Roundtable: Historic comeback caps off festive Super Week
Sports Editor Leonard D. Gibson III
Apparently the Patriots are really lucky at getting teams in the Super Bowl that don’t want to win. Why didn’t the Seahawks run the ball? Why didn’t the Falcons just kick the field goal?
The score was 28-20 with 4:11 on the clock. Falcons had the first down at the 22-yard line, well within field goal territory. They could’ve run the ball three times, draining the clock or forcing the Patriots to waste their timeouts and then kicked the field goal to give themselves an 11-point lead.
The game would’ve been theirs.
Instead, on second down, the Falcons called for a passing play that resulted in Ryan being sacked, making it third-and-23. Then on third down on yet another passing play, the Falcons were called for holding and put themselves firmly out of field goal range.
This was only the final nail the Falcons hammered into their own coffin, however. Blowing a 28-3 lead is almost as bad of a choke as the Golden State Warriors.
The high-power Falcons offense we saw in the second quarter fizzled out in the second half. The most interesting statistic is comparing Tom Brady’s 62 passing attempts to Matt Ryan’s 23.
Julio Jones, who many believed to be a major component to the Falcons’ offense, had only four receptions for 87 yards. The Patriots had six players with four or more receptions.
The biggest takeaway from the game for me was the reaffirmation that college overtime rules are far superior to the NFL’s. We saw the first overtime in Super Bowl history, and we didn’t even get to see the NFL MVP, Matt Ryan, touch the field.
Both teams should get one drive in overtime and if they’re still tied, move on to the second overtime. If you want a prime example of this model in action, watch the Michigan-Ohio State game this year.
It’s fair. It may take a bit longer, but both teams will get the chance to play both offense and defense.
Perhaps Roger Goodell will listen to all those boos and worry about the fairness of the sport instead of deflated balls going into the next season.
Assistant Sports Editor J. D. Smith
In what many are calling the greatest comeback in professional football history, the New England Patriots proved once again to never count out Touchdown Tom.
After tying the largest comeback in a Super Bowl two years ago, the Patriots obliterated the record, overcoming a 25-point deficit en route to a 34-28 overtime victory for the franchise’s fifth title at NRG Stadium Sunday night.
After sputtering for the first three quarters, including throwing a devastating pick-six, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady proved why many believe he is the greatest to ever play the game.
He led the offense to 31 points on five straight drives while going 43-62 with a Super Bowl record 466 yards and 2 touchdowns, capped by one of the most unlikely catches of all-time by receiver Julian Edelman.
With 2:28 left in the game, Brady stepped back to throw, aiming for Edelman streaking across the center of the field. Falcons corner Robert Alford broke in front of Edelman, getting his hands on the ball and tipping it up.
Not missing a beat, Edelman, Alford, safety Keanu Neal and safety Ricardo Allen all dove for the ball as it was falling.
Among four bodies and six hands, Edelman somehow managed to come up with the ball, trapping it in his hands mere inches off the turf.
While many are pointing to what the Patriots did to force the Atlanta Falcons into mistakes, the Falcons have no one to blame this loss on anyone other than themselves.
After a Stephen Gostkowski field goal brought the Patriots within two touchdowns, the Falcons faced a third-and-1 from their own 36-yard line.
Instead of running, like they had been successful with earlier in the night, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan went with a pass, resulting in a strip-sack by linebacker Dont’a Hightower, giving the Patriots the ball and the momentum in great field position.
New England capped the drive with a Danny Amendola touchdown to make it a one-possession game and pinned the Falcons deep in their own territory on the ensuing kickoff.
Not giving up themselves, the Falcons drove down the field to the NE 22 after an inhuman Julio Jones catch. But miscues on two straight plays by both coaches and players led to a Falcons punt and giving the Patriots an attempt to tie.
After a run for a loss of one yard, Shanahan called yet another pass and Ryan was sacked by Trey Flowers, pushing them back to the 35. On the next play, a holding penalty wiped out a first-down catch and knocked them back to the 45, out of field goal range.
The Falcons could’ve elected to kneel the ball three straight times and kicked a field goal to go up 11 with roughly 3:00 to play and force the Patriots to use all their timeouts, but for some reason, Shanahan still called passes.
As a result of their quick scores and short drives in the first half, the Falcons offense wasn’t on the field very much, resulting in the Patriots running 93 plays to the Falcons 46.
Atlanta’s young defense was on the field for over 40 minutes and didn’t have the depth or conditioning to stop the Patriots when it counted most.
The comeback seals Brady’s legacy as the greatest quarterback in NFL history, becoming the only one to lead his team to five Super Bowl victories.
Senior Staff Writer Peter Scamardo
On a night where he threw for over 400 yards, Tom Brady earned his distinction as the winningest quarterback in Super Bowl history.
After being down 28-3 to the Atlanta Falcons in the third quarter, Brady orchestrated the largest comeback in Super Bowl history to tie the game and force overtime.
Apart from the James White’s two touchdowns, including the game winner, the New England run game was near non-existent.
With everything coming through Brady, it was no surprise when he was named the MVP of the game.
This game was defined by two major momentum swings for both teams, both of which were fumbles.
The LaGarette Blount fumble came when the two teams were testing each other and it gave the Falcons the motivation to pounce on an opportunity. The Falcons did this by going up 21-0 in the second quarter, capped by Robert Alford’s pick six.
But with the Falcons attempting to ice the game, it was Matt Ryan’s sack fumble which got the Patriots into it.
The future Hall of Famer in Brady knew how to capitalize on the turnover as that score led to another and another until the Patriots defied all odds to tie the game.
I saw this game with many similarities to the national championship game this past January, but the game played out opposite of predicted.
It was the Patriots who played the role of the Clemson Tigers.
Arguably Matt Ryan and the Falcons scored too quickly as Brady and company had too much time to bite away at the lead.
By the fourth quarter, the Falcons were too tired to get the stops they needed, and as the game went into overtime, the young defense of the Falcons had nothing left to give.
The game was won by Matthew Slater’s calling heads on the coin toss.