HOUSTON — It was over. You thought it. The Falcons thought it. Everyone on Earth thought it.
But we all forgot, in that moment, something vital. The Patriots had the best quarterback to ever play the game. They may have had the best athlete in American sports history. They had Tom Damn Brady.
What else can you say? What words can you use? How do you keep describing what he does? How many times can your eyes pop out of your head?
"I'm numb and I can barely talk," said tight end Martellus Bennett.
"He is amazing, the most amazing player I'll ever see or play with," said receiver Chris Hogan.
"There's nothing you can really say," said a stunned Matt Ryan.
"I'm at a loss for words," said Julian Edelman.
We all are. The only thing that can leave social media, players and Roger Goodell speechless is Tom Damn Brady. Not Lady Gaga.
Pats 34, Choking Birds 28, in overtime, Super Bowl 51.
GOAT quarterbacks: only one.
It's officially settled as to who is the best to ever do this. Brady is the only quarterback in history with five Super Bowl wins, and he pulled off the most impossible comeback we've ever seen in Super Bowl history. If you are still arguing who is the best quarterback ever, you are doing this wrong.
We witnessed the best football game of all time, the best quarterback of all time, combined with the greatest choke of all time. This is what it must have been like to watch Ali in his prime, or someone walking on the moon; this is what it was like to watch Michael Jordan.
The Patriots had a first-round pick taken away and Brady suspended for four games because of Deflategate, and still, here we are. They lost Rob Gronkowski for most of the season, and here we are. After the game, as Goodell tried to speak to the crowd at NRG Stadium and introduce the Patriots, the boos were so loud, they drowned out the commissioner's voice. They were reverberations from various Gates and fights between the league and Patriots.
But in another classic Brady moment, the Patriots quarterback shook Goodell's hand on the stand as the Lombardi Trophy was handed over in what was a show of class, coming after what was a display of staggering football skills, leadership and guts. Pure, unadulterated guts.
In reading Goodell's lips, as he addressed Brady, we saw Goodell say to the quarterback: "It was awesome."
The 25-point comeback is the greatest in Super Bowl history. The previous largest comeback was 10 points. Brady now has four Super Bowl MVPs, a record. He should have five, but Deion Branch was named the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX. Brady's 43 completions, 62 attempts and 466 passing yards Sunday were all Super Bowl records.
The score was 28-3 Falcons.
Then, it was Tom Damn Brady's turn.
"We're all going to remember this for the rest of our lives," Brady said.
Later, he added: "There was a lot of s--t that happened tonight."
Great s--t if you're Brady and not so great s--t if you're the Falcons.
At halftime, Brady and Bill Belichick were both calm, despite the 21-3 deficit, and despite the fact the Falcons came out so big. There were no tossed chairs or exclamations. Defensive lineman Chris Long remembers Belichick, almost matter-of-factly, saying they had a good chance for a comeback.
"We all believed it," Long said.
When asked what Brady said at halftime, linebacker Dont'a Hightower said it was: "Do your job. Finish."
The Falcons took a 28-3 lead with 8:31 left in the third quarter. The Patriots outgained the Falcons in yardage, 351-44, and in first downs, 24-3, from that point.
One play highlighted it all and will go down in history alongside the wild David Tyree catch that helped the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII: the Edelman catch on the Patriots' game-tying drive. It was a piece of art.
"It was one of the greatest catches I've ever seen," Brady said. "I don't know how the hell he caught it."
The Patriots were down by eight points. There were just over two minutes left in the game. On 1st-and-10 from the New England 36, Brady threw into traffic, explicitly, toward Edelman, despite two Falcons players guarding him.
The ball deflected off the hands of cornerback Robert Alford, and off a leg, and, eventually, Edelman caught it with the football literally being a few inches off the ground. Then the ball came loose, and he had to catch it again, this time with the ball just a few centimeters off the ground. The Patriots scored four plays later and then got the two-point conversion. It will go down as the wildest play in Super Bowl history.
"We've been on the other end of a few of those catches," Brady said.
"It hurts, man," said Falcons wide receiver Taylor Gabriel. "It hurts to come this far with your brothers, and two weeks of grinding, trying to be perfect, and perfection, things like that. To come up short like that, man, it hurts. I'm at a loss for words right now because I can't believe it."
Edelman said the key to the catch, and the Patriots' win, was their conditioning, specifically, the hills players run at the team complex. They ran those hills all the way up until they got on the plane for the Super Bowl.
Did he believe he made the catch? "I had it," he said.
If there is one more thing to say about a man who leaves us speechless, it is this. Owner Robert Kraft said Brady's mother, Galynn Brady, had been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments all season. Kraft didn't add any other specifics.
Yes, he's incredible.
"This guy is always going to come through for you," said Bennett of Brady.
It was over. You thought it. The Falcons thought it. Everyone on Earth thought it.
But we all forgot about Tom Damn Brady.
Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.