The New England Patriots came back and stunned the Atlanta Falcons in overtime 34-28 in Super Bowl 51 in Houston. The game came down to being mentally tough and the players looking themselves in the mirror to see if they were made of championship material. New England was dead in the water at one point with the score showing 28-3. The man that gets better with time like fine wine Tom Brady was the curator for this masterpiece. He painted the picture, but his receivers were the paint brushes he needed.
In the first half, Brady and his top receivers Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, and Malcolm Mitchell could not get on the same page. The quadruplets struggled to get separation at the top of their routes against Robert Alford, Jalen Collins, Brian Poole, and other Falcons’ defensive backs. They combined for seven catches for 92 receiving yards.
“Just play. Just play every play. Play every play,” said Edelman on the halftime adjustments.
And they did play in the second half. In fact, they played really well and it slowly went from another Boston Massacre to a New England Revolution. Brady started to get comfortable with being uncomfortable in the pocket as he threw darts under duress. 1, 2, 3 BOOM first down to Hogan. 1, 2, 3, BAM first down to Amendola. The same sequence continued in the second half as the former MVP found his guys open on routes.
Edelman talked about why the Patriots never gave up. He said, “Mental toughness, believe, do your job, work hard, and we’d be champions in the champion game.”
The Patriots have been tortured in past Super Bowls by unprecedented catches. Today, they had their revenge as Edelman caught a pass late in the fourth. The play was challenged, but he maintained concentration despite juggling the ball twice on the way to the ground for a 23-yard gain. The building erupted as New England fans felt they were on the brink of an epic comeback. They were right. The Patriots would go on to score and tie the game with a two-point conversion.
Amendola, Hogan, and Edelman continued to dominate in overtime as they helped generate three first downs. The Brady Bunch helped their quarterback set up with a shot to win the game. The rest is history as New England went on to win Super Bowl 51.
Edelman, Hogan, Amendola, and Mitchell went on to finish with 23 receptions to go along with 292 yards and a score. All four guys averaged 9.8 or more per catch. Amendola talked about the adjustments made by the team.
“They were coming at us with a lot of things,” Amendola stated. “We just wanted to be resilient, we wanted to be tough mentally, and we got it done.”
This game was an instant classic and was one that will be talked about for years to come.
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