Super Bowl LI Recap
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No matter who won, Super Bowl LI would make history. The game pitted Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Atlanta had only been to the big game once, and had never won. New England was searching for it’s fifth trophy, all under Brady, and a win would give him the most Super bowl wins ever by a quarterback.
The Falcons had a historic offense in 2016, with league MVP Matt Ryan leading the way. He threw the ball for almost 5,000 yards and 38 touchdowns, with only seven interceptions. Around 1,400 of those yards went to just one receiver, Julio Jones, who caught 83 passes and six touchdowns.
The Patriots, on the other hand, had the advantage on defense. Coming into the game, they were the best defense in the league. On the other side of the ball, they were also extremely successful. Even though their star quarterback, Tom Brady, was suspended for the first four games due to a scandal, they still managed to finish the season with only two losses. They won both of their playoff games with ease, winning by 18 and 19 points.
The game started off slow. In the first quarter, both teams failed to score a single point. The Patriots managed to keep the Falcons out of the end zone on their opening drive, the first team to do so in nine straight games. Atlanta gave Tom Brady trouble early as well, hitting him multiple times and preventing him from moving down the field.
In the second quarter, however, the Falcons picked up the pace. They scored touchdowns on their first two possessions of the half to give them a 14-point lead. Then, their defense intercepted Tom Brady and returned the pick for a touchdown to extend the lead to 21 points. The Patriots managed to get on the scoreboard before halftime, scoring a field goal on their final drive.
In the Super Bowl, no one had ever come back from a 18-point deficit at halftime. As the second half started, most people around the country believed that the game was pretty much over. The Falcons scored again in the third quarter, stretching their lead to a hefty 25 points.
However, Tom Brady and the Patriots did not give up. Late in the third quarter, Brady passed to receiver James White for New England’s first touchdown of the night. Their kicker, Stephen Gostkowski, missed the extra point, leaving the Patriots with only nine points. Entering into the fourth quarter and still down by 19, a miracle would have to happen for Bill Belichick and the Patriots to win.
A miracle is exactly what happened. The Patriots shut out the Falcons in the fourth quarter, and kicked a field goal on their first drive of the quarter to narrow the lead down to 16. To tie and send the game to overtime, they had to score two touchdowns and successfully convert two two-point conversions.
Three plays later, Atlanta fumbled and New England recovered. Within five plays, the Patriots had scored another touchdown on a six-yard pass. They made the two-point conversion easily, with James White running up the middle into the end zone. The next time they got the ball, they scored again, and barely converted the two-point conversion. The game was now tied, with New England somehow pulling off the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.
The game went to overtime, the first time that any Super Bowl had to go to extra time. The Patriots got the ball first, and if they scored a touchdown on the first drive, they would win the game. And that is exactly what they proceeded to do, with James White – again – scoring a touchdown on a five-yard run.
The New England Patriots were Super Bowl champs for the fifth straight time.