comebacks. Philadelphia’s first drive was mostly strong running by LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi, who didn’t have problems bruising through noticeable consistent missed tackles.

It seemed like a bend-and-eventually-break drive for the Patriots, which looked to ring true on a dart from Foles to rookie Corey Clement for a touchdown—pending a review.

Given the controversy surrounding the catch rule all season, it’s easy to see why millions held tight with bated breath as this one went to the officials for a decision:

The call on the field ended up correct after review, though, putting the Eagles back up by 10 points after the extra point, 29-19.

Another real-time angle made the play by a rookie on a huge stage all the more impressive:

Also impressive? Brady carving up the Eagles on the very next drive, swapping out the Gronkowski emphasis for a Chris Hogan emphasis, which ended in another touchdown to help bring it back 29-26 in favor of the Eagles.

The touchdown itself seemed routine enough:

More impressive were the numbers, with Brady sitting on 404 yards over 19 completions. Put another way, Brady made history a year ago, made a little with that touchdown pass and could one-up himself over the final frame, as illustrated by ESPN Stats & Info:

In a credit to Philadelphia’s coaching staff, though, Foles moved the Eagles right down the field yet again on the next drive, displaying some accuracy reminiscent of MVP contender and starter Carson Wentz:

The Eagles didn’t get to finish the potential scoring drive before the third quarter ended, but at 29-26 and both quarterbacks dealing, it was quite apparent the two could be on the way to an all-time classic ending.

         

Stats courtesy of NFL.com.

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