This 2016-2017 NFL football season came to an end in dramatic fashion last weekend in Houston with the New England Patriots winning a thriller in overtime 34-28 against the Atlanta Falcons. Super Bowl LI was unlike any others because it was the first Super Bowl to go into overtime, and Tom Brady became the first quarterback to win five Super Bowl championships. Overall this Super Bowl from beginning to end was an unforgettable thrill ride that any football fan could enjoy.
This game was the definition of a tale of two halves. The Falcons started the game out strong, while neither team scored until the second quarter. The NFC Champion Falcons looked to be in control of the game. Finally, a score came in the second quarter by the Falcons who gained the momentum that they had for the rest of the first half. With a touchdown run by Devonte Freeman and a touchdown pass by Matt Ryan to Austin Hooper, the Atlanta offense was on fire, but it was the defense that gave them their biggest lead when Robert Alford snagged an 82-yard interception for a touchdown to give the Falcons a 21-0 lead. Before the half, Stephen Gostkowski stopped the bleeding with a 41-yard field goal. The halftime score was 21-3 in favor of the Falcons.
The second half started and the same results happened. Matt Ryan threw his second touchdown pass this time to Tevin Coleman, making it 28-3, the last points the Falcons would score the rest of the game. Then the Patriots gained some life with 2 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter the Patriots mounted a drive inside the Falcons 10-yard line, where the golden boy, Tom Brady threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to James White starting their scoring run, making it 28-9 because of a missed PAT.
When the 4th quarter came around, the Patriots truly started to take over with another field goal by Gostkowski, a Danny Amendola touchdown grab, and a converted 2-point try. The Patriots made it a one possession game, 28-20 with 5:50 to go. This is where the Falcons stepped it up, gaining key first downs and possibly the catch of the year by Julio Jones. The Dirty Birds marched it deep into New England territory. All they needed to do was to run some clock and kick a field goal, but the Falcons decided to throw, which proved to be a costly decision due to a sack and a holding call. Atlanta was forced to punt and give the ball back to Brady with 3 p.m. to go and an 8-point deficit to beat.
The Pats’ final drive was magical with an insane catch by Julian Edelman that no one knew how he caught it. The Patriots went to the 1-yard line when James White ran it in to make it 28-26. Tom Brady added to the magic when he delivered a bullet to Amendola to tie it up 28-28, completing a huge comeback and sending the Super Bowl into overtime for the first time in history.
The overtime coin toss was won by New England, who chose to receive. They ended the game quickly after 4 minutes of driving down the field. The Patriots took it all the way to the 2-yard line where James White barreled his way into the end zone to seal the deal and earn New England their 5th Super Bowl title. It was a crazy ending for a crazy game that was an emotional roller coaster ride. From the high flying Falcons offense in the first half to the complete take over of Tom Brady and the New England offense in the second half, this Super Bowl was truly one to remember.