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Super Bowl report cards

Position-by-position marks for Patriots and Eagles

Posted: Monday February 7, 2005 3:49PM; Updated: Monday February 7, 2005 4:05PM
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PATRIOTS

p1_brady_ap1.jpg
Tom Brady was able to maintain his cool, even under pressure from the Eagles.
AP
Patriots 24, Eagles 21
Special from the top down
By Peter King
Credit Bill Belichick and the Pats' coaching staff for building a team with a unique hunger for success.
Patriots make their mark
By Don Banks
This year's Super Bowl proves the Pats are among history's best teams.
Snap Judgments: Belichick to HOF
Eagles disappointment
By John Donovan
Eagles will soon look back with regret at all their blown opportunities.
Closer Look: Screens kill Eagles
Broadcast Blog
By Richard Deitsch
Owner-cam and Sir Paul McCartney overload: A minute-by-minute account of FOX's Super Bowl broadcast.
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QUARTERBACK: A
Tom Brady did what Tom Brady always does in the big games. He won. He was efficient (23-for-33), he found the right receivers (seven in all), he didn't make mistakes (save for the one botched play-action that resulted in a fumble) and he stayed calm and collected throughout.

RUNNING BACKS: B-
Corey Dillon was the name here, but the Eagles did a fairly good job of bottling him up. When backup Kevin Faulk came in, he provided a nice, speedy change (4.8 yards a carry). The pair converted some backbreaking screens, too, to loosen up the Philly defense just enough.

RECEIVERS: B
The star-less group of New England receivers found a star in MVP Deion Branch, who tied a Super Bowl record with 11 catches for 133 yards. The receivers didn't get downfield much (a 27-yarder was the longest pass), but they did what they needed to do. And Mike Vrabel, again!

OFFENSIVE LINE: B
Brady was dropped twice, but for the most part, the line gave him time to throw and did a decent-enough job of opening holes for Dillon and Faulk in the running game. Overall the line was pretty good in stretching out the Philly defensive front, and tackle Matt Light was fantastic.

DEFENSIVE LINE: B
The shiftiness of the front seven got to the Eagles, who went to the pass early. When they tried to run, they were stuffed by the New England front. Richard Seymour had two tackles (and a sack) on his bad knee, and the front kept Philly QB Donovan McNabb contained.

LINEBACKERS: B
Vrabel had a sack and a touchdown catch -- there's a nice combination -- and Tedy Bruschi had seven tackles, a sack and an interception. These guys were active and, with the exception of one drive and one throw, helped blanket versatile RB Brian Westbrook.

SECONDARY: B
How did McNabb not throw for 500 yards on these guys? Rookie Randall Gay was picked on -- that's how he had 11 tackles -- and Philly's Greg Lewis abused rookie Dexter Reid on a long TD pass. But the other two TD passes were not on the secondary. Credit where credit's due.

SPECIAL TEAMS:B
Josh Miller and the punt team were very good (three inside the 20), and Adam Vinatieri -- here's a shocker -- made his only field goal try, a 22-yard gimme. The return game wasn't particularly good on kickoffs or on punts. But those guys didn't make any mistakes, either.

COACHING: A
He's Vince Lombardi in a sweatshirt, OK? Bill Belichick neutralized what run game Philly offered. He contained McNabb and forced him to go to the pass. And then he stretched out Philadelphia's defense just enough for Brady to dink the Pats to another three-point Super Bowl win.

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