Patriots Overcome 25 Point Deficit To Win Fifth Super Bowl
The New England Patriots broke Atlanta hearts in Houston, with a stunning overtime victory. The Patriots overturned a 25 point deficit en route to their fifth Super Bowl title.
Tom Brady was named Super Bowl MVP, and became the first quarterback in NFL history to win five Super Bowls. Brady passed for 466 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Atlanta will be left pondering what could have been, but face the harsh reality that they are now 0-2 in the big dance. Result aside this Falcons team played their part in what many will consider as the greatest Super Bowl of all time.
How The Drama Unfolded.
To everyone’s surprise the potent offenses of either team struggled out of the gate, as they traded three and outs. The offensive struggles continued throughout the first as Courtney Upshaw and Grady Jarrett sacked Brady twice in a three play span. Not to be out down by the Falcons defense, defensive tackle Alan Branch registered the Patriots first sack of the night. In doing so, Branch ensured the end of another Falcons drive along with a scoreless first quarter.
The Patriots offense looked to finding some rhythm prior to a LeGarrette Blount fumble. (Dion Jones with the strip). Into the fold stepped Julio Jones, his first contribution was a spectacular grab as he overpowered cornerback Logan Ryan in a contested catch, for a 19 yard gain. Jones followed that up on the next play, reeling in a 23 yard pass. A few plays later and Devonta Freeman made his way to the endzone to put the Falcons up by 7.
The Falcons had soon doubled their advantage, following another Patriots three and out. Ryan hit Taylor Gabriel (24 yards) and Julio Jones (18 yards), prior to converting a third and nine to rookie tight end Austin Hooper for the score.
Aided by three holding calls (all on third down), the Patriots found themselves within striking distance. On a third and six Robert Alford made a fantastic play, picking off Brady and taking it to the house to put the Falcons up by 21. Alford’s pick six was the first in Super Bowl history.
A Stephen Gostkowski 41 yard field goal made the score 21-3, as the teams hit the locker room for half time.
Like the first half, the second half started with both teams trading three and outs. Once again Matt Ryan dissected the Patriots defense, going 52 yards in two passes to Taylor Gabriel. Sanu added another 13 yards, before running back Tevin Coleman sealed the drive to make the score 28-3.
In desperate need of some points the Patriots turned to their backfield. Blount managed the bulk of the work on the ground whilst James White provided Brady with another outlet within the passing attack. Danny Amendola got in on the act, before White reeled in a Pass from Brady to give the Patriots their first touchdown of the night. Stephen Gostkowski missed the extra point (28-9).
The final action of the third quarter, was filled with ineptitude. Firstly the Patriots failed miserably with an attempted onside kick, before the Falcons offense spluttered to halt on a third and eleven, thanks to a Kyle Van Noy sack.
Rookie Malcolm Mitchell played a prominent role, reeling in three targets prior to 25 yard gain by tight end Martellus Bennett (on a third and one). With the Patriots knocking at the door, once again the Falcons needed a play on defense, Grady Jarrett duly obliged, sacking Brady twice in the space of three plays. The Patriots settled for a field goal (28-12).
The tide continued to turn in the Patriots favor as Dont’a Hightower‘s hit on Matt Ryan forced a fumble (Alan Branch with the recovery). Just five plays later and the patriots were back in the endzone as Brady connected with Danny Amendola on a second and two. James White made it a one score game, as he converted the two point attempt (20-28).
An uncovered Devonta Freeman gave the Falcons fantastic field position following a 39 hook up with Ryan. Two plays later and it looked like Atlanta were finally going to put the Patriots away (27 yards to Jones).
However during a second and two, Trey Flowers sacked Ryan for a loss of 12 yards. Things went from bad too worse, as Jake Matthews was flagged for a hold, leaving the Falcons staring at a 3rd and 33 and out of field goal range. Ryan’s incomplete pass to Gabriel gave the Patriots the ball back with 3.36 to play.
Staring at a critical third down, Brady connected with Chris Hogan for 16 yards to keep the chains moving. Four plays later and once again it was time for James White to step into the spotlight. White reeled in two more passes, before punching the ball home, leaving the Patriots in need of another 2 point conversion. Danny Amendola duly obliged and the game was all square at 28 a piece.
With less than a minute on the clock the Falcons had one last opportunity to snatch back victory. However another Patriots defensive stand meant we were heading to overtime for the first rime in Super Bowl history.
The unthinkable, Achieved.
The Patriots won the coin toss and the rest is history. Brady hit White for 16 and 18 yards, before Amendola got in on the action, with an 18 yard grab. Four plays later and the Patriots found themselves on the brink thanks to a pass interference call on Martellus Bennett.
James White then sealed his under the radar heroics on and 2nd and goal, giving the Patriots their fifth Super Bowl.
View Of The Falcons.
Many will consider this loss as one of the biggest collapses in sporting history. I however view it as an incredible effort by a well coached team that no one had in the seasons finale during last summers bold predictions.
The Falcons players, coaches and fans should be immensely proud of the 2016 season. As a fan of pigskin I thank them for contributing to one, if not the greatest Super Bowls ever.
Congratulations to the Patriots, on a truly remarkably achievement. All that’s left now is to figure out what the hell to do on a Sunday for the next few months.
Feature Image by Jamie Squire/ Getty Images