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Patriots and Tom Brady Win 5th Super Bowl in Thriller Over Falcons

Patriots and Tom Brady Win 5th Super Bowl in Thriller Over Falcons

A new standard has been set, as Tom Brady of the New England Patriots became the first quarterback in N.F.L. history to win five Super Bowls, leading his team to a 34-28 overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

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It looked like a blowout in Atlanta’s favor, with the Falcons racing to a 28-3 lead, but Brady, who had endured a great deal of pressure for much of the game, held tight and reeled off 25 consecutive points prior to the overtime period, getting a great deal of help with a circus catch by Julian Edelman that will help erase the painful memory of the Patriots once having been sunk by David Tyree’s helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII.

Then in the first overtime in Super Bowl history, the Patriots got the ball first, and as they have done so many times in Brady’s career, simply marched down the field, going 75 yards on 8 plays, winning the game on James White’s 2-yard touchdown run.

“We all brought each other back,” Brady, who was named Super Bowl M.V.P. for a record fourth time, said following the game. “We never felt out of it.”

Falcons receiver Mohamed Sanu held off Logan Ryan after a catch in the fourth quarter. Credit Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Having grown up as a fan of the San Francisco 49ers, Brady claims to have never considered the possibility of joining his idol, Joe Montana, in having won four Super Bowls, let alone passing Montana and Terry Bradshaw, the Pittsburgh Hall of Famer, who each had four wins in four attempts. And while his journey was not quite as flawless, with two losses to go with his five wins, he now stands out as the most decorated quarterback of the Super Bowl era, and is tied with Charles Haley, the relentless defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys and the 49ers, for the most Super Bowl wins as a player.

Following the game, Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the N.F.L., came out to present the Patriots with the Vince Lombardi trophy and was met with an extended chorus of boos thanks to his unpopular decision, among Patriots fans, to punish the team for the Deflategate scandal by suspending Brady for the first four games of this season. The Patriots ended up going 3-1 with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett filling in for Brady.

After Goodell handed the trophy to Robert Kraft, the owner of the Patriots, the boos turned into loud cheers. Kraft played to the crowd, making a thinly-veiled reference to the punishment, calling it the sweetest win of his career.

“A lot has transpired over the last two years,” Kraft said. “I don’t think that needs a lot of explanation.”

Brady ended up completing 43 of 62 passes for 466 yards and 2 touchdowns despite enduring 5 sacks and throwing the first postseason pick-six of his career. He got plenty of help from White, the team’s pass-catching running back, who had 14 catches for 110 yards and 1 receiving touchdown along with his game-winning run.

The Falcons, led by Matt Ryan, had looked nearly unstoppable for three quarters, scoring at will and holding New England in check with a defense that had steadily improved all season. But they seemingly ran out of steam on both ends of the ball, with the Patriots’ experience winning the day.

Even in defeat, there were plenty of positives for the Falcons, with Grady Jarrett tying a Super Bowl record with three sacks, Robert Alford returning an interception 82 yards for a touchdown, and Ryan completing 17 of 23 passes for 284 yards and 2 touchdowns. But after Ryan found Tevin Coleman for a 6-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter, everything fell apart. From that point forward, Atlanta’s drives ended punt-fumble-punt-punt, while New England repeatedly chipped away at the lead.

For Brady, the win makes him the unquestioned leader of the Super Bowl era among quarterbacks and ties him with Bart Starr of the Green Bay Packers for the most N.F.L. championships as Starr had three titles prior to winning the first two Super Bowls.

Here’s how the Patriots completed the comeback and won their fifth title:

Patriots and Falcons Head to Overtime

The Falcons, given a chance to win the game, managed just 16 yards on 3 plays and were forced to punt the ball away. With just 4 seconds to work with, the Patriots attempted a fake kneel and ran the ball, but it did not go nearly far enough and the Super Bowl is headed to overtime for the first time in the game’s history.

Patriots Tie Game, 28-28

At the end of an incredible 91-yard drive, that included a circus catch by Julian Edelman, James White ran for a 1-yard touchdown, and Tom Brady found Danny Amendola for a successful 2-point conversion, tying the game at 28-28 with under a minute remaining in the game.

Matt Ryan will now get a chance to lead a game-winning drive, or play for overtime.

Patriots Get One More Shot

The Patriots have the ball back with a chance to tie the Falcons.

Devonta Freeman showed off how dangerous he can be in the open field, Julio Jones reminded everyone that he just may be the best wide receiver in the game, but thanks to a devastating sack by Trey Flowers, and a holding call on Tom Compton, the Falcons were not even able to get a field goal.

Matt Ryan started the drive at his own 10-yard line and immediately found Devonta Freeman for a 39-yard catch-and-run that looked like it could go all the way with just a tad more luck. After a short run by Freeman, Ryan then escaped pressure and found Julio Jones for a seemingly impossible 27-yard reception on the sideline in which the star wide receiver reached over a defensive back to get the ball and then managed to plant his feet before falling out of bounds.

With 3:30 remaining, Brady has the ball and is down by 8 points.

Patriots running back James White scored at the end of the third quarter. Credit Andrew Gombert/European Pressphoto Agency

Patriots Cut Lead to 28-20

We have a ballgame.

Tom Brady was never going to just roll over and let the Falcons win, and he found Danny Amendola for a 6-yard touchdown pass that along with a 2-point conversion has narrowed Atlanta’s lead to 28-20.

The drive when set up when the Falcons, who had not turned the ball over all game, decided to look for a deep pass on 3rd-and-1. Before Matt Ryan could release the ball he was hit by Don’t’a Hightower, who swatted the ball to the ground. Alan Branch was able to recover the ball, giving New England just a 25-yard field to work with.

Brady needed just five plays, enduring one sack from Dwight Freeney along the way, and now trails by just 8 points with just under six minutes remaining in the game.

Atlanta may be short-handed the rest of the way as Tevin Coleman, one of Atlanta’s two star running backs, was forced from the game with an injury to his left ankle on the Falcons’ previous drive. He was helped off the field and his status for the rest of the game has yet to be announced.

Patriots Not Going Down Without a Fight

Grady Jarrett, the Atlanta defensive tackle, almost single-handedly turned what looked like a sure-thing touchdown drive into a field goal for the Patriots. A pair of sacks in the red zone forced the Patriots to abandon what had been a 12-play, 72-yard drive, with Stephen Gostkowski hitting from 33 yards to narrow the Atlanta lead to 28-12. With the game in the fourth quarter, it is now nearing the point of desperation for New England.

Brady steadily moved the ball down the field, with a huge 25-yard completion to Martellus Bennett having put the Patriots inside Atlanta’s 10-yard line. But then Jarrett, who had a sack in the first half of the game as well, just tore through the offensive line twice to put Brady on his back. The interior pressure from Jarrett, who has equaled his single-season sack total, has been a major factor all game. Brady has been hit 14 times by various Atlanta defenders.

The Patriots had gotten the ball back with no further scoring by Atlanta even though a botched onside kick attempt resulted in the Falcons starting a drive from New England’s 41-yard line. Atlanta ended up losing 10 yards on the drive before punting the ball away.

The sequence helped ease the pain for Gostkowski, who missed an extra point, failed to convert an onside kick, and was penalized for 5 yards for touching the ball too soon on the onside kick attempt.

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