The moment Super Bowl LI turned…
There was 8:48 left in regulation when Tevin Coleman took a 2nd and 2 snap from the Falcons 35 yard line. Coleman gets his ankle twisted and the result can be seen in the above photo. Coleman would not return to the game. Coleman was mostly in the game in the second half, as opposed to Devonta Freeman, because of his power running and blocking. It was all working out until the moment he went down. As Coleman’s ankle turned, so did Super Bowl LI.
On the very next play, a 3rd and 1 for the Falcons, they decide to go shotgun. That was a mistake on many levels. Number one, you have to run the ball in that situation. Worst case scenario, you punt. Number two, Tevin Coleman, your better blocking back, is now out of the game. You insert Devonta Freeman into a huge blocking role and this is the result…
— NFL (@NFL) February 6, 2017
Freeman whiffs on Dont’a Hightower‘s blitz, Hightower blind sides Matt Ryan, and that’s all she wrote. The Patriots get the ball on the Falcons 25 and the rest is history.
I realize the Patriots still had a lot of work to do after this particular play, but this play opened the door for a realistic comeback, completely shifted momentum, and got the fans back on the edge of their seats thinking this is possible.
Even if the Falcons fail to pick up the first down and have to punt, I think they win the game. By forcing the Patriots back to their own territory, that gives the Falcons defense a lot more breathing room, and eats much needed time off the clock. Even if the Patriots do end up scoring and making the game 28-20, there is probably less than five minutes to go and you can bleed the clock down even further to make a comeback less probable.
I know we’re playing Monday morning quarterback here, and there has to be several things haunting Dan Quinn this morning, but in hindsight there is no doubt in my mind that when Tevin Coleman went down, Super Bowl LI was decided.