Super Bowl LI ends in another big win for the Patriots led by quarterback Tom Brady
The Falcons and Patriots faced-off Sunday for the NFL game of the year. Going into the game, the Patriots were the favorite pick. Four of the five Fox commentators had the Patriots as the likely victor. However, SB Nation was more split with only four of their nine going for the Patriots. Looking into the game, the Falcons were a strong team. Leading the offensive charge was Matt Ryan (QB) who managed to have a great season leading up to the Super Bowl, and Julio Jones (WR) has been on the other end of countless passes. The Falcons managed to score the most points in the regular season giving them a tough offensive line to stop. However, the Patriots had the No.1 scoring defensive line, which made the game appear to be an even split match-up. Not to mention, Brady was fighting for his fifth Super Bowl title. Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw both also held four titles, but Brady of the Patriots was ready to make himself the most decorated in NFL history, and that is just what he did this past Sunday night.
The game started with back-and-forth possessions between the teams. Trey Flowers had a sack on Matt Ryan in the second possession of the game, which forced the Falcons to punt after the play. On the next possession, Courtney Upshaw and Grady Jarrett both had sacks on Tom Brady. Neither of the teams were able to convert in the first quarter.
A fumble early on in the second was recovered by the Falcons. They were then able to score the first touchdown of the game off of a run by a five-yard run by Devonta Freeman up the middle. The kick was good by Matt Bryant to put the Falcons up 7-0 over the Patriots at the 12:20 mark in the second. The Patriots were unable to make any dent on the next play and the ball was quickly turnedover to the Falcons. The Falcons capitalized once again when Austin Hooper reeled in a catch from M. Ryan. The kick was good and the Falcons continued to lead 14-0. Robert Alford gets a big interception off of a throw by Brady intended for Danny Amendola. Alford runs it in for an 82-yard touchdown. Brady had a good throw to James White who had a solid run to get the Patriots nearer to scoring position. White continued to have solid runs, but the Patriots were unable to capitalize, forcing kicker, Stephen Gostkowski, to put in a 38-yard field goal. The Falcons led 21-3 at the half.
A few minutes into the third, Taylor Gabriel made a huge catch from Ryan. Gabriel shook his defender to make a 38-yard catch. The Falcons were able to convert during the drive. Tevon Coleman makes a six-yard catch and Bryant scores the extra point. The Falcons then led 283. On the Patriots possession, Brady makes a 15-yard run to gain first-down. The Patriots were finally able to score late in the third off of a short pass by Brady and five-yard run by White. However, Gostkowski was unable to complete the extra point so the score moved to 28-9.
Moving into the fourth, Brady makes a 25-yard throw to Martellus Bennett but then gets sacked on the next play. He gets sacked again in the same drive which brought the Patriots to 4th and 33. Gostkowski is able to capitalize for a field goal bringing the score to 28-12 with 9:48 left in the game. A big fumble by the Falcons at 8:31 gave the Patriots hope late in the game. Defensive line, Alan Branch, was able to recover the ball for the Patriots. A throw from Brady to Malcolm Mitchell for 12-yards brought the Patriots into scoring position. A short pass to Amendola gave them eight more yards and then they converted on the next play on another short six-yard pass to Amendola. The Patriots went for the two-point conversion and, off of a sneaky play of a direct snap, White rushes down the middle to bring the score to 28-20 to give the Patriots hope late in the fourth.
On the next Falcon possession, Ryan makes a 27-yard throw to Julio Jones, who makes a beautiful catch and just barely manages to get both feet down inbounds. Trey Flowers makes a big sack on Ryan to push them back for third and 23. The Patriots were able to get a stop on the Falcons and brought play-after-play on the next possession. Justin Coleman makes a huge catch that bounced off the leg of a Falcons defenseman. Coleman’s catch mimics the helmet catch from Super Bowl XLII involving New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver David Tyree that happened at the end of the 2008 game in the last two minutes. White runs the ball in for a one-yard touchdown. The Patriots go for the two-point conversion and, due to forward progress, Amendola gets the conversion to bring the score up to 28-28 with 57 seconds left in the game.
This game marked the first game to ever make it to overtime. After a lackluster first half by the Patriots, they put the pedal to the metal to score 25 points in the second half to give them a chance at the trophy.
In overtime, the Patriots get possession. After working their way up the field, White is able to run it in and barely break the plain to give the Patriots AP ImAges the win. They win the game 3428 over the Falcons after a big comeback.
To add to the post-game conversation, Brady was awarded his fourth MVP award. He had a record-breaking 466 passing yards as well as 43 completions which helped the Patriots come back from a 25-point deficit to overcome the Falcons in overtime. Let’s not leave out the semi-ironic press conference causing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to present the trophy to Brady. Goodell was a big reason Brady was suspended for suspicion of using “deflated footballs.” Brady ended up serving a four-game suspension late last year. However, after Sunday night, he is the quarterback with the most Super Bowl titles and a tremendous four MVP awards. Brady did note, however, that he gives a lot of credit to James White, who he believes deserves the award. White managed a record-breaking 20 points and 14 receptions. White is the first player to manage doing all he did Sunday night.