How Did the Eagles Beat Tom Brady at His Best?

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Tom Brady was nearly perfect. This time, it wasn't enough.

Brady had the greatest passing day in Super Bowl history - actually the greatest passing day in NFL postesason history - but for the third time in his Hall of Fame career, he lost a Super Bowl.

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"We had our opportunities," Brady said Sunday. "We just never really got control of the game. Never really played on our terms. Just didn't make plays when we needed to."

Brady passed for a playoff-record 505 yards, but his fumble late on a Brandon Graham strip sack in the fourth quarter with the Patriots down by five ruined a nearly perfect performance (see story).

"They made a good play," he said. "They made a lot of good plays today.

"I was just holding the ball trying to get it downfield. Those guys had a good rush and got in there and made a good play. They've been doing it all year. I knew they had a good rush, they made a good play at the right time. They made one good play at the right time."

In all, the Patriots piled up 613 yards of offense, the most in NFL history in a loss.

"I thought we were competitive," Brady said. "But we just obviously didn't get the job done."

Brady's 505 yards broke the NFL postseason record of 489 set by Bernie Kosar of the Browns against the Jets in 1986 and broke the Super Bowl record of 466 that Brady set last year.

It also broke Jon Kitna's record of 446 passing yards against the Eagles. The most previous yards in a playoff game against the Eagles was Daunte Culpepper's 316 in the 2004 conference semifinal round.

Brady clipped that by 189 yards.

"We were pretty effective tonight," Brady said. "Just didn't score more points than the other team."

Brady finished 28 for 46 for 505 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

It was only the sixth 500-yard, three-TD, zero-INT performance in NFL history, regular season or playoffs.

"Tom's a legend," said Rob Gronkowski, one of three Patriots who surpassed 100 receiving yards. "Fighting all day long, throwing for 500 yards, every touchdown … we just keep on fighting until the end. We went all 60 minutes but it wasn't enough."

Brady is now 5-3 in Super Bowls, with all three losses coming to NFC East teams.

Brady completed a remarkable 10 passes of 20 yards or more, plus three more of 17 yards or more.

"Losing sucks," Brady said. "That's part of it. You try to win, and sometimes you lose. That's the way it goes."

Before Sunday, only one quarterback - Kurt Warner in 2008 against the Steelers - had thrown for 370 yards with three touchdowns in a Super Bowl.

Sunday, Foles and Brady both did it (more on Foles here).

"He's one of the greatest of all-time," Foles said. "Guy does it right. He's been unbelievable. He was unbelievable tonight. I can't say enough about him."

But in the end, it was Foles heading to Disney World, and Brady heading back to Foxboro (see photos).

"It's tough to lose these games," Brady said. "Disappointed. Wish we could have done a better job. We fought through to the end. I give the Eagles a lot of credit. They played a great game. They've got a great team. They played really well."

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