Super Bowl LI Recap: Patriots Complete All-Time Comeback
By: Jack Linnehan
In what was arguably the most exciting Super Bowl ever, the New England Patriots overcame a 25 point deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons, 34-28 in the first ever overtime Super Bowl. Tom Brady was named MVP for a record 4th time, as he captured his 5th ring, tying Charles Haley for most all-time.
Though heralded as a matchup between Atlanta’s offense and New England’s defense, both ranked #1 in scoring in the regular season, it was Atlanta’s defense that stymied the Patriots through the first half, leading 21-3 at halftime. This was punctuated by an 82-yard pick six courtesy of the Falcon’s Robert Alford. The Falcons scored again with 8:32 remaining in the 3rd, setting up a 28-3 lead. Their win probability reached a peak of 99.6%.
But, as the saying goes, “it ain’t over till it’s over.” The Patriots went on to score 31 unanswered points and secure their 5th Lombardi trophy. Brady, for all his struggles in the first half, was as surgical as ever, leading 3 touchdown drives and converting both two-point conversions required to tie the game.
But the real highlight was Julian Edelman’s improbable circus-act catch on the game-tying drive. You have to see it to believe it, so here you go.
The catch harkened back memories of David Tyree and Jermaine Kearse, only this time the Patriots were on the receiving end of a miracle catch.
The Patriots won the overtime coin toss and never let the Falcons touch the ball again. Nine plays later, James White dove across the goal line (his 3rd touchdown of the game), clinching a victory and the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. Roger Goodell was forced to hand off the Lombardi to Bob Kraft, as Brady and Belichick looked on in glee.
The Patriots and Falcons set or tied 31 records in the game, though some were set by the Patriots just appearing in the game. In addition to the winning records, Brady broke his own record by completing 43 passes, and smashed Kurt Warner’s passing yards record with 466 yards. James White set a record with 14 catches and tied the touchdown record with 3, most recently set by Terrell Davis in Super Bowl XXXII.
Luckily for football fans, the offseason’s rather short. Draft day is April 27, and the Cleveland Browns are on the clock.