Some quick observations on the Patriots thrilling come-from-behind Super Bowl win.
Sorry World, we all know you are sick of seeing the Patriots win but you’ve got to put up with another Super Bowl win. And this one was one for the ages.
After being down 21-0 and 28-3, Tom Brady led an epic comeback to push the Patriots to an overtime win over the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in what had to be one of the best Super Bowls in the 51-year history of the game. James White ran the ball in from the 2-yard line with just over 11 minutes left in OT, his third TD of the game to finish the most improbable of comebacks.
The Patriots seemed dead in the water late in the third quarter, the Falcons had everything going their way, the high-flying offense was clicking and their young, fast and athletic defense was all over the field and doing a tremendous job of disrupting the timing of the NE-wide receivers. Tom Brady was being hit, more and more often as the Patriots had to abandon the running game.
Brady Incredible 4th Qtr/OT: But Tom Brady has the heart of a lion and he never quit, never got frustrated and kept grinding. His fourth quarter was one for the ages. The drive to send the game to extra time was a Brady classic, a 91-yard drive in 10 plays in 2:33 followed by a two-point conversion, a pass from Brady to Danny Amendola to tie things up.
The Patriots won the toss in OT and promptly drove down the field 75 yards in 8 plays where White sent New England home with its fifth Lombardi Trophy.
Brady finished 43-62 for an NFL record 466 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT. After his fourth-quarter heroics in the Super Bowl two years ago against Seattle, I thought his place in NFL history was cemented. But this one was even bigger, this was a comeback for all time greatness and even his harshest critics will be left scrambling for answers now. He stands alone with 5 SB wins, 4 SB MVPs and IS the greatest QB of all time.
With the game seemingly lost, Brady rallied the team and caught fire. He finished 26-33 for 283 yards as the Patriots scored on their last five possessions in regulation and overtime combined.
Matt Ryan continued the trend of the regular season MVP losing the Super Bowl despite playing very well. Ryan finished 17 of 23 for 284 yards and two touchdowns. But the Falcons only scored seven points in the second half, something that will haunt Ryan over the summer.
James White had a phenomenal game and caught an NFL record 14 passes for 110 yards and a score. He added six carries for 29 yards and two more scores.
Uncharacteristic Mistakes Hurt Early: The Patriots were victimized by a LeGarrette Blount fumble, something he rarely does and a terrible decision by Brady where he was picked off for his first pick-six in his playoff career.
Blount hadn’t fumbled since Week 2 but great credit has to go to Deion Jones the Falcons linebacker who stripped the ball. The Falcons quickly turned that turnover into seven points.
Brady made a poor decision under pressure and attempted to go to Danny Amendola while Julian Edelman was wide open across the middle. The ball was expertly picked off by Robert Alford who returned it 81 yards for a touchdown that made the score 21-0.
Run Defense Settled Down After Being Gashed Early: On the Falcons first run of the night, Devonta Freeman burst 37 yards for a tremendous run to get them out of a deep hole in their own zone. But after that, he carried 10 more times for 38 yards. He finished with an impressive 5.8-yard average but after that big first carry, the defensive line did a better job of buckling down.
Tevin Coleman had seven rushes for 29 yards. But the two backs only caught 3 passes out of the backfield, although one from Freeman went for 39 yards.
The Patriots defense wasn’t great… but they regrouped and made some really big stops in the second half, allowing Brady and the offense the time they needed to engineer the comeback. Atlanta was just 1-8 on third down.
When the team really needed a turnover, Dont’a Hightower delivered, a strip sack of Ryan that set-up Brady in the offense in great field position to score in the fourth quarter. When the smoke clears, the defense allowed Ryan and the high-flying Atlanta offense only 21 points.
So, the Patriots broke the NFL record for the largest deficit ever, no one had ever come back from a deficit larger than 10 points and the 25-point differential was easily the biggest ever in Super Bowl history. Brady set a plethora of individual records but the bottom line is, this was a fantastic team win. Bill Belichick as always, deflected all of the praise to his assistant coaches and the players but this one is a feather in his cap.
Cue up the Duck Boats Boston, the Champs are coming home! And they now have a ring for the thumb.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2016 NFL Season 2016 Patriots season 2017 Super Bowl Atlanta Falcons Bill Belichick Chris Hogan Danny Amendola Dont'a Hightower Julian Edelman LaGarrette Blount Malcolm Butler Martellus Bennett Matt Ryan New England Patriots NFL Patriots Tom Brady