HOUSTON, Texas – The Atlanta Falcons were in complete control through the first 30 minutes of Super Bowl 51 in Houston.
Tom Brady, trying to become the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls, never led his team to a point in the first quarter of his previous six Super Bowls, including his four wins.
In the 2004 Super Bowl in the same building, when the Patriots beat Carolina 32-29, it was scoreless after the first quarter in Houston’s NRG Stadium.
Each team punted twice in the first quarter. The biggest highlight was Devonta Freeman’s 37-yard run for Atlanta. But the Falcons didn’t get another first down on that drive.
For the first time in 11 years, both teams punted on each of their first two offensive possessions in a Super Bowl.
However, the Atlanta Falcons took the lead with 12:15 left in the second quarter on a 5-yard touchdown run by Devonta Freeman.
The five-play, 71-yard drive was set up when Deion Jones forced a fumble by Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount, and the ball was recovered by Atlanta’s Richard Alford.
Matt Ryan, the NFL MVP, then threw passes of 19 and 23 yards to Julio Jones, who didn’t catch a pass in the first quarter.
The Falcons kept the momentum when Ryan threw a 19-yard touchdown pass less than four minutes later to tight end Austin Hooper.
Ryan, trying to become the first player to be the NFL’s MVP and win a Super Bowl in the same season since 1999, is 7-of-8 passing for 115 yards.
The latest drive, after a Patriots punt, started with Ryan hitting Taylor Gabriel for 24 yards and then throwing an 18-yard pass to Julio Jones, who made a nice tip-toe catch along the sideline.
Things simply got worse for New England when Tom Brady threw an interception to Robert Alford, who ran it back 82 yards for a touchdown.
The Patriots finally started moving the ball down field, but were stopped short of a touchdown.
Instead, New England settled for a field goal to finish off the first half.
In the third quarter, Ryan threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Tevin Coleman, capping an 85-yard drive that spanned eight plays.
At the point, the Falcons were leading the Patriots 28-3.
The Pats responded with a touchdown of their own as Tom Brady hit James White near the two yard line. However, New England ended up missing the extra point- leaving the score at 28-9.
A few minutes later, Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 33-yard field goal with 9:44 left, and New England trails the Atlanta Falcons 28-12
According to Elias Sports, no team has won a Super Bowl after trailing by more than 10 points.
The Pats weren’t done, after forcing a turnover, Tom Brady connected on a six yard touchdown strike to Danny Ammendola. New England went for two and converted which made it a one possession game, 28-20.
Following that, Brady led the Patriots down the field and Dion White ran in a one yard touchdown. However, the Pats had to convert a two point conversion to tie the game. Tom Brady again found Danny Ammendola for two and the game was tied at 28.
The game went to overtime and Tom Brady was spectacular. He won his 5th Super Bowl as James White scored from a yard out to win the Super Bowl 34-28.