HOUSTON (AP) — Tom Brady led one of the greatest comebacks in sports history lifting New England from a 25-point hole to the Patriots’ fifth NFL championship in the first Super Bowl overtime.
The Patriots scored 19 points in the final quarter, including a pair of 2-point conversions, then marched relentlessly to James White’s 2-yard touchdown run in overtime to beat 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 defense for fourth-quarter touchdowns on a 6-yard pass to Danny Amendola and a 1-yard run by White, which came with 57 seconds remaining in regulation. White ran for the first 2-pointer and Amendola did the deed with a reception on the second.
Brady, winning Super Bowl MVP for a record fourth-time, finished 43 for 62, the most attempts in Super Bowl history, for 466 yards, also a record, 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 coach Bill Belichick won their 25th postseason 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 2, 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.
It was almost an impossible dream for the Patriots a bit earlier. But helped by Matt Ryan’s fumble on a sack, a spectacular catch by Julian Edelman , and Brady’s passing, they never stopped coming.
White had 14 receptions for 110 yards as the key weapon, but Brady hit seven different receivers.
Until the Patriots took charge with their late surge, league MVP Ryan was outplaying Brady. It didn’t last.