The ball had just been whacked out of Tom Brady’s right hand at the worst possible moment for the New England Patriots Braydon Coburn Jersey , giving the Philadelphia Eagles the ball just before the two-minute warning.
Brady sat on the turf, resting his arms on his knees with a pose of resignation. Once he reached the sideline and plopped down on the bench, he lowered his head and stared down for several seconds .
This was surely not the end of his unparalleled and sure-bet-for-the-Hall-of-Fame career, but at age 40 there’s no guarantee this wasn’t the last time he played in a Super Bowl.
”It’s a team sport. The Eagles played a better game today,” Brady said. ”They deserve to win. That’s why we’re not the champs.”
The fumble, forced by Brandon Graham and picked up by Derek Barnett, put the Eagles in position for a field goal that pushed their lead to eight points. Brady and the Patriots had one last possession, but his final heave from midfield was batted down to give the Eagles their first Super Bowl trophy with a 41-33 victory and drop Brady’s career record in the title game to 5-3.
The all-time leader with eight career postseason fourth-quarter comebacks, Brady wasn’t able to notch a ninth.
”We obviously didn’t make enough plays in the red zone and turned the ball over one time,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. ”If we have a turnover that leads to some points for them, and you fail to score a couple of touchdowns in the first part of the game, generally speaking against a really good team, it usually comes back to bite you.”
Brady already owns a healthy share of the NFL record book, but there’s a new entry that he and all of New England would prefer to erase. Brady became the first quarterback in NFL history to lose a game, in the regular season or the playoffs, despite passing for 500 or more yards Youth Chris Kunitz Jersey , three or more touchdowns and no interceptions.
”You always hope you come out on the winning end of the shootout,” Brady said. ”We didn’t win it today.”
Brady finished 28 for 48 for 505 yards and three scores and a 115.4 passer rating. He has two of the three 400-yard passing games in Super Bowl history, with his 466 yards in last season’s overtime win over Atlanta and Kurt Warner’s 414 yards for the St. Louis Rams in a victory over the Tennessee Titans 18 years ago.
”I’ve played in eight of them, and they’re all good games. Today, we had our opportunities,” Brady said. ”Never really got control of the game. Never really played on our terms. Just didn’t make plays when we needed to.”
This was the second time Brady was voted the NFL’s Most Valuable Player and lost in the Super Bowl, a contrast he also experienced 10 years ago.
In fact, the past nine winners of the Associated Press MVP award to reach the big game have lost. The others were Kurt Warner (2001), Rich Gannon (2002), Shaun Alexander (2005), Peyton Manning (2009 and 2013), Cam Newton (2015) and Matt Ryan (2016).
Brady led the league in 2017 with 4,577 passing yards, despite losing standout wide receiver Julian Edelman to a knee injury, so he sure hasn’t been slowing down. There’ve been reports of friction between Brady, coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft J.T. Miller Jersey , but any potential dysfunction didn’t deter him. He was all smiles during his interview sessions during the week, wondering with seeming sincere curiosity why there’s been so much media fixation on when he’ll ever retire. This one, though, had to hurt.
”No one is going to feel sorry for us,” Brady said. ”We’ll evaluate like we always do. I’m sure everyone is pretty tired after a long year. That’s football.”
Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane is keeping his options open and intends to take his time determining whether quarterback Tyrod Taylor will return for a fourth season.
”We’re going to make the best decision. I’m literally going to go back and watch how he played at the beginning of the year, how he played in the middle of the year and how he played in the end. We’ll see,” Beane said Tuesday after he and coach Sean McDermott held an end-of-season news conference.
”We’re going to take our time and make an informed decision,” Beane added. ”The easy thing to do is go off the last game. And that’s not fair.”
He was referring to Taylor overseeing a pedestrian offensive attack Sunday in a 10-3 loss at Jacksonville in an AFC wild-card playoff. Taylor went 17 of 37 for 134 yards and an interception before being forced out of the game after suffering a concussion on Buffalo’s final possession.
His production against Jacksonville reflected an inconsistent season for the third-year starter, who has a 23-21 record in Buffalo.
The low point came when Taylor was benched in favor of rookie fifth-round draft pick Nathan Peterman in a 54-24 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 19. McDermott called the decision a ”calculated risk,” which quickly backfired when Peterman threw five interceptions in the first half, leaving the Bills no choice but to return to Taylor.
Beane said Taylor doesn’t deserve all the blame for an offense that finished 29th in the NFL in yards gained, and scored just eight touchdowns over the final seven games, including the postseason.
But make no mistake, the first-year general manager said, it’s incumbent on him to get the Bills a franchise quarterback.
”I said that back when I got here,” Beane said. ”It’s a quarterback league. Where you get it Jake Dotchin Jersey , I really don’t care. If you give me one, whether he’s on the street now, whether he’s a free agent, whether I draft him, I’ll take him anywhere.”
That leaves Taylor’s future in question despite him being Buffalo’s first quarterback since Rob Johnson in 2000 to start a Bills playoff game.
The Bills were ready to move on from Taylor in March before he agreed to restructure his contact by reducing it from a five-year to two-year term.
Beane said Buffalo has enough assets – two picks in each of the first two rounds of the draft – to move up and address any position of need, including quarterback.
On the other hand, he said, the Bills could comfortably afford retaining Taylor for the final year of his contract, which includes a $6 million bonus in mid-March and the $18 million hit his deal would count against the salary cap.
Whatever euphoria remained from the Bills exceeding expectations by finishing 9-7 and ending a 17-season playoff drought gave way Tuesday to the challenges Beane and McDermott face in continuing a rebuilding process that began a year ago.
”I thought we (grew) faster than I thought,” Beane said. ”But we have a long way to go, we really do.”
McDermott deflected questions on whether he’ll consider changes to his coaching staff, particularly offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. ”This is early in the process right now, and I’m not going to get into speculation,” he said.
Beane seemed open to re-signing defensive tackle Kyle Williams. The 12-year veteran completed the final year of his contract and hasn’t determined whether he’ll retire. Beane said he had a good conversation with Williams on Monday but wants to give him time to think before opening contract talks.
”Who doesn’t love Kyle Williams?” Beane said, referring to the team’s most respected leader. ”We’d definitely love to have Kyle back.”