Improbable comeback: Patriots defeat Falcons 34-28 in overtime


Published on February 5, 2017

New England Patriots' Tom Brady hoists the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, in Houston. The New England Patriots won 34-28 in overtime. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

©Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

HOUSTON – Tom Brady led one of the greatest comebacks in sports, let alone Super Bowl history, lifting New England from a 25-point hole to the Patriots' fifth NFL championship in the game's first overtime finish.

The Patriots scored 19 points in the final quarter, including a pair of two-point conversions, then marched relentlessly to James White's two-yard touchdown run in overtime beating the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 Sunday night.

Brady, the first quarterback with five Super Bowl rings, guided the Patriots (17-2) through a tiring Atlanta defence for fourth-quarter touchdowns on a six-yard pass to Danny Amendola and a one-yard run by White, which came with 57 seconds remaining in regulation. White ran for the first two-pointer and Amendola did the deed with a reception on the second.

Brady finished 43 for 62, the most attempts in Super Bowl history, for 466 yards and two touchdowns.

“You know, we all brought each other back,” Brady said. “We never felt out of it. It was a tough battle. They have a great team. I give them a lot of credit. We just made a few more plays than them.”

Before the stunning rally – New England already held the biggest comeback in the final period when it turned around a 10-point deficit to beat Seattle two years ago – the Falcons (13-6) appeared poised to take their first NFL championship in 51 seasons. Having never been in such a pressurized environment, their previously staunch pass rush disappeared, and Brady tore them apart.

“Deflategate” far behind them, Brady and Bill Belichick won their 25th post-season game, by far a record. It's hard to imagine a tenser victory.

Belichick became the first coach with five Super Bowl crowns.

The Patriots won the coin toss for overtime and it was no contest. Brady completed six passes. A pass interference call took the ball to the two, and White scooted to his right and barely over the goal-line.

His teammates streamed off the sideline to engulf White as confetti streamed down from the NRG Stadium rafters.

New England Patriots' James White scores the winning touchdown between Atlanta Falcons' Jalen Collins, left, and Robert Alford during overtime of the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

©Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.