Where do you start after a game like that?! What an amazing end to the season. The list of records broken in that one game covers a whole sheet of A4, https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C39rGd0VUAEKSOo.jpg – The biggest ones, I guess… Bellichek and Brady playing in their 7th, winning their 5th Superbowl ring. Brady breaking passing records all over the shop, most attempts, most completions, most yards, he extended his overall Superbowl yards, taking that mark over 2,000 now with 15 touchdowns! If there was any doubt he was the greatest of all time before the match, then there surely can’t be any more. He is the GOAT (I hate that acronym, but have to use it here really!) And then there’s poor James White. 3 Touchdowns, accounting for more than half the Patriots points (20) caught the most receptions in Superbowl history, finished with 110 and a TD in the air from 14 catches, as well as 29 and 2 TDs on the ground from 6 attempts, and STILL didn’t get the MVP! What a ridiculous game of Football.
Now, I may be a little hazy with the re-cap here, unsurprisingly there were a couple of beers consumed, and no notes taken during the night, although a lot of tweeting done through the night, so may be worth me checking my tweets for glimpses into what happened last night! But.. here goes anyway.
My first bet of the night was lost before the game even started, when despite a slow, plodding start, the (dark blue?) Jean wearing country hero Luke Bryan belted out the national anthem in just 2:04, annoying 6 seconds short of the 2:10 I thought was a lock. The sod. I knew I should of played the “Will he wear a hat” market instead! The inside info I had on the coin toss proved good though, I was told that Tails never fails, and that was correct, although you’ll seldom see a more dodgy toss, bobbling and hitting a foot before being confirmed as Tails for the 4th consecutive year.
Let’s start from the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start. The Partiots have STILL not scored in the first quarter of any of their 7 visits to the Superbowl with Brady and Bellichek. Let that sink in a bit. They’ve scored 20,32,24,14,17,28 and 34 points in the low games were their win against the greatest show on turf in 2002, and their 2 defeats to Eli and his Giants. But even with those, that’s 24 pts a game, all scored without a point in the first quarter. It’s a ridiculous and frankly bizarre stat. Both teams struggled in the first quarter with the Pats going 3 and out first up, the Falcons replying by starting with a big run from Freeman, big man Julio helping create a gap for him to power through for 37 yards up the field, but they stalled as well. Then the pressure got home from Atlanta, NE got themselves into field goal range before an 8 yard loss on a sack was followed by another yard by Grady Jarrett (who finished with a record equalling 3 sacks in the game) put them out of the field goal range and led to another punt. The quarter finished quietly and our first bet landed – Falcons +0.5 first quarter. Lovely. The Pats started the second quarter with the ball, but the rookie led defence of the Falcons quickly forced a turnover, Deion Jones stripping the ball from LeGarrette Blount and Robert Alford recoving it on their own 33 yard line. It was a momentum swing and they took full advantage. Atlanta got Julio involved and he showed why you should never rule him out with a couple of contested catches, which were never really contested, it was always his ball, they increased their speed, went no huddle and frankly were over running the Patriots defence who had to burn a timeout as they were so out of breath on their own 5 yard line after a couple of nice runs from Devonta Freeman. He finished off the drive for the first score of the game, walking in untouched. It didn’t get much better for New England though, they looked rattled and Brady was off his game, add to that some great defence from Atlanta, CJ Goodwin breaking up what looked like a completion to Malcolm Mitchell and the Falcons looked in control. They drove down the field again, and I watched as Ryan sailed a pass over to Austin Hooper that would of sorted out his 11.5 yard target in one fell swoop, only for him to let it slip between his hands. Cue angry text about him being a fool, or words to that persuasion… Only for him to redeem himself for me by catching a 19 yard Touchdown seconds later, the officials threw a flag, and I thought there was a good chance it was offensive pass interference, but it went the other way and was declined, so he got his o11.5 (or 15.5 as it was when I posted) and landed our second bet of the night. You beauty. Incidentally I also tipped him to score anytime at 4/1 on a forum and won those guys some money, probably should of had that one on the site… The Falcons led 14-0. Brady was a mess. He was throwing bad bad passes. Bennett bailed him out, being in the right place at the right time to haul in a tipped pass that could of easily been intercepted. But it didn’t help much, Brady threw a couple of incomplete passes, behind Edelman, over Amendola. He really didn’t look himself. But then came the penalties, defensive holding on receivers gifting the Pats first downs. 3 of them on this one drive. Allowing the Pats to get to the Atlanta 23. Brady… Looking for Amendola, bit of pressure on… releases and it’s…. INTERCEPTED. Robert Alford is away, there’s no stopping him, Brady flails behind him and he’s celebrating as soon as he crosses half way, and he’s in for a massive pick 6! – gif here – https://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/CT5lAEmz-ocGLoS1DDu-9sYRU5k=/0x0:570×300/720×0/filters:focal(0x0:570×300):gifv():no_upscale()/cdn3.