The New England Patriots won a fifth Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night as Super Bowl LI champions with an amazing comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Fans at NRG Stadium in Houston were stunned as the Patriots reeled off 31 unanswered points to cap a 34-28 overtime win. It’s the first Super Bowl ever to be decided in OT.
Here’s a recap of the best highlights and moments from Super Bowl LI.
The coin toss featured a special appearance by former President George H.W. Bush, who flipped the coin. The Falcons won the toss and decided to defer to the second half.
The Falcons made the first big play of the game on running back Devonta Freeman’s 37-yard gain. Atlanta couldn’t convert another third down on the drive, though, and punted the ball away after a sack.
The Falcons’ defense played well early on, and the Patriots’ second drive ended at midfield with a sack of quarterback Tom Brady, who managed to hold onto the ball despite being pummeled.
The Patriots’ first promising drive was halted by a LeGarrette Blount fumble, the first turnover of the game.
This turnover led to the game’s first score, as the Falcons marched down the field and capped the drive with a rushing touchdown by Freeman.
The Falcons scored on their next drive, too. Quarterback Matt Ryan continued to be red hot through the air and finished the drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Austin Hooper.
The 14-point Atlanta lead represented the largest Super Bowl deficit for Brady and head coach Bill Belichick in their Patriots tenures.
No team had ever come back from a two-touchdown deficit to win a Super Bowl. The Patriots erased the largest deficit in a Super Bowl victory when they came back from 10 points down to win 28-24 against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.
The Falcons stopped the Patriots again on their side of the field with a pick-six of Brady to open a 21-0 lead. Defensive back Robert Alford made the play for Atlanta. It was Brady’s first postseason pick-six.
The Patriots had to settle for a Stephen Gostkowski field goal on their final drive of the half to avoid being shut out after 30 minutes.
HALFTIME, 21-3 Falcons
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The Falcons’ offense picked up right where it left off in the first half with a quick touchdown in the third quarter to take a 28-3 lead.
It all started with a Tyler Gabriel catch for a 35-yard gain.
The drive ended with a Tevin Coleman touchdown reception on a Ryan pass.
The Patriots finally got into the end zone to trim Atlanta’s lead to 28-9, and that score held after Stephen Gostkowski missed the ensuing extra-point attempt — his fifth PAT miss of the season.
The Patriots’ defense finally made a play. They sacked Ryan, forced a fumble and recovered it.
Brady and the New England offense then went down the field and scored a touchdown on a Danny Amendola reception.
The two-point conversion try was good, too, on a direct snap to White.
Julio Jones made an insane catch along the sideline to prolong Atlanta’s next drive, but it ended shortly after that because of a penalty and a sack.
The Patriots started at their own 8-yard line on their next drive, but they began marching down the field. Julian Edelman hauled in one of the craziest catches in Super Bowl history to move New England near the red zone.
The Patriots continued downfield, got in the end zone and tied the game at 28. White scored a touchdown from 1 yard out, and Amendola caught the two-point conversion pass.
The Patriots won the coin toss in overtime and only needed a touchdown to win. Brady marched the team right down the field with ease, including a great throw to Amendola.
The comeback, and the Patriots’ fifth Super Bowl victory, was capped with another White touchdown.
Holy cow, what a game.
Thumbnail photo via Eric Seals/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Feb 5, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy on the podium after defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Seals-USA TODAY Sports