The New England Patriots scored 31 unanswered points and overcame a 28-9 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to win Super Bowl LI 34-28 in overtime – the first overtime game in Super Bowl history.
And while the Patriots bask in the glory of another title behind the efforts of Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady, the Falcons are left on the wrong side of history, having blown what was a 25-point lead despite a strong performance from NFL MVP Matt Ryan. Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the details on how the Falcons hit the lowest of lows. And over at The Ringer, Danny Kelly takes a dive into how Kyle Shanahan sticking to his guns likely cost the Falcons a Super Bowl.
After a regular season that was a struggle to watch at times and a postseason that featured a slew of lopsided games, the fourth quarter and overtime of the Super Bowl made up for the first three quarters – and then some.
Now that there are no more games on the schedule until next August, here are our first Bullets of the NFL offseason …
- The Ex-Bears Factor was alive and well at the Super Bowl. Shea McClellin and Martellus Bennett, both of whom were on the Bears roster at this time a year ago, finished the season as Super Bowl champs – and did so as teammates beating the team that currently employs Phil Emery, who brought them to Chicago. Neither was perfect on the evening, as both were called for penalties while the Falcons jumped out to an early lead. But all is well that ends well, I suppose. Then again, return specialist Eric Weems and linebacker LaRoy Reynolds (who recovered an onside kick) were on the losing end of the ex-Bear showdown, playing for Atlanta.
- Did you see Brian Urlacher make a Super Bowl appearance? He was spotted in Rob Riggle’s pre-game cover of the Garth Brooks classic “Friends in Low Places”:
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) February 5, 2017
- Not only was the Super Bowl an all-time great, it was literally one for the record books. Brady set eight new records and tied another. Other than that, it was just another day at the office for the game’s best quarterback. Here is a complete list of the records that were broken during Super Bowl 51.
- If the Super Bowl left you with a “how did that happen?” feeling, you are not alone. Thankfully, Pro Football Focus attempted to quantify what happened as New England triumphed with a one-dimensional offense and a defense that arrived fashionably late. PFF’s player grades are also worth noting, too. Because even though Ryan had a higher grade than Brady, it’s what Brady did when it mattered most that stands out the most.
- Then again, this wasn’t Brady’s first rodeo:
Brady in 4th QTRs and OT of his last two SBs: 34-42 (81%) for 370 yds, 3 TD, 0 INT. First 3 QTRs: 46-70 (66%) for 424 yrs, 3 TD, 3 INT.
— Mike Sando, ESPN.com (@SandoESPN) February 6, 2017
- Garoppolo Watch begins in earnest now that the Patriots’ season is over. We had our first round of Garoppolo rumors on Friday, and more will persist between now and March 9, when the 2017 league calendar officially begins.
- Here is a refresher on the NFL’s most important offseason dates, deadlines and possibly when to expect the Bears to do things.
- Back to Garoppolo, briefly. He could be a trade candidate for the 49ers, according to NFL.com’s Conor Orr. San Francisco has yet to officially name its new head coach, but Kyle Shanahan still seems to be their guy. In any case, he will be a hot commodity this offseason.
- Julio Jones had an all-time great Super Bowl snag and it quickly became irrelevant because of The Comeback. Even still, it’s worth watching over and over again:
— NFL (@NFL) February 6, 2017
- That Jones catch probably won’t even be remembered as “the catch” from the game, because of what Julian Edelman did:
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) February 6, 2017