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The Linc: The Patriots do not know how to lose, and are good

A great football game unfurled across four hours last night.

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Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Eagles news and notes for 2/6

Patriots roar back, win Super Bowl in OT - Inquirer

If it didn't happen in front of billions of eyes around the world, it would be hard to describe how the New England Patriots pulled off what might be the greatest comeback in the annals of professional team sports Sunday night.

Tom Brady's refusal to give up after the Falcons climbed to a 28-3 lead midway through the third quarter; the Julian Edelman catch that inconceivably didn't touch the turf at NRG Stadium; the two successful two-point conversions that capped two fourth-quarter touchdowns, including the game-tying points with 57 seconds left.

And, lastly, the overtime drive in which Brady meticulously marched New England down the field for the game-winning touchdown - a 2-yard run by James White - that gave the Patriots an improbable 34-28 victory in Super Bowl LI, and an unprecedented five Vince Lombardi Trophies for Brady and his coach, Bill Belichick.

"We all brought each other back," Brady, who was named the game's MVP, said on the Fox broadcast immediately afterward. "We never felt out of it. It was a tough battle. . . . We just made a few more plays."

If there was argument left about who the greatest quarterback and coach are, it seems all but moot now. Brady and Belichick are the greatest and they have the hardware to show for it. The season capped a trying year for the quarterback, who was suspended for the first four games because of his role in "Deflategate" and whose mother dealt with an unspecified illness.

"They just keep competing," Belichick said of his Patriots. "They just compete for 60 minutes - or longer."

The Patriots denied Atlanta quarterback, and Penn Charter alum, Matt Ryan his first title. Ryan was near perfect through the first three quarters. In fact, he had a 158.3 passer rating - the highest possible number. But Atlanta turtled up as New England mounted its rally.

With 3, minutes, 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Patriots trailing, 28-20, Brady and the Patriots had one last chance. They got off to a slow start, but a stupefying catch by Edelman, in which he secured a deflected pass just millimeters before it hit the ground, advanced New England to the Falcons 41.

Atlanta unsuccessfully challenged the ruling on the field.

Brady then completed his next three passes to move the Patriots to the 1-yard line. White took care of the rest, plunging into the end zone, and then Brady flicked a quick screen to receiver Danny Amendola for the game-tying two-point conversion with 57 ticks left on the clock.

Denied!!! - Iggles Blitz

Morten Andersen? A kicker? That stings, to put it mildly.

He was a great kicker in his era, but his numbers pale in comparison to today’s kickers. And it isn’t like Andersen was some great postseason kicker. I could see Adam Vinatieri making it because of all his amazing clutch kicks. Andersen played for 26 years and does hold some NFL records (most career FGs made), but putting him in over a dominant position player seems silly.

Some people were upset with the choice of Jason Taylor. I think he is one of the best DEs I ever saw play so I can live with that. He wasn’t on great teams, but posted very good career numbers.

Dawk is a special player and deserved to make it.

I think a couple of things worked against Dawk. First, he never won a Super Bowl. Fair or not, that is important for making it in.

He wasn’t part of a great defense. The Eagles never finished first overall in yards or points allowed in his career. They were second a few times, but that’s not the same. As a LB or DB, it helps a lot for you to be on a great unit. You can glance at Taylor’s sack totals and see when he had big seasons. Dawk never had more than 4 INTs or 3.5 sacks in a season. There is no “wow” year for him statistically.

It may take a year, two or even more, but Dawk should get in. He did have a great career.

I thought TO had a real chance to make it in. He is being punished for his erratic behavior off the field. Owens deserves to be in, but I’m not going to feel sorry for the guy. He is paying the price for his own behavior. If he hadn’t been such a jerk over the years, he’d already be wearing a gold jacket.

2017 Mock Draft 1.0: Eagles get potential shutdown corner - CSN Philly

14/15. Philadelphia Eagles - *CB Sidney Jones, Washington, 6-0/181

Jones isn't the sexiest name available, but he's been an outstanding football player for Washington. After starting 25 of 26 games and racking up six interceptions in his freshman and sophomore seasons, teams stayed away from Jones in 2016.

Before the Peach Bowl, Alabama head coach Nick Saban compared Washington's secondary to the Seattle Seahawks' Legion of Boom. If that's the case, Jones was the Huskies' Richard Sherman. Jones lined up on the left and locked down that side of the field. According to PFF, Jones only saw 48 targets, 199th in the nation. Opposing quarterbacks had a rating of 42.2 when targeting him.

He'd fit in Jim Schwartz's scheme. He excels in both man and zone coverage and plays the game with a ton of confidence. He's fluid in his movements and may be the most technically sound corner in this draft. He's got long arms and is extremely physical at the line of scrimmage. Jones can start right away and make an impact in the Eagles' secondary.

Sure, receiver is a huge need as well. At this point, Western Michigan's Corey Davis would be the best on the board. As good as Davis is (I profiled him relentlessly this season), a player like Jones, with the potential to become a shutdown corner, is more valuable. Florida's Teez Tabor will be brought up in this range as well. He's another very good prospect, but Jones is a more consistent player and the one the Eagles should take.

The Exception to The Rule -

Ever since he started playing football, people have tried to tell Darren Sproles “no.” Throughout high school, college, the NFL Draft process – you name it, there have been naysayers telling Sproles that he’s too small to play the game. They told him his body wouldn’t be able to hold up against the much larger defenders bearing down on him. They told him time after time again.

He’s just never listened.

Instead, Sproles has carved out one of the most prolific careers the NFL has ever seen. Today, his résumé is staggering: 19,011 all-purpose yards. Three Pro Bowl appearances. The second player in NFL history with at least 500 receptions, 500 rush attempts, and 500 combined kickoff and punt returns. One of the best pass-catching running backs to ever play the game.

No one is looking down at Darren Sproles anymore. They’re all looking up.

Sproles’ journey began in Kansas, where he finished his career with 5,230 rushing yards and 79 touchdowns at Olathe North High School. But despite those lofty numbers, Sproles wasn’t highly recruited on the college circuit, so he stayed close to home by enrolling at Kansas State. There, he set 23 team records with the Wildcats, gaining close to 5,000 rushing yards and racking up 83 total touchdowns, while serving as a team captain in his final two seasons.

At the 2005 Scouting Combine, Sproles showed off his wheels, running a 4.47 40-yard dash, sixth fastest among his position group. Still, NFL scouts doubted his ability to endure the rigors of an NFL season.

There were 20 running backs selected in the 2005 NFL Draft. Darren Sproles was the 14th to come off the board. Today, he and Indianapolis’ Frank Gore are the only ones still in the league.

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