The first half of Super Bowl 52 provided its share of memorable — and, in the case of Brandin Cooks, painful — plays, but none was more remarkable than one on which the Eagles’ Nick Foles caught a touchdown.
That would be Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, whose scoring reception from tight end Trey Burton came on a fourth-and-goal play from the Patriots’ 1-yard line with just 38 seconds left in the half. The play, which came after a Philadelphia timeout, fooled New England and helped the Eagles go into the locker room with a 10-point lead.
The remarkably aggressive call by Eagles Coach Doug Pederson and his staff immediately provoked a strong reaction on the Internet, not least from other NFL players, including those currently and formerly in the league. “Wow what a play,” exclaimed Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel.
“Nick Foles got better hands than Brady,” free agent wide receiver Eddie Royal said, adding the hashtag “#Facts.” That was a reference to an unsuccessful play the Patriots tried earlier in the game, when New England quarterback Tom Brady was unable to corral a pass thrown his way.
Matt Chatham, a former linebacker for the Patriots and Eagles, claimed the play should not have been allowed because the Eagles were in an illegal formation. No flag was thrown, and the touchdown stood.
Of course, the Eagles still had plenty of work to do to seal the deal in the Super Bowl, especially against a Brady-led Patriots squad that has made an art form out of comebacks from double-digit deficits in second halves of huge games. But Foles and Co. could take credit for authoring the most eye-opening play of the first half, one that most certainly did not go unnoticed by other NFL players.
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