The greatest quarterback of all time capped off the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, leading an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on the opening possession of the first Super Bowl overtime. Here's what we learned in the New England Patriots' 34-28 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI: 1. After throwing a second-quarter pick-six to put his team in a seemingly insurmountable 21-0 hole, Tom Brady bounced back in the most dramatic fashion possible, earning Super Bowl MVP honors for an unprecedented fourth time. En route to a Super Bowl-record 466 passing yards, Brady erased a 25-point second-half deficit by orchestrating four touchdown drives and a field goal in New England's final five series. Thumbing his nose at Father Time in the last game of his thirties, Brady completed 26 of 33 passes (78.7 percent) for 284 yards (8.6 yards per attempt), two touchdowns and a 122.7 passer rating on those five legacy-cementing possessions from the middle of the third quarter through James White's game-ending touchdown run. "There were a lot of plays," Brady told Fox Sports' Terry Bradshaw during the presentation of the Lombardi Trophy. "Coach talks about how you never know which play it's going to be in the Super Bowl. There were probably 30 of them tonight. Any one of those would have been different, the outcome would have been different." 2. If the quarterback position wasn't the most uniquely important in all of professional sports, White would have been the runaway choice as MVP. The shifty scatback authored the most brilliant performance of his career on the game's brightest stage, hauling in a Super Bowl-record 14 receptions for 110 yards while adding three touchdowns and a clutch two-point conversion. From Kevin Faulk to Danny Woodhead to Shane Vereen and, now, to White, no quarterback utilizes pass-catching "satellite" backs to greater effect than Brady. 3. Nine years later, the Patriots extracted a decent payback for David Tyree's miraculous "Helmet Catch," instrumental in the Giants' Super Bowl XLII upset. Facing an eight-point deficit with 3:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, Brady unfurled an ill-advised pass over the middle into double coverage. Although the ball was tipped by Robert Alford as two other defenders arrived, the cornerback's leg prevented it from falling incomplete. Julian Edelman plucked the ball off of Alford's ankle, bobbled it for a second and somehow hung on without allowing it to hit the turf. Edelman's "Ankle Catch" is New England's answer to the circus-catch antics of Tyree and Seahawks wideout Jermaine Kearse. "I couldn't believe it," Brady said after the game. "One of the greatest catches. You know we've been on the other end of a few of those catches." 4. If the prolate spheroid had bounced differently in the second half, the Falcons could have turned Super Bowl LI into a lopsided laugher. Reminiscent of the Seahawks' lopsided Super Bowl XLVIII victory, when Dan Quinn's Seattle defense dominated Denver's record-breaking offense, the Falcons simply outclassed the Patriots in terms of speed and athleticism for the first 40 minutes of Sunday's ultimate affair. Atlanta jumped out to a forbidding 28-3 lead, with fleet-footed middle linebacker Deion Jones setting the tone as a true sideline-to-sideline force on defense and big-play tailback Devonta Freeman shredding New England's defense on the other side of the ball.
Patriots erase deficit, defeat Falcons in Super Bowl LI
NFL.com | Feb 6