Patriots overcome 19-point hole, beat Falcons in first Super Bowl OT 34-28

February 6, 2017

NFL

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates after leading his team to a touchdown during an NFL Super Bowl LI football game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017 in Houston. New England won 34-28 in overtime. (Aaron M. Sprecher via AP)

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Sunday, February 5, 2017

For two-and-a-half quarters, it was looking like all anyone would talk about concerning Super Bowl LI (51) was Lady Gaga’s halftime performance.

New England quarterback Tom Brady, and his Patriots teammates, had other ideas.

Brady engineered one of the greatest comebacks in all of sports history, let along the National Football League’s biggest stage, leading the Patriots out of a 25-point deficit and a victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl’s first-ever overtime finish.

The Patriots prevailed 34-28 at Houston’s NRG Stadium on James White’s 2-yard touchdown run in overtime. To get to there, New England scored 19 points in the fourth quarter – along with two 2-point conversions – to tie the game.

Brady, the first quarterback to claim five Super Bowl championship rings, shredded a gradually tiring Falcons defense to the tune of 466 passing yards on 43 of 62 attempts the most ever in a Super Bowl.

Brady was also selected to his fourth Super Bowl most valuable player award, also a record.

Atlanta built a 21-0 lead in the second quarter when Brady threw his first-ever postseason pick-6 to Robert Alford, who returned the interception 82 yards. Earlier NFL MVP Matt Ryan tossed a 19-yard TD pass to tight end Austin Hooper.

In the decisive fourth quarter, Brady threw a scoring pass to Danny Amendola (6 yards) and White’s 1-yard TD run came with 57 seconds remaining in regulation. White ran for the Pats’ first 2-point conversion, and Brady threw to Amendola for the second one.

A key play in the game-tying drive was a first-down catch by Julian Edelman, made with three Falcon defenders draped over him.

New England (17-2) won the coin toss to start overtime and ended the game with the first possession. Brady completed six passes in the drive before a pass interference penalty moved the ball to the Atlanta 2-yard line. From there, White ran off right tackle and barely crossed the plane of the goal line.

That touchdown plunge competed White’s night with 139 total yards and three TDs.

Two years ago, the Patriots erased a 10-point deficit to defeat the Seattle Seahawks in SB 49.

Brady missed the first four games of the 2016 season, serving a suspension imposed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell for the “Deflategate” incident. With “Deflategate” safely tucked away in the past, New England won its 25th postseason game – all in the Super Bowl era.

New England was making its ninth Super Bowl appearance. The franchise’s first postseason game was its loss to San Diego in the 1963 American Football League championship.

It was the fifth Super Bowl title for Brady and Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, who became the first head coach to win five Super Bowl rings, passing the four earned by Chuck Noll of Pittsburgh.

Brady also tied Charles Haley for most Super Bowl victories by a player – five.

For the Falcons (13-6), it was the second Super Bowl loss in two attempts in their 51-year history. Atlanta’s first SB loss came in the 1998 season, when Denver defeated the Falcons 34-19 in Super Bowl XXXIII.

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