In a night full of memorable commercials and a halftime show, there was the New England Patriots facing the Atlanta Falcons to determine the best football team for the year. The number one ranked offense, the Atlanta Falcons, was facing off against the number one ranked defense, the Patriots. This game had outbursts of emotions, insane catches by both teams, and a comeback that will be remembered forever.
Both offenses were very stagnant in the first quarter, ending the first quarter with no score. The Falcons and their regular season Most Valuable Player Matt Ryan finally took off in the second quarter with a 71 yard drive culminating in a 5 yard rushing touchdown by Devonta Freeman. In another quick drive, Ryan threw a 19 yard pass to Austin Hooper to extend to a 14-0 lead. Then the impossible happened, Tom Brady threw an interception that was caught by Robert Alford for 82 yard pick six to extend the lead to 21-0. That was the first defensive touchdown against the Patriots all season. To end the half, the Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 41 yard field goal to make it a 21-3 Falcons’ lead at halftime.
The second half is where the game became interesting. The Falcons came out scoring a touchdown on a six yard touchdown pass to Tevin Coleman to extend to a 28-3 lead for Atlanta. With 2:06 remaining in the third quarter, James White caught a five yard pass to cut the deficit to 28-9 after a missed point after touchdown attempt. This is where the tides had begun to turn for both teams.
With 9:44 remaining in the fourth quarter, Gostkowski hit a 33 yard field goal after a 12 play drive to open up the quarter to make it 28-12. After a 5 play 25 yard drive, Brady threw a 6 yard touchdown to Danny Amendola and converted the two-point conversion to make it 28-20 Atlanta. Next drive, New England took 10 plays and went 91 yards to tie the game with 57 seconds remaining in the fourth after White ran a 1 yard touchdown and they converted the two-point conversion. This became the first Super Bowl to enter overtime.
In overtime, if the team scores a touchdown on the opening possession the game is over. The Patriots did just that after a 2 yard run by White to give the Patriots the 34-28 victory. Somehow, Brady walked away with the Super Bowl MVP and the coveted “I’m going to Disney World” line instead of White. Brady went 43 of 62 for 466 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception. White had 6 carries for 29 yards and 2 touchdowns rushing along with 14 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown reception.
Falcons quarterback Ryan went 17 for 23 for 284 with 2 touchdowns. He also became the 17th straight regular season MVP to fail to win the Super Bowl, the last one being Kurt Warner in 1999. After the game, Offensive Coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, Kyle Shanahan, left to take the vacant Head Coach position for the San Francisco 49ers. Will Ryan, Julio Jones, and the rest of the Falcons be able to build on a season of successes after falling short? Will the Patriots keep the system going and be able to win a potential sixth ring? Can another team knock these two teams out of Super Bowl 52? Guess everyone will have to wait another year for these questions to be answered.