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/7935733/fal6.0.gifThe Falcons take a 21-0 lead with just over 2 mins left in the first half. Pats get the ball back, drive down the field, James White gets the first down, and takes it to the Atlanta 10 yard line with 20 seconds on the clock to give them probably 2 shots at the touchdown, but big ole Marty B gets called for a stupid blatant holding call meaning they’ve got to settle for a field goal, and go into the half 18 points behind with the score at 21-3. Who saw this coming?! Well… I did suggest to someone on DMs that Atlanta half time, New England full time at 6/1 was a pretty good shout. But I did not think that they’d be dominating in this fashion. Not against this New England defence who ranked as the best scoring group in the league. All of us who backed the unders were sitting fairly happy with the first half performance. Bradys first half performance 15 from 25 for 179 yards. But he missed some big throws that he would nearly always hit, finishing with a QBR of just 66.8 the 8th worst of his entire career for a first half performance. By comparison, league MVP Matt Ryan was at a perfect 158.3 the first time that’s ever happened at half time
Then this happened…Lady Gaga started her set on top of the stadium with the stars and stripes in the sky from 300 intel drones before leaping off into the stadium descending with admirable control while starting her performance a-proper
It was really quite impressive! Or was it… turns out. They cheated. The big bloody cheats. They filmed it earlier in the week. Apparently flying 300 synchronised drones linked by a central computer over a stadium filled with 80,000 people in front of a 160 million viewers worldwide would of been a touch on the risky side. https://www.wired.com/2017/02/lady-gaga-halftime-show-drones/ if you’re a little nerdy and you probably are if you’ve got this far into my write up, then that’s actually a quite interesting article on the technology involved and it’s possible uses in the future…anyway i’m off the rails a little here. The jump was also faked, hence it looking like a scene from a Syfy special. She was suspended from a crane and lowered gracefully into the stadium to start her set a proper with Poker Face (I believe the bookies paid out on a host of songs though because she started with star spangled banner on the roof, so my little 4/1 on “any other song” (check out the stupid bets post for confirmation) was correct, but not bet on by me. Now I won’t profess to be a fan of Lady Gaga, but I have respect for her talents, she’s a damn good singer and performer and put on a great half time show as promised, although only involving 1 costume change so falling short of the 1.5 suggested. Lazy cow.
So the Falcons had a commanding 18 points lead going into the second half, and they were receiving the ball after deferring on the coin toss, both teams punted on their first possessions of the half, Brady again not looking himself starting with 2 incompletions and a pass for a loss of 2 before giving the ball back to Atlanta. They drove down the field, largely thanks to Taylor Gabriel completely destroying one of the best cornerbacks in the league, Malcolm Butler with a move that left him on his arse and Gabriel wide open to make a 35 yard catch over the middle of the field – https://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/vBH_rQH0FPhg_M11hwX4rv52kSE=/0x0:535×301/920×0/filters:focal(0x0:535×301):no_upscale()/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/7935965/cb_toast.0.gif – the drive eventually led to our third winner of the evening, Tevin Coleman catching and jogging pass the hopelessly mis-matched Rob Ninkovich for another TD for the dirty birds landing our Tevin Coleman anytime TD bet and raising my hopes for the 2 or more with still 23 minutes left in the game and the Falcons apparently cruising to a comfortable victory 28-3. All they’ve got to do is keep up the game plan and how they’ve been playing all game. Surely Bellatrix and Brady can’t of made that many changes during half time, I mean their first drive of the half was just as shit as all the first half. Fast forward to six minutes left in the first half and the Patriots are 4th a 3 on their own 46 yard line, they’ve got to go for it, and they do with a 17 yard competion to Danny Amendola, a player who missed a large chunk of the season and seemed to be falling behind Hogan, Mitchell, Bennett in the pecking order, providing kick returns and not much else, but he was to play a pivotal role in the match from now on. A few Bluont rushes and the Pats were 7 yards of the endzone for the first time all game, and they made it with a James White rush. Seriously… White?! Where were Lewis and Blount?! God damn it. They doinked the extra point off the upright and messed up an onside kick to give the Falcons great field position, starting on the oppositions 41 yard line with the score still 28-9. All they had to do was stroll down the field like they had done all game and add a few points to effectively kill off the game, a nice pass out to Austin Hooper lined up at WR on to the Pats 32, into field goal range nice, that’s all they need… but wait. Flag on the play… oh no… oh no oh no, offensive holding on the Falcons, ball backed up to the NE 42… not all bad, they’ve got one of the best kickers in the game who was nailing 58 yarders in the warm up, they’re good here as long as they don’t lose any more ya…. oh shit, Matty Ice sacked for a loss of 9 and they’re out of field goal range and giving the ball back to the Pats. But it’s fine, we’re into the 4th Quarter and the Falcons are still sitting pretty at 28-9. No team has even come from more than 10 points behind to win a Superbowl, let alone a 25 point deficit, I mean the odds are stupendous. Look at the probability going into the 4th quarter for christ sake. LOOK AT IT… there’s no chance the Pats are winning here.
