By Ryan Hack and Reagan Ahlquist
Super Bowl LI was a historic Super Bowl, as it was the largest comeback and the first overtime game in Super Bowl history. The largest comeback in Super Bowl history was ten points, which was done three times: The Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, the Redskins in Super Bowl XXII, and the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV.
The game began with a scoreless first quarter, but barely into the second quarter, Patriots’ running back, LeGarrette Blount, fumbled the ball. It was recovered by Atlanta cornerback, Robert Alford, setting up Atlanta at their own 29 yard line. Five plays later, Devonta Freeman ran the ball in from five yards out, giving Atlanta a 7-0 lead. After a New England three-and-out, Atlanta once again drove down the field. After entering the red zone, quarterback Matt Ryan found rookie tight end, Austin Hooper, for a nineteen yard touchdown. This extended Atlanta’s lead to 14-0. On New England’s next drive, Tom Brady ran the offense well to what looked like a promising drive. But, on the eleventh play of the series, his pass was intercepted by Robert Alford, which was returned 82 yards for an Atlanta touchdown. Once New England got the ball back, Brady led an eleven play drive in two minutes that ended with a 41-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski to bring the game to halftime. Atlanta led 21-3.
After Lady Gaga’s exciting halftime performance, the Falcons started off with the ball, but ended up going three-and-out for the first time in the game. The Patriots also followed with a three-and-out as the game started to seem even more out of reach for them. Then, once the Falcons regained possession, wide receiver, Taylor Gabriel, contributed greatly with a total of 52 yard on the drive. The series resulted in a Tevin Coleman six yard receiving touchdown, adding to the Falcons’ lead to make it 28-3. The Patriots realized they needed to make some changes, and came out with a touchdown drive of their own. Running back, James White, caught a five yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady, but after a missed extra point, it was 28-9 at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was all Patriots. After stopping the Falcons to a nine yard drive, the Patriots drove down the field and hit a 33 yard field goal to cut the lead to two scores, 28-12. New England stopped the Falcons to another nine yard three-and-out, so after the punt, the Patriots, led by Tom Brady, drove down the field and found wide receiver, Danny Amendola, for a six yard touchdown pass. They went for a two-point conversion, and running back, James White, cut the game to one score, 28-20. The Falcons started to drive down the field, but a holding penalty by Jake Matthews pushed them out of field goal range, resulting in a Matt Bosher punt. The Patriots started at their own nine yard line. With two and a half minutes left in the game, Tom Brady threw into three on one coverage and wide receiver, Julian Edelman, came down with an amazing 23 yard reception. Junior, Beau Parker, said “Edelman’s catch was the best catch I’ve ever seen, and it was the real turning point of the game.” With momentum, the Patriots continued their drive, and James White ended up running the ball into the end zone with one minute left to cut the lead to two. A two-point conversion would tie the game and most likely send the game into overtime, and Tom Brady found Danny Amendola on a screen pass for the conversion. The game was tied at 28 and it was the first Super Bowl to ever be brought into overtime.
In overtime, New England won the toss and received. Quarterback, Tom Brady, once again led the Patriots down the field in just under four minutes, in an eight play, 75 yard drive. On second and goal, running back, James White, ran to the right side and dove for the goalline. The referee put up the signal for touchdown and the New England Patriots completed the largest comeback in Super Bowl history.
Following the 34-28 win, during the postgame show, Tom Brady was pronounced Super Bowl LI MVP. Brady threw for 466 yards and two touchdowns in his fifth Super Bowl MVP title, the most in NFL history. Junior, Nick Croston, said that “Brady deserved the MVP because he’s the greatest of all time. He led a comeback after being down by 25 points by throwing for the most yards ever in Super Bowl history.” Congratulations to the New England Patriots with their fifth Super Bowl victory in franchise history.