The New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons converged in Houston, Texas today to see who would take home NFL Championship bragging rights. Broadcast on Fox and narrated by Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, Super Bowl LI started with the Patriots on offense (the Falcons won the coin toss but they decided to save it for the third quarter).
Neither team gained much on offense on their first possessions. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady did get sacked twice in back-to-back plays with five minutes left in the first quarter. The second quarter, however, revealed some Patriots’ offensive momentum…until the Falcons linebacker Deion Jones forced a fumble and his teammate corner back Robert Alford recovered it. A few plays later, running back Devonta Freeman ran five yards and leaped into the end zone. Atlanta 7 and New England 0. By the end of the second quarter, the Falcons increased their lead by two TDs, courtesy of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan connecting with tight end Austin Hooper and Robert Alford intercepting Tom Brady’s pass. He ran eighty-two yards into the end zone. The Falcons defense was able to keep the Patriots from getting into the end zone, but New England did put up a field goal. Atlanta 21 and New England 3.
I’ve seen the Patriots come back from being outscored in the first half of a game to winning the whole thing; it’s not impossible for Tom Brady to do (as Joe Buck remarked as much before the first half ended). Of course, I hoped it wouldn’t happen today. About halfway into the third quarter, Matt Ryan threw a TD pass to running back Tevin Coleman. Atlanta 28 and New England 3. In the bottom of the quarter, the Patriots finally put up a TD via running back James White but the extra point was no good. Atlanta 28 and New England 9.
And then came the fourth quarter and the Patriots’ offense game was shining more as they’d made it down the field even when Tom Brady was sacked twice by Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and they had to settle for a field goal instead of a TD. Matt Ryan was sacked and the Patriots recovered the loose ball. They got into the end zone (thanks to wide receiver Danny Amendola) and went for a two-point conversion. Atlanta 28 and New England 20. Would the Falcons be able to put more points on the board or keep the Patriots from scoring with less than two minutes left in the game? The Patriots were able to tie the game with a TD (another James White) and a two-point conversion. Atlanta 28 and New England 28.
And the first time the Super Bowl ever went into overtime would be today. The Patriots won the OT coin toss. And they got into the end zone (another James White). New England 34 and Atlanta 28. Final Score. The Patriots have won Super Bowl LI.
Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.
Observations & Other Miscellany:
~ Luke Bryan sang the National Anthem. Tom Brady got a close-up during the few lines of the song; he was mouthing the lyrics and looking up to screen left (possibly at the jumbotron?) Matt Ryan then got a medium close-up at the “and the home of the brave” part. He was looking very stoic.
~ George Bush and Barbara Bush helped with the coin toss. As they made their way to mid-field, the camera cut away to Mike Pence for a few seconds.
~ Three defensive holding calls on the Falcons in one drive at the bottom of the second quarter?! Yep.
~ A tap/slap of the helmet means “good job, teammate!” Where does at tap/slap land if one did a bad job? Punch to the forearm?
~ Lady Gaga performed during the Half Time Show. She started off with some patriotic tune excerpts. Her “Poker Face” may be the only one that Westerners know, but the “Poker Face” I know first will always be Ayumi Hamasaki‘s.
~ Footage of the crew taking apart Lady Gaga’s stage sped up made them look like ants disassembling an insect.
~ Is Joe Buck trying to grow a beard or was he pressed for time and thus didn’t shave?
~ Patriots defense coordinator Matt Patricia reminds me of actor Josh Radnor.
~ Favorite Superbowl Commercial: the new Evony mobile game.
~ The sounds of a football hitting the uprights makes a distinct sound. It’s a metallic thud…with notes of “whoomp.”
~ Matt Ryan went into Super Bowl LI as the MVP of the 2016 season.