October 17, 2018, 1:29

Alshon Jeffery and Tom Brady among Super Bowl LII MVP alternatives

Alshon Jeffery and Tom Brady among Super Bowl LII MVP alternatives

Here's a look at Nick Foles' highlights that earned him the Super Bowl LII MVP.

Nick Foles’ star turn on Sunday saw him quite rightly named this year’s Super Bowl MVP.

Guiding his Philadelphia Eagles to their very first Vince Lombardi trophy, Foles finished the game with 373 yards passing, three TDs and one receiving – the first player in history to throw and catch a TD in the Super Bowl.

But, in a game full of stellar performances, on another night, it could easily have been someone else who claimed the coveted prize. Here, we’ve picked out five alternative MVPs from Super Bowl Sunday…

Rob Gronkowski

If the Patriots were to have pulled off another stunning Super Bowl comeback victory, it would have owed a lot to the second-half play of their star tight end. Gronkowski was marginalised for much of the first half, catching only one pass. He’d have four on New England’s opening drive after the interval, the last of which was for the first of his two touchdowns.

Danny Amendola (152 yards) and Chris Hogan (128 yards, one TD) also had monster games – I suppose it’s easy to when you’ve got a certain Tom Brady throwing you the ball – but Gronk’s 116-yard tally was all the more remarkable considering his status for the game had actually been in doubt following a concussion after a heavy hit in the AFC Championship game a fortnight ago. A hit that seemingly has him contemplating retiring. Please don’t go, Gronk!

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is reportedly considering retirement after his team's Super Bowl LII loss.

Alshon Jeffery

While Gronkowski was a second-half standout, all of Jeffery’s fine work came in the first. He had only three catches in the game, all coming inside the first 20 minutes or so of the game – hardly the sustained success of a Super Bowl MVP you might wonder? But, it was the impressive nature of each catch, and the importance and impact of them, which sees him in contention.

Jeffery truly helped set the tone for the Eagles’ victory, benefiting from some aggressive play-calling and winnable match-ups against a Patriots secondary that had struggled against rangy receivers like him all season and was without the benched Malcolm Butler.

Watch Alshon Jeffery's stunning grab for Philadelphia's first touchdown of Super Bowl LII.

His first catch, for 17 yards, came on third-and-four, helping Philadelphia avoid a three-and-out on their opening possession. His second was a stunning, leaping grab in the endzone for a 34-yard touchdown, the Eagles’ first. And his final act helped set up their second score – an incredible sideline catch in double-coverage for 22 yards.

LeGarrette Blount

LeGarrette Blount runs over his former Patriots team-mates for a touchdown for the Eagles.

Following that sideline grab from Jeffery, Blount bulldozed his way over defenders for a 21-yard touchdown run on the very next play – the type of run he made a habit out of while playing for the Patriots on the way to their Super Bowl win last season.

He and British-born back Jay Ajayi formed a frightening double-headed monster for the New England defense in the first half, one they simply couldn’t stop – the Eagles already had over 100 yards rushing before the break, averaging nine-per-carry! Both were bottled up a little better after the interval but the damage was already done and, even so, Ajayi ended with 57 yards on nine carries, while Blount’s 90 came off only 14 totes.

Jay Ajayi gives an emotion reaction after the Eagles beat the Patriots to win Super Bowl LII.

Tom Brady

He may well have suffered a rare Super Bowl defeat, but there’s simply no way we can leave New England’s No 12 off this list – this was Brady’s greatest ever Super Bowl performance, and that’s despite a CV that already includes five Vince Lombardi trophies and four MVP awards in the big game.

Watch as Tom Brady sets a Super Bowl record with 505 pass yards against the Eagles.

Brady had a simply staggering 500 yards passing – breaking his own Super Bowl record of 466, set in last year’s win over the Atlanta Falcons – and, lest we forget, he’s now 40 years old! He led his team to 33 points – another record, the unwanted one of the highest score by a losing team in Super Bowl history. Plus, he still, somehow, had the chance to tie the game late on with a Hail Mary pass that ultimately fell incomplete.

Brady has already said he will be back again next season, and who’s to say he won’t find his way back to the Super Bowl once again.

Brandon Graham

The Eagles managed to get their first sack on Tom Brady and their first turnover of the game with just over two minutes left.

As impressive as Brady was, it was a mistake from him – or, rather, an exceptional play from Graham – that cost the Patriots the Super Bowl. As 74 combined points and an incredible 1,151 yards of offense will point to, there was little defense to speak of in this game. And, with little more than two minutes left in the game we had still yet to see a quarterback sacked. Step forward Eagles defensive end Graham…

Philadelphia had just re-taken the lead late on, but a five-point deficit with two minutes left to win a Super Bowl is nothing Brady hasn’t faced before. Then, on second-and-two, Graham got round the New England O-Line, got his hands to Brady and stripped the ball loose. Fumble!

Sure, it was one standout play but, by the very definition of an MVP, he truly was it for the Eagles – Graham managed what no-one else could and ultimately won his team the game. A field goal was added to their lead off the turnover and Philly would hold out for a first ever Super Bowl win.

Philadelphia defensive end Brandom Graham's daughter sings 'Fly Eagles Fly' in his press conference.

Stay with us through the week for all the reaction and fall-out to Super Bowl LII and follow us @SkySportsNFL through the off season we track the Draft, Free Agency and get ready for a new season!

Sourse: skysports.com

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