Step up Malcolm Mitchell, previous to this game, Tom Brady had not thrown a completed pass to a rookie receiver. That changed tonight, Mitchell finished with 6 catches for 70 yards, in some big spots, 3 of them on this field goal drive alone taking his team 40 yards down the field single handedly, eclipsing the o20.5 I found earlier in the week to bring the Pats back within 2 scores, and more importantly in the grand scheme of things, winning our 4th bet of the night, Malcolm Mitchell o20.5 rec. yards. The Falcons defence actually held up really well on this drive, Grady Jarrett sacking Brady twice in 3 pass attmepts, becoming only the second player ever to have sacked him that much in one game, regular or post season (alongside Joey Porter) 28-12 with less than 10 mins remaining. Two 2pt conversions still needed by the Pats. All Atlanta have to do is not make mistakes, run the ball, get a few first downs and let the clock run down as much as they can. 8 yards on first down, nice start, 1 yard next… ok not bad, 3rd and 1, lets just run the ball again… Why’s Ryan stepping back so much, why are they passing it?! Well, he is the league MVP I suppose, he’s been dynamite all season especially on third downs, as long as Devonta Freeman blocks his man on the line of scrimmage it’ll be fine… Oh no. Devonta don’t let him run by you like that…What are you doing?! FUCK. NO. He’s looking down field… he doesn’t see the man.. THE BALLS LOOSE. THE BALL IS LOOSE. Patriots recover! Dont’a Hightower knocking it loose IN A BIG SPOT. PATRIOTS RECOVER and take over on the Atlanta 36. https://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/L1-BVn1qVukIAsczK00a9XQLruk=/0x0:537×302/920×0/filters:focal(0x0:537×302):no_upscale()/cdn3.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/7936135/ryanfumble.0.gif – White. Mitchell. Amendola… the supporting cast all turn up for a lovely 2 minute drive which leads to an 8 point gain after a successful 2 points conversion, a direct snap to James White who powers in from two to take his personal scoring to 8 pts (Was evens pre-game for a 2 points attempt) 6 minutes left. Momentum firmly changed. The Patriots are rolling. A cracking punt from Ghost means the Falcons start on their own 10 yard line, a pass out to Freeman and they’re at half way already! That’s more like it. Now they need to keep it safe, give their big names the ball, get some first downs and run down the clock. Ryan… rolling out, looking for a man, throws the ball downfield… JULIO JONES on the sideline, HOW THE HELL DID THE BALL GET THERE? HOW THE HELL DID HE KEEP HIS TOES IN BOUNDS!?! Julio for 27 yards – https://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/qef1P-Tr6IZ8fBIsA1w9JN8A-PE=/0x0:539×303/920×0/filters:focal(0x0:539×303):no_upscale()/cdn2.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/7936165/GAWD.0.gif – Pats 22 yard line. Field goal range, that should kill off the game. 4:40 left in the game, up 8 points… 1st down, loss of a yard. No biggie. 2nd down… Oh shit.. Ryan sacked again. 12 yard loss… Ok, still in field goal range, 3rd and 23 from the NE 35, that’s a 47ish yd field goal? Easy. Let just not lose any more yards, no sacks, no penal….are you kidding me… a fucking holding penalty?! 10 yards back. New England 45 yard line. Out of field goal range. 3rd and 33, they need to gain 10 yards or so to leave Bryant with a long, but makeable field goal, pass to the left to Gabriel… incomplete. Falcons Punt. 3:30 left in the 4th, 8 point lead and the Patriots get the ball back at their own 9 yard line. 1st down. Incomplete. 2nd down. Incomplete. 3rd and 10 with 3:17 left… 16 yards to Hogan. Move those chains… 1st and 10 again. 2:38 left in the game. Looking for Edelman… incomplete again. 