In a crazy game that will live long in the memory England roared into the lead as they showed no signs of disappointment that the title had already been claimed by Wales earlier in the day with their win over Ireland. Jack Nowell grabbed the first try after 56 seconds and further scores by Tom Curry, Joe Launchbury and Jonny May – his sixth of the championship, had them 31-7 up at the break after Stuart McInally scored a charge-down try in a rare bright moment for the visitors. Scotland were unrecognisable in the second half though, scoring four tries in 13 minutes - two for wing Darcy Graham and one each for Magnus Bradbury and man-of-the-match Finn Russell meant that after an hour they had come back from 31-0 down to level the game at 31-all.
They then looked to have snatched their first Twickenham win since 1983 when centre Sam Johnson blasted through four defenders to score in the 76th minute, only for replacement flyhalf Ford to find a way through under the posts at the death. The one consolation for Scotland is that they retain the Calcutta Cup after their win in Edinburgh last year.
England finished second in the Six Nations standings on 18 points, five behind champions Wales. Scotland, who won only game, against Italy, finished second-last. If there was any feeling of flatness after Wales’s win it was blown away within 56 seconds as Henry Slade advanced into acres of space to send Nowell over in the corner.
A lineout catch and drive pushed Curry over for the second in the ninth minute and a bullocking run by prop Kyle Sinckler opened the way for Launchbury to grab the third before a brilliant one-handed offload by Slade gifted May the fourth. Scotland looked shell-shocked but did at least get on the scoreboard when McInally charged down Owen Farrell on halfway and somehow evaded May to trundle 50 metres over the line.
To say it galvanized them would be an understatement. Some nice passing fashioned a gap for winger Darcy to burst through some soft tackles and score in the corner and then a break by scrumhalf Ali Price set up number eight Magnus Bradbury. Coach Gregor Townsend sent on five replacements in one go after 56 minutes and, 30 seconds later and with England’s defence in disarray, Graham scored again. Almost unbelievably, a fourth try in 13 minutes made it 31-31 as Finn Russell picked off a Farrell pass on the halfway line and gleefully ran in under the posts. England were all over the place, missing tackles, dropping the ball in contact and, just as in the latter stages of their defeat by Wales, unable to stem the tide.
A stunning defeat looked on the cards when Johnson seized on another dropped ball to slice through from 40 metres but England blushes were spared to a degree when Ford scored under the posts and landed the simple conversion. "I'm gutted," said Russell. "At halftime everyone would have written Scotland off. For us to come out and have a second half like that shows the character the boys have. I'm just so disappointed we didn't manage to finish it off at the end.
"We had nothing to lose and we played our rugby. We played good Scottish rugby the second half. "There were a lot of injuries but the boys who have filled in have been outstanding. The whole campaign has been frustrating. We've had close games and not played at our best sometimes. But it's a good way to finish with the Calcutta Cup back in Scotland."
(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Tony Lawrence)