Re-living the Pats epic come back, what’s next for the Falcons?
Re-living SuperBowl LI is something Atlanta will forever try to turn away from. As for New England they had nothing to lose, but the game itself. Tom Brady would’ve still gone down as one of the greatest ever, and Belichick would’ve cemented his name in stone as well regardless of the outcome. Now of course if the Patriots were to lose, no one player or coach was foreseeing a blow out.
With a 28-3 lead in the third quarter the Patriots began to claw back in the game, but the Atlanta defense was able to make Brady look like a 40-year-old mortal man, that was until Brady got hot. It started with the Falcons leading by 16 and facing a third-and-1 at their own 36 with 8:31 left in the game. You’d think at this point they would put the topping on it and close it out by sticking to the run game right?? Nope, Kyle Shanahan calls for a deep pass, and that was the beginning of the end for Atlanta.
Instead Brady was able to utilize his weapons in Amendola, White and Edelman giving the Patriots life in the ball game after tightening up the score with a TD and 2-point conversion leaving it at 28-20. Still all Atlanta had to do was run the ball with the duo of Freeman and Coleman, which was working by the way, as both backs scored in the game, but Shanahan continued to be greedy and they continued giving up yardage and first downs to New England.
That’s when the magic happened, Mitchell had a key play in the game on 3rd & 11, Martellus Bennett came up huge, Edelman had that miraculous catch over two defenders which should’ve been picked off, and James White arguably could’ve been the MVP of Super Bowl LI as the Patriots went on to tie the game and send it into the first ever overtime in a Super Bowl as they completed the best comeback ever in a Super Bowl.
Looking towards next season I did predict that Brady would retire, but although he’s already publicly said that he still plans on playing I’m not turning my thoughts away from that just yet. It’s a long off-season, and the man is 40 years old with 5 rings matching Charles Haley.
For the Atlanta Falcons it has to be tough after a heartbreaking loss, in which they only ran 5 run plays after being up 28-3—a stat hard to believe. Kyle Shanahan was already hired by San Fran, although not officially. Improving the defense will be one of the main concerns as the Falcons finished with the 27 ranked defense in the league, although Sunday they looked like a top 3 defense in the first half. Dwight Freeney will more than likely be gone so a pass rusher is a must in this years draft or free agency. In 2013 Matt Ryan got a 5-year deal, but an extension would make sense. Devonta Freeman has also been very public about him wanting a deal and rightfully so. Hopefully the Falcons can bounce back and carry the momentum they had going into the post-season as they closed out the Georgia Dome in fashion bringing a divisional title and NFC championship, as they look forward to life in their new home the Mercedes Benz Stadium.