What looked to be one of the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history became the biggest comeback. In an instant classic, the New England Patriots overcame a 25-point deficit on Sunday to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime.
Led by Tom Brady, the Patriots overcame the biggest of odds as they held the Falcons to just seven points in the second half and overtime.
That Super Bowl winning feeling. (📸 via Jamie Squire/Getty Images) https://t.co/a8DkfJ2WnB2017-2-6 03:36:13
|Box Score for Notable Players|
|Matt Ryan (Atlanta)||17/23||284||2|
|Tom Brady (New England)||43/62||466||2|
|Devonta Freeman (Atlanta)||11||75||1|
|Tevin Coleman (Atlanta)||7||29||0|
|LeGarrette Blount (New England)||11||31||0|
|James White (New England)||6||29||2|
|Julio Jones (Atlanta)||4||87||0|
|Mohamed Sanu (Atlanta)||2||25||0|
|Austin Hooper (Atlanta)||3||32||1|
|James White (New England)||14||110||1|
|Julian Edelman (New England)||5||87||0|
|Danny Amendola (New England)||8||78||1|
|Matt Bryant (Atlanta)||0||0|
|Stephen Gostkowski (New England)||2||2|
In a matchup that was pegged as offense vs. defense, the Falcons and their high-powered offense had little difficulty putting up points against the Patriots and their stout defense—particularly in the first half.
Before Lady Gaga electrified those in NRG Stadium and the millions watching at home, the Patriots were facing an enormous 21-3 deficit. History was not on their side, as no team had come back from that type of deficit in Super Bowl history.
The game started 0-0 heading into the second quarter, but then newly crowned NFL MVP Matt Ryan led his Falcons to 21 straight points with a perfect passer rating of 158.3, per NFL.com's Chris Wesseling:
Chris Wesseling @ChrisWesseling
Matt Ryan has a perfect 158.3 passer rating on just 8 first-half throws. #RiseUp2017-2-6 01:04:39
It didn't take long for Ryan to lead his team to another touchdown. The ensuing extra point pushed the score to 28-3 before Brady was able to finally put some points on the board even though Stephen Gostkowski missed the extra point.
The Patriots were never in a rhythm on offense. The absence of Rob Gronkowski was evident during the game, as Brady could not find anyone for a big play down the middle of the field.
It wasn't until the fourth quarter that the Patriots began to threaten Atlanta's lead. A sack-fumble led to the Patriots driving down the field for a Danny Amendola score, and a two-point conversion followed to bring the score to 28-20.
NFL Network @nflnetwork
We've got a one score game, folks! #SB51 https://t.co/temW4pSN3b2017-2-6 02:45:41
The Patriots defense stepped up when it mattered most late in the game, giving Brady the ball back. And that's one player you don't want to give the ball to with the game on the line.
Aided by an incredible Julian Edelman catch, the Patriots were able to tie the game up at 28-28 with less than a minute left.
The Patriots went on to win the coin toss in overtime and drove down the field to Atlanta's 2-yard line. James White dove into the end zone to seal New England's 34-28 win.
With the victory, Bill Belichick and Brady have cemented themselves as one of the most successful head coach-quarterback duos in league history.
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Bill Belichick : 1st head coach with 5 Super Bowl wins 5 NFL championships, 1 shy of NFL record (George Halas/Curly Lambeau) https://t.co/RsVPIDjvak2017-2-6 03:52:24
Considering their beef with the Deflategate scandal, the sweetest part of Brady winning the Super Bowl had to be seeing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell come over to shake his hand after the game.
It's safe to say that Brady and his team got the last laugh on the day and the season.