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Today in Sports History: 2/5 | Patriots’ Historic Comeback in Super Bowl LI

Today in sports history (2017), Tom Brady and the New England Patriots completed one of the biggest comebacks in sports history. The New England Patriots took down the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

This win came on the tails of the Patriots coming back from 28-3 in the third quarter. The Patriots came into this game with a 14-2 record, good for the top seed in the AFC. The Falcons were led to an 11-5 season, behind the play of Matt Ryan. New England came into the game favored by three points in the Super Bowl odds.

falcons super bowl
Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Falcons Start Hot in Super Bowl LI

With two high-powered offenses, you would think that this game would see a lot of points. That was not the case in the first quarter of Super Bowl LI, as both teams punted to each other twice in the opening quarter. The longest play of the first quarter came from Devonta Freeman. He ripped off a 37-yard run, which ultimately lead to zero points. Freeman’s run was actually the longest rush of both teams throughout the game.

To open the second quarter, Brady connected with Julian Edelman for 27 yards. On the Patriots’ next play, LeGarrette Blount was stripped by Deion Jones and the Falcons recovered the ball. Ryan started the drive completing two passes to Julio Jones for a combined total of 42 yards. Freeman eventually ended the drive scoring the first points of the game with a five-yard touchdown.

The Patriots were forced to punt on their next possession. After New England’s punt, Ryan once again marched down the field and hit Austin Hooper for a 19-yard touchdown. Brady and the Patriots then began to march. Aided by three defensive holding calls on three third downs, New England was on the Atlanta 23. Brady’s next pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Robert Alford. On their next possession, James White and Martellus Bennett helped New England score a field goal.

super bowl li new england patriots today in sports history
Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times

Patriots’ Historic Super Bowl Comeback

The Patriots punted on their first drive on the third quarter. After two long completions to Taylor Gabriel, Ryan finished their drive with a six-yard passing touchdown to Tevin Coleman to bring the score to 28-3. Those would be the last points that the Falcons scored all game.

New England immediately answered with a White five-yard touchdown reception. On the subsequent extra point, Stephen Gostkowski missed, making the score 28-9. The Patriots tried to ride their momentum by attempting an onside kick. This was recovered by Atlanta. During Atlanta’s drive, Ryan was sacked on third and long, forcing them to punt.

Starting at their own 13-yard line, Brady worked the ball down the field completing passes to Bennett and Malcolm Mitchell. The drive stalled in Atlanta territory as Brady was sacked. This led to a field goal. With just less than 10 minutes remaining, the Falcons were up 28-12. New England finally got a turnover on Atlanta’s next possession as a result of a Ryan fumble. The Patriots quickly scored with an Amendola six-yard reception. White ran in the subsequent two-pointer.

To try and bury New England, Atlanta came out hot, including a twisting grab from Jones to move the chains. Atlanta looked to ice the game with 4:40 remaining.

After a sack, the Falcons were forced to punt again. With 3:30 left, the Patriots needed to go 91 yards with two timeouts. Chris Hogan got into the mix, converting a third and 10. During the drive, Brady threw a pass that was deflected but ultimately caught by Edelman in the middle of the field. Atlanta challenged the play, but it was ruled complete and they were charged a timeout. The Patriots eventually scored with a White one-yard touchdown and an Amendola two-pointer to tie the game at 28.

New England Patriots Win Super Bowl LI in Overtime

The Patriots won the coin toss in overtime and elected to receive the ball. Brady completed multiple passes to White, Edelman and Hogan to move the chains. New England found themselves on the Falcons’ 15-yard line.

After throwing an incompletion to Bennett, defensive pass interference was called. This gave the ball to New England on the two-yard line. On the first play, Brady threw another incompletion to Bennett. Finally, White took a toss and stretched for the end zone, where he scored the game-winning touchdown, winning Brady his fifth Super Bowl.

Washington Commies

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