Silver City, N.M. – Adding a fifth title to their franchise, the New England Patriots pulled off the greatest comeback in NFL history as they defeated the Atlanta Falcons, 34-28, to win Super Bowl LI.
After having a comfortable lead entering the second half, 28-3, the Falcons chance of winning looked good which would have given them their first Super Bowl title. However, the Patriots kept chipping away at the score in the third and fourth quarter, which would ultimately lead to the first ever overtime in Super Bowl history.
At the 8:31 mark in the third quarter, the Patriots grabbed their first touchdown of the game. Quarterback Tom Brady found running back James White in the backfield for a 5-yard touchdown which made the score 28-9.
In the beginning of the fourth quarter, New England’s defense forced a quick 3-and-out. On the ensuing drive, Brady went to work and complete six of his seven passes. Unfortunately, the drive came to a halt in Atlanta’s red zone and the Patriots had to settle for a 33-yard field. This cut New England’s deficit to 28-12.
Following the next drive, the Patriot’s defense came up big as they forced Falcon’s quarterback Matt Ryan to fumble inside their own territory. Brady capitalized on the great field position and scored in five plays; one of which was a touchdown to wide receiver Danny Amendola. In need of a two point conversion, the Patriots succeeded thanks to a direct snap to White, cutting the lead to a one possession score, 28-20.
Atlanta answered back on the ensuing possession, as they marched down field to New England’s 22-yard line. Again, the Patriots held their own, sacking Ryan for a 12-yard loss. After a holding penalty and an incomplete pass, the Falcons were forced to punt.
New England attained the ball with 3:30 left to play in the fourth quarter. Brady went to work and completed a few passes which led the Patriots offense just outside Falcon territory. The longest play of the drive came from wide receiver Julian Edelman, who juggled a 23-yard pass from Brady, positioning themselves on the 41. After three successful passes, James White ran one-yard for a touchdown, making the score 28-26. With three receivers to the left of Brady, he threw a short pass to Amendola who ran in for the two point conversion, tying the game up at 28-28.
With 57 seconds on the clock, both Atlanta and New England were unable to produce points, which would lead to overtime.
After winning the coin flip, the Patriots elected to receive the ball first. Starting the ball on their own 25, Brady hit White for six-yards, Amendola for 14-yards and Chris Hogan for 18-yards. The Falcons finally forced a negative play, but New England bounced back with a 15-yard pass to Edelman and a 10-yard pass to White. Now on Atlanta’s 15-yard line, linebacker De’Vondre Campbell forced a pass interference penalty, which put the Patriots on the two-yard line. The Falcon’s defense stopped a pass from Brady to Martellus Bennett for the touchdown. However, on the next play, Brady tossed the ball to White who sneaked an inch into the end zone to give the New England Patriots the Super Bowl LI victory, 34-28.
Brady, who was named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player for the fourth time, threw for 466 yards of passing on 43 of 62 completions; each are a Super Bowl record. He also came away with two touchdowns and one interception. In the receiving game, White caught for 110 yards and one touchdown while Edelman snagged 87 yards.
For the Falcons, Ryan earned 282 yards passing and two throwing touchdowns. Wide receiver Julio Jones led the team in receiving yards with 87.
With their fifth Super Bowl title, the Patriots are tied for second in the NFL behind the Steelers who have six.