An Unbelievable Super Bowl 51.
Tom Brady and the Patriots looked absolutely cooked. Brady got knocked around early, they couldn’t establish a run game, and the Falcons offense finally broke through for two touchdowns in the second quarter after a scoreless first quarter. Then, with the Patriots desperately needing to score before half, Brady threw a pick-six to go down 21-0.
Down 28-3 in the third quarter, the Patriots looked dead in the water.
This game was 100 percent headed for another blowout, which would have capped off one of the worst postseasons in NFL history.
Then the Falcons collapsed, committed their first turnover in five games and opened the door for Tom Brady to cement his legacy as the best quarterback we have ever seen.
Some reactions from re-watching the game:
- The Falcons showed no “Super Bowl nerves” off the jump, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They were flying all over the field and getting to Brady, who clearly looked uncomfortable in the pocket for most of the game.
- I expected LeGarrette Blount to have a big day, and in typical NFL fashion, the exact opposite happened. He barely had any success running and even fumbled in a costly spot. The Falcons defense was ready for him, and I think that was a huge reason the Patriots struggled so mightily in the first three quarters.
- The Falcons were having a ton of success running the ball, so why didn’t they pound the ball in the second half? Freeman, who had a few big plays, only had five second-half carries. He looked great almost every time he touched the ball, and the Falcons were in prime position to let him close the game out.
- The Falcons only committed 11 turnovers this season — none this postseason. Up 28-12 with 8 minutes left, on third and 1, Ryan got sacked and fumbled, and that was the clear turning point of the comeback.
- Lost in all of the chaos was the absolutely amazing catch by Julio Jones with 4 minutes left in the fourth. It put the Falcons in another prime position. On the Patriots 22 and just a few minutes remaining, all they had to do was run the ball and kick a field goal to go up two scores. Instead, they got sacked and then committed a holding penalty to take them out of field goal range. They had 1st and 10 from the 22 of the Patriots with 4 minutes left, and ended up having to punt with over 2 minutes left in the game. Horrific game management.
- Just moments after Julio made a catch only a few human beings in the world can make, Edelman somehow one-upped him and made a circus catch that surely left the rest of the world feeling the same way I was. It was official, right then and there, that this comeback was going to come to full fruition. They scored and converted the two-point to tie it, won the coin toss in overtime, and it was history from there.
- Edelman somehow caught this ball.
- Despite letting up a 28-3 lead, the Falcons had the ball with 50+ seconds left to get a game-winning field goal at the end of regulation. They had no timeouts, but refused to go to the sideline or take a deep shot to Julio. That was the last time their offense touched the ball.
- The Falcons have been incredible all season long, and especially in the postseason, on third down. They were 1-7 in this game.
Some mind blowing stats from the first Super Bowl ever decided in overtime:
- The biggest Super Bowl comeback was 10 points. After last night, it’s now 25 points. And the Patriots did it in under two quarters, including coming back from down 16 with nine minutes left.
- Entering the Super Bowl, teams trailing by 25+ held a W-L record of 4-1057 (since 1991, incl. playoffs). It’s nearly impossible to come back from 25 down, and the Patriots did it in the biggest game in all of sports.
- The regular-season MVP is now 0-8 in Super Bowls. Unfathomable.
- Patriots: First team in Super Bowl history to win despite throwing a pick-six. Previous teams who threw a pick-six were 0-12.
- Super Bowl Records set by Brady alone: 7 Super Bowls played; 62 throws attempted, 43 completions; 15 career Super Bowl touchdowns thrown; 466 passing yards in a Super Bowl; 309 career passes in the Super Bowl; 2071 career passing yards. Simply remarkable.
- The Patriots won the time of possession 40:31 to 23:27. Atlanta’s defense was simply tired by the end of this game; they were on the field for 93 plays, while their offense was the field for just 46.
The Patriots completed the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, but that doesn’t happen without the epic collapse of the Atlanta Falcons. They were so close to securing their first title in franchise history, and this one is going to sting … forever. All in all, it was a classic game and one the NFL desperately needed after a boring season and postseason. Brady and Belichick are officially the best QB-Head-Coach duo in the history of the game, and it doesn’t appear they’re going anywhere anytime soon…
“As great as today is, in all honesty, we’re five weeks behind 30 teams in the league in preparing for the 2017 season,” Bill Belichick, Monday morning at the Super Bowl MVP press conference.