After one quarter, the score was knotted up at 0, something no one would’ve predicted.
What followed was even more unpredictable. The Falcons opened up a 28-3 lead, only to see it vanish in a 31 point swing to end the game. Tom Brady, the unequivocal greatest of all time, led the Patriots on a journey that saw it end in a 5th title for the dynasty.
It started out with a quarter that was as boring of a quarter as a Super Bowl could start off with, as the score was a whopping 0-0. After that, it became a Super Bowl for the ages. Brady finished with a Super Bowl record 466 yards, 2 touchdowns, and one costly interception that didn’t even matter in the end. James White caught a Super Bowl record 14 balls for 110 yards and one touchdown, with another 29 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground in a performance that couldn’t have been matched by anyone else. Julian Edelman made a juggling catch that was absolutely phenomenal.
However, Matt Ryan and company also put up some fireworks in this game. Ryan threw for 284 yards and 2 touchdowns with a 144.2 passer rating. Julio Jones, who was double-covered all game, still managed 87 yards. The two-headed monster at running back, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for 104 yards on the ground and two scores. None of that was enough, even though it looked like it would be plenty.
The Patriots received the ball first, and they looked to open up quickly against an underrated Atlanta defense. They went three and out to start the game. Then, they punted to Atlanta, who started at the 8 yards line. The Patriots looked to keep the offense in check, but that plan nearly dissolved after Freeman burst through for a 37 yard gain to start the game. It could have been worse, but Ryan took a sack on 3rd down and had to punt it away. The Patriots had a long drive all the way to the Atlanta 49, but it again stalled as Grady Jarrett sacked Brady on third down.
The Falcons again punted, but the momentum shifted their way on the ensuing Patriots drive. Deep in Atlanta territory, Deion Jones forced a fumble. Atlanta recovered, and proceeded to march down the field in 5 plays, capping off a 71 yard drive with a Devonta Freeman touchdown. Julio Jones had 42 yards on the drive. The Falcons continued to bully the Patriots throughout the 2nd quarter, with Austin Hooper catching a Matt Ryan pass in the end zone and Robert Alford scoring a heartbreaking pick-six off of an ill-advised Brady throw. The Patriots went into halftime with only a measly field goal, trailing 21-3.
The 3rd quarter started to look like more of the 2nd. The Falcons started things off with a long drive capped off by a Tevin Coleman pass to make the score 28-3. Little did the Falcons know, Coleman’s touchdown was the last time they would put points on the board. However, the Patriots showed some signs of life, capping a drive off with a James White punch-in. However, even that felt like a loss due to the time it took and Gostkowski missing the extra point. New England couldn’t afford to keep scoring on lengthy drives, or else they would lose to the clock.
The Patriots mounted a drive as soon as they got the ball back in the 4th quarter, but had to settle for a field goal, on which Gostkowski redeemed himself. Due to the clock running out and the score being 28-12, one score for Atlanta would put the game out of reach for the Patriots. On a third down and one on the ensuing drive, disaster struck for the Falcons. Hightower rocked Matt Ryan, knocking the ball free. Alan Branch secured the ball for New England, putting the Brady Bunch in prime position to score. And score they did, with Danny Amendola catching a short pass from Brady. A direct snap play put the Patriots within eight, making it a one-score game. The Falcons failed to score again, and put the ball in Brady’s hands again. To put the ball in Brady’s hands in a clutch situation is to commit football suicide. The greatest of all time had his work cut out for him, and he went to town on it. However, the most notable play of the drive came when Julian Edelman was on the bottom of a pile of multiple Falcons players after a seemingly incomplete pass. The ball ricocheted off of a Falcon cleat before making its final descent onto the turf. However, the hands of Julian Edelman snagged the ball when it was an inch off of the ground. A catch that made David Tyree’s look routine. Four plays later, the Patriots tied the game with a touchdown and a successful two point conversion.
The coin toss was never going to go to Atlanta. If they flipped the thing 100 times, New England would win possession with every flip. The drive started at the 25 of New England, and Atlanta wouldn’t have stopped the Patriots with Tom Brady playing the way he was. He marched them down in 8 plays, with James White punching it in from 2 yards out to seal the deal. White, who received the MVP truck from Tom Brady, had a performance to remember as he started the game as the third string running back in many people’s eyes. Congratulations to the New England Patriots for winning the Super Bowl, and to the duo of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick for winning their fifth ring together!