Super Bowl XXXIX grades: Rodney Harrison records Super Bowl highlight reel

Grades and analysis for every player in the Patriots' Super Bowl XXXIX win over the Eagles.

| 4 months ago
(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Super Bowl XXXIX grades: Rodney Harrison records Super Bowl highlight reel

New England Patriots 24, Philadelphia Eagles 21

As part of our look back at some of the more recent Patriots Super Bowls, here are the top-graded players and most noteworthy performances from the Patriots victory over the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.

Philadelphia Eagles

Quarterback grade: Donovan McNabb, 46.7

Occasion gets to McNabb at most inopportune moment

We all know the score. In the biggest game of his life, Donovan McNabb just couldn’t rise to the occasion, with a performance that was both skittish in the pocket, lacking in urgency in trying to comeback, and full of what were then uncharacteristic mistakes. His work on intermediate throws (10-19 yards) was particularly disappointing, as he went five of 12 with a touchdown and a pick in critical situations.

Donovan McNabb vs. pressure in Super Bowl XXXIX

Top offensive grades:

WR Terrell Owens, 81.1

LT Tra Thomas, 75.4

WR Greg Lewis, 73.7

RT Jon Runyan, 73.5

C Hank Fraley, 72.5

The crazy thing about Owens’ 122-yard day was that he did it so soon after breaking his leg. It was, in many respects, a herculean effort that deserved more as Randall Gay in particular couldn’t keep up with him. Much is rightly made of the offense’s struggles at the quarterback spot, but it’s often forgotten they averaged just 2.6 yards per attempt running the ball, with Brian Westbrook having next to no joy on the ground in a disappointing effort by his standards. He did catch seven balls, but he also gave up three pressures.

Top defensive grades:

S Michael Lewis, 87.3

CB Roderick Hood, 79.4

DT Corey Simon, 78.3

LB Jeremiah Trotter, 77.1

LB Dhani Jones, 71.7

If you want to know why you don’t blitz Tom Brady in a Super Bowl, here’s your reasoning. The Eagles blitzed on 54.3 percent of passing downs, and the result was just the one sack and a distinctly un-rattled number 12. You can understand why they did it, though—only two players on the defense had more than one hurry (Derrick Burgess and Corey Simon had three each) as the Patriots got rid of the ball quickly (2.38 seconds to throw) and held up on the line.

New England Patriots

Quarterback grade: Tom Brady, 82.7

Brady fails to misstep in excellent performance

In many respects, this was a lot like Tom Brady’s first Super Bowl win. The key was avoiding mistakes, and that he did (and then some). There were no deep completions, but he was accurate when he needed to be, completing six of eight passes in the 10-19 yard range, and never putting the ball in harm’s way. It was a truly professional effort from a quarterback who looked so at home playing in a Super Bowl.

Tom Brady vs. Pressure in Super Bowl XXXIX

Top offensive grades:

WR Deion Branch, 85.4

QB Tom Brady, 82.7

LT Matt Light, 81.1

TE Daniel Graham, 78.2

LG Joe Andruzzi, 74.0

Patriots’ offense just does enough

This wasn’t a game where New England marched on the Eagles’ defense mercilessly. Indeed, for large parts of the game, the Philadelphia defense looked to be on top. But they stood up and made plays when they needed to, and none more so than Deion Branch, who went to work on Sheldon Brown with a 133-yard day. They needed it, as well, because while they eventually got the run game going, it was something of a slog against the deep rotation of the Eagles.

Top defensive grades:

S Rodney Harrison, 90.6

LB Tedy Bruschi, 87.2

DT Richard Seymour, 81.4

DT Jarvis Green, 76.5

CB Asante Samuel, 76.3

Harrison records Super Bowl highlight reel

You can imagine Donovan McNabb falling asleep that night thinking, “If only Rodney Harrison wasn’t there.” McNabb’s worst moments seemed to always come with Harrison in shot, first deflecting a ball that would be picked, only to be negated by a penalty. Harrison then intercepted him on the next play, before lastly picking McNabb off to ice the game. Harrison’s performance was more than just about those big plays that were so pivotal in defining the outcome of the game, as he put forth the kind of game most players can only dream about.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Rodney Harrison, S, Patriots

Click the tables below to expand.

Patriots '04 season Super Bowl grades

Patriots SB defense grades '04 season

Eagles '04 season Super Bowl grades

Eagles SB defense grades '04 season

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