Right, come on, own up, who went to bed or went off to do something else at halftime or during the third period of Super Bowl 51?

Well, as the great Homer Simpson would say, “D’OH!”.

As I see this game, after watching it through again, I still can’t believe what I saw. Now I’m no Brady fanboy (Peyton Manning, that’s a different story) but you, surely, have to respect what he did in this game by taking it on himself, as the team’s leader and icon, to make things happen when no one else on the team seemed able to. Even Belichick had a look of “WTF is happening!” on his face when Matt Ryan passed to a wide open Tevin Coleman in the flat for a TD and a 27-3 lead. It could be said that Brady’s 15-yard run was the turning point in the game as if he thought he had to do it all himself.

A Game Recap

For me, the game started off as a cagey affair with both offenses unable to put any points on the board for the entirety of the first quarter. It all started to go wrong for the Patriots early in the second quarter when the usually stout and reliable LeGarrette Blount had the ball stripped allowing the Falcons back on offense. This is when it turned into the Julio and Freeman show with a great drive of good runs and great catches. The Atlanta offense looked really good for most of the game with all their top-notch skill players and great OL anchored by ex-Cleveland Browns center, Alex Mack, who was playing with a suspected broken leg! Once the Atlanta offense got on the scoreboard once they carried on doing so, with even rookie TE Austin Hooper helping himself to a TD.

Whenever the Patriots were on the ball they seemed to have no running game and their receivers were dropping catches all over the place. Then when Falcons CB Robert Alford intercepted a Tom Brady pass and returned it 82-yards for a TD, surely this was going to be Atlanta’s day, right?

Wrong! Even though New England’s woes continued into the second half and Atlanta capitalised by running up a 25-point lead at 28-3, we should have all realised that the NFL does make fairytales come true sometimes. This is the point at which I imagine many people switched the game off and went to bed of out to do something else.

It did seem to me as though the Patriots didn’t know what to do so went to the trick-plays playbook and decided to let Julien Edelman throw the ball, which was incomplete to Dion Lewis. This setup a 4th down, but it was time for the Patriots to go for it. They were down by 25-points, which is the biggest deficit, by a long way, in Super Bowl history, in the 3rd quarter so of course they were going to go for it. A nice pass from Brady to Amendola saw them get the first down they so desperately needed.

The brilliant James White popped out of the backfield for a 6-yard TD reception and the Patriots first six-pointer. Then would you believe it, Gostkowski only went and missed the bloody extra point! Oh well, just a little more drama to add to the Patriots and Brady legacy.

This missed extra point meant it was a 19-point gap going into the 4th quarter. Brady, at this point, seemed to have had enough of his usually reliable receivers dropping his passes and so started to go to WR Malcolm Mitchell and RB James White. This proved to be a great decision as they started to move the ball as effectively as we expect them to. They looked certain to be going in for another TD but 2nd year DL Grady Jarrett stepped up into Brady’s face twice to take his total to a Super Bowl record equaling 3 sacks and forcing the Pats to settle for a FG. This reduced the Falcon’s lead to 16 points.

The Falcons had many chances to put the game away including another drive with which they could have got at least a FG to make things near impossible for their opponents. A Trey Flowers sack and another holding penalty against Falcon’s LT Jake Matthews meant they were out of range of a kick and so had to punt, putting the ball back in Brady’s hands…big mistake.

Grady Jarrett tried his best to finish the game at this point as he again got to Brady, this time in the endzone for a near safety, but couldn’t bring him down before the ball was thrown. This drive looked to be stuttering until Julien Edelman made, perhaps, the catch of the game (I say ‘perhaps’ as I thought Julio Jones made some stunners too, but they might not be considered to be as crucial as this one). Everyone except the line judge thought the ball had touched the ground but it had, in fact, bounced off a defender’s leg then rested on another defender’s arm as Edelman fought to make the catch. This was superb play and the stuff that makes this game great. Also, well done to the line judge for seeing it right.

Julien Edelman's catch for the New England Patriots during Super Bowl 51

By now Brady seemed to be in full ‘awesome-mode’ and went to the air superbly seeing as their ground game had let them down for most of the game. At this point, the Patriots needed two TD’s with 2-pointers on each……..no problem. This is exactly what they did to tie the game at 28-28 and accomplish the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history – 25 points.

By now everyone’s reeling from what they’ve just witnessed and looking at each other like, “Surely not. They ain’t gonna win this one, right? Please say it ain’t so!”.

Then, they only go and win the bleeding coin toss for overtime and elect to receive the ball. They then march the ball 75-yards down the field and cap the drive off with a James White TD for their 5th Super Bowl crown!!!!!!!!

Un-bloody-believeable!!!! I love this game!!!

The Haters Gonna Hate

I try not to get caught up in all the hate that there is for one team or another, but I must admit that I can’t help myself sometimes and find some of the crap that’s put on social media to be amusing.

The first bit I saw was in a Dolphins and then Rams fans Facebook page which was stating some conspiracy that the ticker tape cannon man was on the Patriots side as RB James White’s knee touched before the ball crossed the line but the officials didn’t get chance to review the play. The picture they were showing was inconclusive so the call of a TD would have stood anyway, but the image from the opposite side showed that the ball had crossed the line before his knee touched. The picture they were showing is below and is clearly from after his forward momentum has stopped, AFTER THE BALL HAD CROSSED THE LINE, and he’d been pushed back. Just watch it in real-time and stop with the still image BS. So, if you’re spouting that crap then please, STFU!

Super Bowl 51 Never crossed the line

The one that did make me laugh was:

Obviously, this is a caption explaining what the Patriots have to do to win the game on their first possession but I guess haters will hate and try to use anything as they know people will bite. At least it got this Kelly Mac person the exposure she desired, looking at the Likes, Comments and Shares, so well done her.

Final Thoughts

As I said at the beginning, I’m not a Brady, Belichick or Patriots fan, but we should all, surely, appreciate what they have achieved in and as of this victory. They’ve been to the big game on nine occasions and won it five times, all whilst Tom Brady was their QB. He now literally has a hand full of Super Bowl rings! On their way to their 5 title, they had to overcome the largest points gap in the game’s history. 25 points behind in the biggest game on the planet, wow!

For me personally, James White should have been awarded the MVP due to his play. Not only did he set a Super Bowl record with 14 catches (he’s a running back as well remember), but he also scored one receiving and two rushing touchdowns AND a 2-point conversion. This all adds up to 20-points that James White scored for the Patriots. That’s over half of their points in this most epic of epic games! The fact that Brady got the MVP over White is the thing that stinks to me.

Was this the best encounter in the game’s history? Hmm, I’m not sure but it certainly was a bloody good one!

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

Tom Brady holds the Lombardi trophy aloft after winning Super Bowl 51