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Super Bowl LI was a game to end all games with records made and smashed.
Despite a slow start, and as the first quarter of Super Bowl LI ended scoreless, the early minutes of the second quarter also remained scoreless, the Atlantic Falcons defense went to work and recovered a LeGarrette Blount fumble. That turnover would result in the first touchdown of the game as the Falcons marched down the field, ending in a Freeman rushing touchdown making the game 7-0 Atlanta.
That was only the beginning, on their very next drive, Atlanta Quarterback took to the air and drove to the goal finishing up with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hooper.
As the second quarter continued, the Falcons picked up penalties, but that was not enough to take the Pats into the endzone as Brady throws downfield and it was picked off by Robert Alford, who took the ball 82 yards, all the way to the end zone to extend the lead to 21-0 Falcons.
In the sixth Falcon drive of the game, Atlanta got deep into Patriot territory with two passes for 52 yards, finishing off with Running Back Tevin Coleman bringing in a 9 yard touchdown.
Then with just seconds to go in the first half, Stephen Gostkowski hit a 41 yard field goal after a Pat drive down the field, saving New England from a scoreless first half.
At the halftime, Brady had 179 yards passing to Falcon Quarterback, Ryan’s 115. But, the big difference was the ground game with Falcons leading with 86 yards on the ground to New England’s 26.
Fans expected more of the same as the adversaries took to the field again. Matt Ryan had not thrown a pass in over an hour and was expected to be fresh. But, the Falcons couldn’t pull a score out of their first possession of the second half.
It wasn’t looking good for the Pats as they dealt with two dropped passes and a penalty. But, game took on a new light as the Pats worked it slowly down the field then Brady hit White making the game 28-9. Gostkowski extra point kick hits the upright and the score doesn’t change.
With 2 minutes left in the third quarter, the Patriots tried for an on-side kick, the ball hits Gostkowski after nine yards and the Falcons took possession with good field position. But, they were unable to capitalize and a penalty, an incomplete and a sack resulted in a punt and the end of the third quarter.
The first fourth quarter Pat drive saw Brady hit Mitchell not once, twice, but three times taking the ball all the way into Falcon territory. After hitting Bennett at the five yard line, it looked as if another touchdown was coming, but a sack, a short pass and another sack left the Pats on the 15 yard line with fourth and goal.
New England settled for a field goal from Gostkowski bringing the score to 28-12 Falcons.
The Falcon’s eighth drive ended in a fumble, created by Dont’a Hightower
Ryan has the ball again and as he is set to pass, he is hit and fumbles the ball and the Patriots took possession at the Falcons 25 yard line. A sack and a short pass later, Malcolm Mitchell grabs a pass at the ten setting the stage for Amendola catching a touchdown pass, combined with a successful 2-point conversion, to bring the score to 28-20 Falcons.
Ryan took over at the ten, and the drive downfield begins and two successful hits to Julio Jones takes the ball all the way to the Pats 20 and the end looked near.In filed goal range, it looked like it was a gimmee, but a sack and a holding penalty took them out of range, forcing them to punt.
With 92 yards between him and the goal, Brady throws an incomplete, a bomb to Hogan for an incomplete and it is third down. Then a Brady pass hit Mitchell and the Pats are at the 35.
Then the miracle catch of the game by Edelman gave New England fresh momentum and Brady hit Amendola and suddenly, the ball is at the Falcons 20. A dump to White gets the ball to the 8, then again to put the ball on the one. A hand-off to White puts the ball into the end zone and the Pats try for and hit the two point conversion.
The Falcons, after the kick, never have possession of the ball again.
Brady led the Patriots on a 75 yard drive downfield that culminated with a two yard touchdown by White. Bringing a record-breaking Super Bowl 51 to a close with Brady setting a Super Bowl record 43 completed passes out of 62 for another Super Bowl record of 466 yards. The game is also noted for the largest comeback and first ever overtime game in Super Bowl history.