Super Bowl LI: Tom Brady leads New England Patriots epic comeback over Atlanta Falcons in first ever overtime
Tom Brady guides New England Patriots to another Super Bowl victory. | Photo: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Super Bowl LI: Tom Brady leads New England Patriots epic comeback over Atlanta Falcons in first ever overtime

Tom Brady and New England Patriots complete 31-point comeback. Brady wins fifth Super Bowl in Houston, Texas.

kyle-sennikoff
Kyle Sennikoff

In a Super Bowl for the ages, where the outcome was decided in overtime for the first time, Tom Brady guided the New England Patriots to another championship victory, as they defeated the Atlanta Falcons by a final score of 34-28.

The 39-year-old quarterback has now won the biggest game in the NFL five times, utilizing a comeback unseen in football’s biggest game. What started out as a bad night statistically speaking, ended rather well. Brady completed 43 of 62 passes -- racking up 466 yards through the air -- throwing for two touchdowns, and just the one interception, which turned into the only defensive score of the game.

Falcons start hot

It did not always look like it was going to be a close game, as the Atlanta Falcons. The league MVP, Matt Ryan, was locked in, hitting a number of different targets and marched down the field time after time.

On the Patriots third offensive drive of the game, LeGarrette Blount, fumbled the ball after he was stripped by Deion Jones. Five plays later, the Falcons found the back of the end zone.

Ryan needed to get Julio Jones involved somehow and managed to get him, and the drive, going. The Ryan and Jones connection clicked on the first two plays of this scoring drive, with passes going for 19 and 23 yards to get to the other side of the 50 yard line. Then, it was the Devonta Freeman show. Freeman racked up 29 yards on the next three plays to get the Falcons on the scoreboard first.

In the second scoring drive, after New England went three and out, Ryan made full use of his arsenal. The Atlanta quarterback jumpstarted this offensive set with two more big plays: a completion to Taylor Gabriel for 24 yards, before finding Jones again, who made multiple sensational catches on the night. Ryan could not connect with Austin Hooper on the first go, but extended the advantage to two touchdowns one play later.  

The Patriots looked like they were going to get back into this game before halftime, as Brady drove his team down the field, eating a huge chunk of time off the clock. Surprisingly, none of the plays before the turnover went for more than 13-yards, that was until the interception happened. Robert Alford jumped the route and returning it back the other way for an 82-yard score.

A fourth touchdown to start the second half looked to put this game out of reach, with Atlanta’s first Super Bowl in sight. This made sense: they had a 25-point lead, and no one had completed a comeback of more than 14 points in Super Bowl history.

Tom Brady, Patriots complete epic comeback in overtime

But the Patriots have experience on their side and they made the most of that during their methodical drives late in the game.

Julian Edelman made game-saving catch late in the fourth quarter. | Photo: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Julian Edelman made game-saving catch late in the fourth quarter. | Photo: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Time was starting to run out for Brady and the Patriots and they needed a miracle to completely seize control of the momentum they were building. Before the touchdown that would tie the game back, Julian Edelman made a sensational catch with a little over two minutes remaining. The ball was nearly intercepted, but it bounced off a Falcons defender, and before it hit the ground, Edelman secured possession. Four plays later, James White scampered into the endzone from one yard out before New England completed the two-point conversion to send the contest to overtime.

There was no slowing down the Patriots in overtime, as Tom Brady drove the offense down into the endzone with all the ease in the world. The offense was simplified, with the opening five plays were short passes, exposing the middle of Atlanta’s defense.

When they got down inside the 10 yard line, New England made sure to hang on to the ball after a play from the two-yard line was nearly intercepted. Brady handed the ball off to White, who scored his second touchdown of the night, and the biggest one of his career.

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