With a historic overtime finish, the New England Patriots would score 21 unanswered points to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in Super Bowl 51.
This game started out all Falcons, as Atlanta engineered two quick scoring drives, both five plays each, taking less than two minutes off the clock. Falcons’ running back Devonta Freeman capped off a 71-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown run in their first strike, followed by the Matt Ryan- Julio Jones show in the second drive, setting up a 19-yard touchdown toss to tight end Austin Hooper, with the score now 14-0, in favor of the Falcons. New England began to put some plays together, and would dominate the rest of the first half in time of possession. On their first drive, however, it finished with a pick six for Atlanta’s defense, as Patriots quarterback and future Hall of Famer Tom Brady was intercepted on a quick third and six route, bringing the score to a surprising 21-0, with just two minutes left in first half. On the next drive, Brady began to find a groove and New England was able to put three points on the board before halftime.
While some thought this game was over and Atlanta had it in the bag, we all know better than to count out a team with Brady under center and Bill Belichick on the sideline. The Falcons offense picked up where they left off in the second half, with an eight play, 85-yard drive ending with a six-yard touchdown pass to running back Tevin Coleman, making it now 28-3. Brady and company responded with a James White touchdown, but missed the extra point, with the score now 28-8. Yet another Brady-led drive was well defended by the Falcons defense, allowing just a field goal. The score was now 28-12 with Atlanta safely out in front. Or so we thought.
Atlanta finally made a mistake with just under eight minutes left in regulation, and it was a critical one. Freeman failed to execute his block, and New England took advantage with a sack/strip, giving the Patriots excellent field position. Brady responded with a Danny Amendola touchdown and a successful two-point conversion, bringing the score to 28-20, with just under six minutes to play in the game. When they needed it the most, New England’s defense held Ryan and the Falcons from scoring, and Brady was given the ball back with plenty of time to tie this thing up. Aided by an unbelievable Julien Edelman circus catch, the Patriots drove down for a touchdown, and with a two-point conversion, forced the first ever overtime in Super Bowl history.
After winning the coin toss, Brady successfully engineered a drive to Atlanta’s two-yard line. James White pushed his way into the end zone, and just like that, the Patriots won their fifth Super Bowl title. This amazing, come-from-behind victory cemented this New England team as one of the greatest ever, and proved that you can never give up no matter how grim the outcome looks.