The New England Patriots and the Jacksonville Jaguars fought the good fight in Gillette Stadium for a spot to compete for the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LII. To kick off Championship Sunday, the Patriots received the ball to start off the game.
Future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady and his offense put together an impressive 62 yards for their first drive, but came up short of a touchdown and sent out field goal kicker Stephen Gostkowski to kick a 31 yard field goal, and put New England on the board first with a score of 3-0. Though they were off to a slow start, Jacksonville responded to the Patriots in the second quarter, with rookie running back Leonard Fournette, who had 24 carries for 76 yards, and tight end Marcedes Lewis both scoring touchdowns to give them the lead with a score of 14-3.
Before the end of the first half, New England responded by handing the ball off to running back James White for a one-yard touchdown to shorten the point gap, and making the score 14-10. After the half, New England managed to keep the Jacksonville offense relatively quiet by only allowing a successful 54 yard field goal by Jacksonville field goal kicker Josh Lambo, making the score 17-10.
The fourth quarter is where the Patriots play their best football. The New England defense was able to hold their own by allowing only a 43 yard field goal from Lambo, making the score 20-10 as well as providing a bigger task for New England . Then, from there on out, it was Tom Brady doing what he does best. The New England offense managed to put together an 85 yard drive that resulted in a nine yard touchdown pass to wide-receiver Danny Amendola and a successful extra point attempt from Gostkowski, leaving 8:44 left in regulation with a score of 20-17.
The game was still far from over, and the New England offense took advantage of the precious time that was left by putting together a 30 yard drive that resulted in a four yard touchdown reception from Brady to Amendola once again, with another successful extra point attempt from Gostkowski, giving the Patriots the lead with a score of 20-24 and 2:48 left in regulation.
Jacksonville, who needed a touchdown to keep their Super Bowl hopes alive, managed to put together a 32 yard drive into New England’s 43 yard line, but came up short with a turnover by downs. From there, New England came in, got a first down with 1:30 left in the game, and Brady took a knee to let the clock expire, making the New England Patriots victorious with another dramatic comeback, becoming AFC Champions, and sending them to their third Super Bowl in four years. The people of Boston and the worldwide Pats Nation were beyond excited with the outcome of this game.
“I honestly never thought that the Jaguars would win,” said Mario Mora, a local New England fan, when asked if he ever thought at any point throughout the game that Jacksonville would emerge victorious. “We all saw what he [Tom Brady] did in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, and I just had faith in my team. Once Stephon Gilmore deflected the ball on the Jags last offensive play, I knew we would win.”
For the second game on championship Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings marched into Philadelphia as favorites to upset the Eagles for the NFC Championship and a spot in Super Bowl LII. However, nobody that has the ability to think logically could have ever predicted the outcome of this game. The Vikings received the ball at the kickoff to start off the game, and started off strong by putting together a nine play, 75 yard drive that resulted in a 25 yard touchdown pass from Vikings quarterback Case Keenum to tight end Kyle Rudolph, along with a successful extra point attempt from field goal kicker Kai Forbath, putting the Vikings on the board first with a score of 7-0.
Those would be their only points throughout the whole game. On the Vikings second drive of the game on Minnesota’s 43-yard line, Keenum threw a pass intended for wide receiver Adam Thielen, but it was intercepted by Eagles cornerback Patrick Robinson, who returned it 50 yards for a touchdown, allowing Philadelphia field goal kicker Jake Elliot to make a successful extra point attempt, tying the score at 7-7.
From there on out, the Philadelphia offense made the game miserable for the Vikings #1 ranked defense. In the second quarter, running back LeGarrette Blount had an 11-yard rushing touchdown, and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery caught a 53-yard pass from Eagles quarterback Nick Foles for another touchdown, both with successful extra points made, as well as a successful three-point field goal attempt by Elliot to end the first half with a score of 24-7 in Philadelphia’s favor. The third and fourth quarters weren’t any better for the Vikings defense, Foles to throw a 41-yard passing touchdown to wide receiver Torrey Smith and a five-yard passing touchdown to Jeffery for the second time.
The Vikings were unable to respond offensively and stop the Eagles defensively throughout the whole game, making the Eagles victorious with a final score of 38-7 and sending them to Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII. Obviously, this game was below standards for how everyone thought the Vikings would play against the Eagles. Jonjairo Gonzalez, a local Eagles fanatic, had a lot to say about the outcome of the game.
“I always knew that the Eagles would be in the Super Bowl. The Eagles locked them down. We did our job,” Gonzalez said.
Many people believe that if the New Orleans Saints would have taken on the Eagles instead of the Vikings, then the outcome of the game would have been entirely different.
“I think it would have been a little bit different,” said Eagles fan Ethan Harren. “I still think the Eagles would have came out with a win. It would have been a tougher game.”
Now, the stage is set. On February 4, the world will be watching as the underdog team, the Philadelphia Eagles, hope to accomplish a David and Goliath story and defeat Tom Brady the New England Patriots, who have high hopes to win their second consecutive Super Bowl and sixth all-time Lombardi trophy.
This isn’t the first time that New England head coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have seen the Eagles in the Super Bowl, as they had seen them in Super Bowl XXIX. So what makes this Eagles team different than the 2004 Eagles?
“This Eagles team is more hungry to win a Super Bowl,” Gonzalez said. “The outcome will be different this time. The Patriots are underestimating the Eagles, and the Eagles are going to come out strong. They’re hungry for a Super Bowl win. The Patriots have already been there many times, so a win means more to us.”
However, this task is not an easy one. When asked what the key is to success, both Harren’s and Gonzalez’s answers were unanimous. “Shutting down Tom Brady. We have to keep him on the sidelines.”
On the other hand, the Patriots are the obvious favorites. It seems as if the only thing that could be able to stop this New England team is themselves. “They just have to keep working as a team,” Mora said.
For Patriots fans, watching Tom Brady make history is a true blessing. “Words can’t describe how excited I get to watch the one and only TB12,” said Matthew Biagini, another local Patriots fan and head coach to the Charter Oak wrestling team.
And then there were two…
—by Gaberiel Cortes