The Eagles struck first on a touchdown scored by running back Jay Ajayi. While the Patriots moved the ball down the field with relative ease in the first quarter, the Eagles defense only gave up a field goal. Philadephia notched a field goal of its own as the first quarter wound down.
With the Eagles up 10-3 at the end of the first quarter, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick turned up the heat in the second, dialing up two touchdown drives. The simulation appeared to think tight end Rob Gronkowski will be just fine after suffering a concussion in the Patriots’ comeback win against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship. Tom Brady found both Gronkowski and wide receiver Brandin Cooks in the end zone before the half to take a 17-10 lead.
The Eagles added a field goal before halftime to cut the deficit to four.
The Eagles came out strong in the third quarter, sacking Brady two times and putting enough pressure on him to force an uncharacteristic interception. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles capitalized on Brady’s miscue, finding Alshon Jeffery for an Eagles touchdown to take a 20-17 lead heading into the fourth.
Brady then led the Patriots downfield and threw his third touchdown pass of the night, this time to receiver Danny Amendola, to retake the lead at 24-20. Later on in the quarter, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins stripped the football from Patriots running back Dion Lewis. With time running out, Foles pushed the Eagles into Patriots territory. The backup-QB-turned-starter following Carson Wentz’s injury late in the regular season had a chance to become a Philly legend in the final seconds. He tried to find Jeffery for the game-winning touchdown as time expired, but Patriots defensive back Stephon Gilmore batted the ball to the turf.
The Patriots successfully defended its Super Bowl title while Brady snagged his fifth Super Bowl MVP honors. How’s that for breaking the Madden cover athlete curse?
Naturally, the Super Bowl still needs to be played in real life to determine the real winner, but Madden has an impressive history of picking the correct winner. Since EA started simulating the Super Bowl in 2004, the game has correctly picked 10 of 14 contests. And football fans know all too well not to underestimate Brady, the Madden NFL 18 cover athlete.