HOUSTON — The New England Patriots rallied from a 28-9 third-quarter deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime of Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium on Sunday night.
The Patriots won the coin toss at the start of overtime and went 75 yards in four minutes, capped by James White’s three-yard touchdown run to give Tom Brady his fifth Super Bowl title.
Brady passes of 15 yards to White, 25 yards to Julian Edelman and 18 yards to Chris Hogan highlighted the drive.
New England sliced into the lead in regulation when Stephen Gostkowski connected on a 33-yard field goal with 9:48 left in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots then capitalized on a turnover on Atlanta’s next possession when Dont’a Hightower sacked Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, forcing a fumble, which New England’s Alan Branch recovered at the Atlanta 25.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady engineered a five-play drive, culminating in a six-yard touchdown pass to Alan Branch with six minutes remaining. Running back White then took a direct snap from center to score on a two-point conversion, cutting the Falcons’ lead to 28-20.
The Patriots stopped the Falcons drive on the NE 46 on the next series and took over at its seven-yard line following a punt.
Brady started driving the Patriots down the field, connecting with Hogan for a 16-yard pass, an 11-yarder to Malcolm Mitchell and then a 23-yarder to Edelman that he caught in traffic and squeezed while falling to the turf.
Another Brady pass to Danny Amendola brought the ball to the Atlanta 21 before the two-minute warning.
Two Brady passes to White for 13 and seven yards, brought the ball to the one. White then rushed in for a TD to cut the lead to 28-26 with a minute left.
Brady then connected with Amendola with a two-point conversion pass, tying the game at 28 with 57 seconds remaining.
Scoring touchdowns on three lightning drives and returning a Brady interception for another touchdown, the Falcons stunned the Patriots by taking the 28-9 lead after three quarters.
The Patriots were never previously manhandled like this during any of their previous six Super Bowls with Bill Belichick as coach and Brady at quarterback. They won four of the prior six, and in the two they lost, they held the lead in the final two minutes before failing.
This time, Brady was under pressure from an Atlanta defense, which was ranked near the bottom of the NFL during the regular season but nonetheless easily handled the New England offensive line, and the veteran quarterback made several uncharacteristic poor passes.
One of them, thrown into double coverage, was returned 82 yards for a touchdown by Robert Alford, Atlanta’s third TD of the second quarter.
Brady also badly overthrew a wide open Edelman later in the second quarter and underthrew another receiver before the Patriots finally scored on a 41-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski with two seconds remaining in the first half.
Atlanta’s three offensive touchdown drives were 71 yards in five plays, 62 yards in five plays and 85 yards in eight plays. Devonta Freeman scored the first TD on a 5-yard run, and Ryan completed touchdown passes of 19 yards to Austin Hooper and 6 yards to Tevin Coleman.
At the end of the third quarter, Ryan had completed 13 of 16 passes for 202 yards.
The Super Bowl record for largest deficit overcome for a win is 10 points.
NOTES: The Patriots failed to score a first-quarter point in any of their seven Super Bowls with the combination of coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady. … Pro Bowl C Alex Mack was active and in the starting lineup for the Falcons. Mack did not practice this week because of a left fibula injury, reportedly a chip fracture, which could have limited a player considered vital to Atlanta’s zone-running scheme. … WR Michael Floyd was inactive for the Patriots, who listed the same players who did not play in the AFC Championship Game on their pregame inactive list: third QB Jacoby Brissett, DB Cyrus Jones, OL LaAdrian Waddle, RB D.J. Foster and DB Justin Coleman and S Jordan Richards … WR Nick Williams. RB Terron Ward, CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, LB Josh Keyes, S Dashon Goldson, OL Wes Schwetzer and TE D.J. Tialavea were inactive for the Falcons.