Write your own alternate ending to Superbowl 52 with one little assumption. Malcolm Butler plays the final 9:22 minutes and makes one tackle, and has one pass break up while playing just two series in the 4th quarter.
- Eagles Win Superbowl 52… 38-36!
- Pariots win Superbowl 52 …. 39-38!
Want to hear how it happened? You make the call and write the ending!
(This is a fictitious account of the final 9:22 minutes of the game vs. Philadelphia on the assumption that Malcolm Butler did play in the secondary for the Patriots from that moment on.)
The score is 33-32 New England. The Patriots had just taken their first lead in Superbowl 52. Starting Cornerback Malcolm Butler has not played in the game until this point. Sensing that his defense had to make at least one defensive stop to win the game, Coach Bill Belichick inserts his benched player with 9:22 to play in the game. “We’re doing the things, with the right personnel we have to do to win the game.” Said Belichick about this move after the game.
Butler makes his presence known immediately, with a fierce tackle of Jay Ajayi, (instead of Devin McCourty,) after a gain of 4 yards taking the ball to the Philadelphia 29. After a New England time out and an incomplete pass, Nick Foles does complete a pass for a first down to Zach Ertz to their own 36 yard line, but instead of Stephen Gilmore making the tackle, it was Safety Devin McCourty. Now that Butler is in the game, the rotation and zone coverage shifts back to where the defensive secondary players should have been, and were in for the majority of the season.
Now faced with a 4th and 1 from their own 46 yard line, Nick Foles again looks for his tight end, Zach Ertz. This time, Ertz was matched up with Patriots strong safety Devin McCourty, he breaks up the play, returning the ball back to Brady and the Patriots at the Eagles 45 yard line with a one point lead with 5:39 to play.
Brady, a master at using the clock in the 4th quarter, immediately goes to work. First, completing a short pass to James White out of the backfield. Now faced with a 2nd and four, Brady uses play action to freeze the Eagles linebackers and finds all time tight end Rob Gronkowski down the seam to the 25 yard line and good for a first down. This takes the clock down to 3:45, and the Eagles call time out. A running play to Dion Lewis gets two yards, and takes another :30 off the clock. The Eagles use another time out.
The Eagles defense stiffens from there after an incomplete pass to Rex Burkhead, and another run by Lewis takes the ball to the 20. Stephen Gostkowski comes on to attempt a 37-yard field goal, and despite pushing it to the right, goes through the uprights, and the Patriots lead increases to 36-32. There is now 2:38 on the game clock, the Eagles have one more time out and the two minute warning.
Gostkowski, a master at dropping his kickoffs at the goal line forces the Eagles to return the ball, and keep the clock moving, Kenjon Barner to his credit got the ball to their own 25 yard line but the return took another :12 off the clock.
On the next play Nick Foles goes deep over the middle to Torrey Smith who beats Malcolm Butler for the gain of 20 yards. The Eagles now in a hurry up mode, rush to the line of scrimmage, and Foles spikes the ball to stop the clock Just before the 2:00 warning. Now 2nd and 10 from their own 45 yard line, the Eagles run a screen pass to Jay Ayaji, and he breaks two tackles to get inside Patriots territory before Malcolm Butler chases him down and pushes him out of bounds. The clock is now stopped at 1:53 for the 2:00 warning with the ball now sitting at the Patriots 43 yard line.
When play resumes, the Eagles run a flea flicker and Nick Foles airs it out to Alshon Jeffrey who get’s interfered with at the 14 yard line by Stephon Gilmore. First and ten Eagles at the Patriots 14 yard line with 1: 43 to play. On first down Lagurette Blount runs off right tackle down to the ten-yard line. Hoping to preserve time on the clock in case Philly scores a touchdown, the Patriots call their last time out with 1:33 to go. On second down, Foles uses play action and rolls to his right to find his tight end Zach Ertz at the 3 yard line, first and goal Philly. Tick, tick, tick….
With the clock winding down, The Eagles hand the ball off to Laguerette Blount and he breaks two tackles on his way into the end zone to give the Eagles back the lead at 38-36 with 1:02 to play in regulation.
Now Philly’s coach Doug Pederson is faced with a decision about the conversion. Two points would make it 40-36 and force the Patriots to score a touchdown in order to win, or kick the extra point and increase the lead to 3 where a field goal could tie the game. Pederson who already pulled off a great call on 4th and 1 for a touchdown in the first half, decides to go for two.
Philly’s run pass option for Nick Foles has been working all game. Instead they use a little trickery, as the Eagles take another play out of the Patriots past, and direct snap the ball to Jay Ayaji. This time he gets stopped at the one yard line by Malcolm Brown, keeping the Eagles ahead by just 2 points. So now, the Eagles lead 38-36, there is 1:02 to play, the Patriots have to get to the Eagles 40 yard line to have a shot at a winning field goal for Stephen Gostkowski.
How many times has Tom Brady led the Patriots to victory in the 4th quarter coming from behind to do it? 42 times, and once again, the GOAT has a chance to add to that total.
Starting at his own 25, Brady finds (eventual game MVP) Rob Gronkowski for three straight passes and uses 45 seconds to get to midfield. The clock has stopped after Brady rushes to the line of scrimmage and spikes the ball with :18 left.
On 2nd and 10, Brady finds Danny Amendola on the near sideline for a gain of 8 yards, and now the ball is at the Philly 42 yard line and there is only :12 seconds left.
Once again, Brady runs a play action, and this time finds James White sprinting out of the backfield, and he picks up the first down and chews up another :06 on the clock. The ball is at the Philly 38 yard line.
It’s a 55 yard field goal attempt to win it for Stephen Gostkowski and the Patriots…..does he make it or not? You decide…
It was an another exciting SuperBowl for the Patriots, whether it was fictitious or not!
A – Eagles Win 38-36
B – Patriots win 39-36 Or will Stephen Gostkowski make or miss for the walk off win?
C – Kick blocked or snap fumbled Eagles win…
What do you think?