With the Atlanta Falcons having played in their first Super Bowl since 1999, Super Bowl LI was a game that was expected to be high-scoring. After an emotional pre-game ceremony, that is exactly what it was. What we got was a well-played game. The first overtime game in Super Bowl history. Here is a recap of the final game of the 2016-17 NFL season.
The first quarter was your typical feeling out process. After a couple of big plays by both sides the defenses settled in. Atlanta was able to get to Mr. Brady a couple of times. This could be the key to their success. The Patriots defense was able to get Matt Ryan on the first drive. However, the Falcons were successful on the ground early. This was about all the offense that Atlanta could muster. They were not very successful through the air. Ryan was only 2/2 for 12 yards in the quarter.
Julien Edelman had a big quarter for the Patriots offense. The Falcons defense had no answer for him.
The second quarter started with the game’s first turnover. A great strip by Deion Jones resulted in a fumble by Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount. It was recovered by the Falcons and they took the ball right down the throat of the Patriots defense with Devante Freeman, who ended the drive with a 5-yard TD run.
The Falcons defense continued their spectacular first half with a Patriots three and out following the score.
The Falcons next drive would be led by their fearless leader Matt Ryan. Ryan would continue the drive with a Rodgers esque throw to Julio Jones. His spectacular first-half ended the drive with a TD pass to his TE Austin Hooper.
The Patriots next drive looked promising. This was probably the Falcons worst drive of the first half defensively. It was aided by 3 holding penalties. However, what looked to be at least a field goal for the Patriots ended up being a TD for the Falcons. The play was a pick 6 by Robert Alford on a pass intended for Danny Amendola. That was the first pick 6 of Tom Brady in a postseason game ever.
The Patriots drive, following the turnover, would result in a field goal. It looked like the Patriots would answer with a TD but an obvious holding call on TE Martellus Bennett would push the Patriots back.
That is how the first half would end. A strong offensive and defensive performance from the Atlanta Falcons would give them a lead of 21-3 at the half.
The Falcons opened the second half with the ball. They opened that drive going backward. That made this the first drive of the game that the Falcons did not get a first down.
The Patriots first drive did not start out well either. They continued where they left off in the first half. Brady had the ball on the money a couple times but his receivers could not handle the pass.
The Falcons got back on track after the Patriots punt with a beautifully executed drive by Matt Ryan. The drive was aided by a 3rd down pass interference penalty that resulted in a first down. The following play resulted in a Tevin Coleman TD catch from 6-yards out.
The Patriots would answer back on their next drive with a TD of their own. A well-executed drive by Brady resulted in a 5-yard TD pass to RB James White. However, this drive killed a bunch of time that the Patriots need to get back into this game. The drive used up 6:25 of precious time.
The Falcons would go 3 and out on the following drive and end the 3rd quarter with a sack.
Brady would have a masterful drive to open the 4th quarter. It looked as though the Patriots would get back in the game with a TD, however, sacks by Grady Jarrett on 2 out of next three plays pushed the Pats back and they had to settle for a field goal. Jarrett set a Super Bowl record for sacks by a single player.
The Patriots would answer a Matt Ryan fumble with a TD drive in quick fashion. Brady would find Danny Amendola from 6-yards out for the 6. The successful 2-point conversion by James White would pull the Patriots within 8 with 5:56 left in the 4th.
The Falcons would open the ensuing drive with the longest play of the game, a 39-yard pass to Devante Freeman. Julio Jones would make an insane catch along the sidelines to put the Falcons into field goal range. A sack 2 plays later would put the drive in jeopardy for Atlanta. Then a holding penalty would take the Falcons out of FG range. The Falcons would have to punt it away with 3:30 left.
New England would start their game tieing drive at the 9. They would have to go 91 yards in 3:30. They would be setting up the Brady fireworks. He would take his offense down the field in 10 plays and 2:33 and tie with the successful 2 point play.
That is how regulation would end.
The Patriots would begin overtime with the ball. What would be the result of their drive? Brady would execute throws that he has done his whole career. He would drill pass after pass to his company of WRs. A deadly pass interference penalty on Atlanta would put the ball at the 2-yard line. After an incomplete pass, James White would power his way in and give the Patriots the victory.
Tom Brady would win his 5th Super Bowl. A spectacular comeback and a record setting 31 unanswered points. Brady solidifies his place in NFL history as one of the best if not the best ever as he wins the MVP for the 4th time. Congratulations to the New England Patriots! Your Super Bowl LI Champions.