(NationalSentinel) Super Bowl LI truly was a game for the ages, featuring no shortage of record-breaking suspense and living up to its hype as the Atlanta Falcons couldn’t pull off a victory over the New England Patriots, despite a huge lead at halftime.
As reported by the Boston Herald, the Falcons – appearing in only their second Super Bowl in franchise history – may have had the NFL’s best offense during the regular season and the league’s MVP in quarterback Matt Ryan, but they just couldn’t stop the Tom Brady-led juggernaut:
Tom Brady and the Patriots rewrote the history books and the storylines last night with their epic, 34-28 victory against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. They trailed 28-3 midway through the third quarter before ripping off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Prior to this, the Pats’ 10-point comeback two years ago against the Seahawks had set the bar.
Tom Brady completed 43 of 62 passes for 466 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and he was 12 of 16 for 150 yards on the tying and winning drives in the fourth quarter and overtime. The five-time champion led his 51st game-winning drive in the 51st Super Bowl.
The Falcons jumped out to an early lead – 21-0 – off two offensive touchdowns and a Robert Alford interception of Brady after he jumped the route and returned an interception for an 82-yard touchdown.
After a halftime featuring a knock-out performance by Lady Gaga, the Patriots continued to look moribund until about midway through the third quarter. By the end of the quarter, the Pats had trimmed the Falcons’ lead to 28-9 after finally finding the end zone, but missing the extra point.
In the fourth, Brady and the offense came alive, while the defense stepped up and blunted successive Falcons drives:
The Patriots found a small spark when Brady hit White for a 5-yard touchdown that made it 29-8 with 2:06 remaining in the third quarter, but the comeback truly began with 8:24 to play in the fourth. Dont’a Hightower strip-sacked Matt Ryan, and Alan Branch recovered at the Falcons’ 25-yard line. Five plays later, Brady and Danny Amendola hooked up for a 6-yard touchdown, and James White scored a 2-point conversion on a direct snap to make it 28-20.
The Falcons then looked like they’d ice the game by marching to the Patriots’ 22-yard line in three plays, but Trey Flowers’ sack and Chris Long’s forced holding penalty pushed them out of field-goal range.
The Pats took over at their own 9-yard line with 3:30 to play, and Brady found a rhythm after the drive opened with back-to-back incompletions. He hit six of his next seven passes for 90 yards, and White scored a 1-yard touchdown to make it 28-26. Brady then hit Amendola for the 2-point conversion to force overtime for the first time in Super Bowl history.
For the record, in a pre-game interview with Fox News‘ Bill O’Reilly, President Donald Trump predicted an 8-point Patriots victory. He was close; the Pats won by six.