The Pats trailed 28-3 midway through the third quarter before ripping off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. The Patriots’ 10-point comeback two years ago against the Seahawks was the previous best rally. Brady completed 43-of-62 passes for 466 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and he was 12-of-16 for 150 yards on the tying and winning drives in the fourth quarter and overtime. The five-time champion led his 51st game-winning drive in the 51st Super Bowl.“We know what we’re all about,” Brady said. “That’s what it comes down to.
We believe in one another.”James White scored on a 2-yard run in overtime to cap the greatest performance of his career. He had six carries for 29 yards and two touchdowns and a Super Bowl-record 14 receptions for 110 yards and a score.
“You couldn’t even write this script,” White said. “You could never imagine it.”The Patriots found a small spark when Brady hit White for a 5-yard touchdown that made it 28-9 with 2:06 remaining in the third quarter, and Stephen Gostkowski added a 33-yard field goal with 9:44 to play in the fourth, and the Pats down 28.12.But the comeback truly began with 8:24 to play in the fourth. Dont’a Hightower strip-sacked Matt Ryan, and Alan Branch recovered at the Falcons 25. Five plays later, Brady and Danny Amendola hooked up for a 6-yard touchdown, and White scored a two-point conversion on a direct snap to make it 28-20.“The strip sack was huge,” said Brady.
“That got us right back in it.” The Falcons appeared ready to ice the game, marching to the Pats 22 in three plays, but Trey Flowers’ sack and Chris Long’s forced holding penalty pushed Atlanta out of field goal range.The Pats took over at their own 9 with 3:30 to play, and Brady found a rhythm after the drive opened with back-to-back incompletions. He hit six of his next seven passes for 90 yards, and White scored on a 1-yard run to make it 28-26. Brady then hit
Amendola for the 2-point conversion to force overtime for the first time in Super Bowl history.“When it got to overtime, I basically untied my cleats and watched Brady like you guys did,” Logan Ryan said.Even though the teams played a scoreless first quarter, the Pats were controlling the pace of play. Flowers (2.5 sacks) and Jabaal Sheard each notched third-down sacks to cap the Falcons’ opening two series, and the offense was finding room to operate.But LeGarrette Blount fumbled on the second play of the second quarter thanks to a vicious Deion Jones strip, and that led to a Falcons avalanche. It was the Pats’ 30th fumble of the season, but just the 11th that they lost, so they had tempted fate far too often. The Falcons unleashed a five-play, 71-yard drive capped by Devonta Freeman’s easy 5-yard score to make it 7-0.The Pats went three-and-out for a second time, and the Falcons flew 62 yards on five plays. Matt Ryan uncorked a 19-yard TD pass to Austin Hooper, which extended the lead to 14-0. Over the two scoring drives,
Atlanta averaged 13.3 yards a play and gained at least 15 yards on 6-of-10 snaps.Meanwhile, the Falcons’ young defense tightened up. The Pats gained three first downs on their following possession through defensive holding penalties, but otherwise struggled to protect Brady as he was sacked five times and hit on eight occasions. And eventually, the 39-year-old made a Super Bowl-deciding mistake by forcing a ball into a covered Amendola, and Robert Alford Jumped the route and returned an interception 82 yards for a 21-0 lead.
The Pats salvaged Gostkowski 41-yard field goal prior to halftime to make it 21-3.A dropped pass on third-and-12 after halftime that would have yielded a first down, and Atlanta responded with the apparent kill shot when Rob Ninkovich was isolated in coverage against Tevin Coleman, who caught a 6-yard TD pass and a 28-3 lead.But unlike the Falcons’ pair of playoff opponents or, frankly, any team in Super Bowl history, the Pats showed a winning resolve.“A lot of teams, when they got down to those guys,they folded,” Logan Ryan said. “Green Bay folded. Seattle folded. We had a bunch of guys who weren’t afraid to get knocked down.”