2nd down, It’s only Malcolm Mitchell again, what a game this kid is having, and he’s got out of bounds to stop the clock too. 2:26 on the clock… Brady, looking over the middle for Edelman, tipped by Alford, it’s up in the air, 3 Falcons around it, just Edelman for the Patriots, it’s anyone’s for the taking, it’s dropping, Edelman gets a hand on it, but can’t haul it in, it’s going to be incomplete but what an effort by Edelman… but wait. It’s hit a leg, it bobbles, it’s between Alfords feet. Edelman on the ground, he’s got his hands in there, he re-adjusts, and HOLY FUCK. HOLY FUCKING SHIT. HE’S ONLY GONE AND CAUGHT IT. BEN… HE’S FUCKING CAUGHT IT! BEN BENNNNNNNN DID YOU SEE THAT?! WHAT THE…HOW THE… WHAT?!?!? Oh my god… if it wasn’t three in the morning I swear I would of disturbed the people across the street. (Should probably mention that Ben is a mate who was around for the game, and that I wasn’t just having a schizophrenic moment) Luckily the play is going to be reviewed so we get to see 3 or 4 angles of one of the most amazing catches in Superbowl history. Instantly eclipsing the Julio catch just 10 minutes before and going into the books alongside the helmet catch and Santonio Holmes at the back of the end zone. No link for this one. It’s going in the thread…
It’s not just the concentration, the skills, the strength, the ability, it’s the fact that if this goes down, if the Patriots don’t continue the drive, if it’s intercepted, which is so nearly was, the game is over. I mean, he got his hand in there, on the ball, then still managed to compute that he needed to re-adjust to gain control, took his hands off the ball and grabbed it again an inch from the ground. Just amazing. Truly amazing. And that was only first down! Into Atlanta territory, 2:03 left, pass play to Amendola again! for 20 yards, they hit the 2 minute warning at the Atlanta 20 yard line. From here in, it’s James White… Pass out to him, 13 yard gain, pass out again, 7 yard gain. Stopped at the 1… stopped at the one… that means… YES, is another bet about to land?! They give it to White again…HE’S IN! From 1 yard out (14 pts for him) Shortest TD scored u1.5 yards lands with 57 seconds left on the clock. They still need a 2 point conversion, Amendola out wide, runs inside before the snap, sets, WR screen, the lads do their job, Amendolas man runs behind the chaps being blocked, can’t get to him and Amendola JUST backs the ball over the line for another 2 point conversion and the tieing score! Turns out there was a flag on the play for Freeney offside so they’d have got another chance anyway, but didn’t need it. 28-28 with 57 seconds left in the game, and Atlanta have one more chance. Gostkowski sends a beauty of a kick off down to the 1, returned 11 yards, and they start at their own 11. Few plays, Sanu involved, he was hardly mentioned all night, really didn’t step up. Hooper makes a catch again, out to their own 27, but forced to punt. 3 seconds left in the game. They’re lining up to spike it… snap to Deon Lewis, where the hell has he been all game?! He spins out to the left… 13 yards. Game over.
First EVER Overtime game in Superbowl History. Wow. How the hell did they manage that?! Atlanta fell apart on offence when they needed it the most. Ryan should of ditched the ball instead of taking sacks. Debatable play calling too, but they’re still in with a chance, if they win the coin toss again, they’ll have the ball… New England win the toss and get it first. A Touchdown wins it. Touchback, they start at their own 25. I didn’t check the odds, but I’d imagine by now the Patriots were around 1/10. They start the drive with who else, James White (who would of thought he would of been the go to man) 6 yards. Pass out to, who else. Danny fricking Amendola (who would of thought HE’D be the go-to in the passing game?!) Hogan this time makes a big catch, 18 yard. Damnit, short of the 24.5 we needed. Run for a loss, followed by Mr. Reliable, Edelman with a 15 yard gain and their on the Atlanta 25. James White again, another 10 yard pick up. Atlanta 15… He throws, broken up on the 2 yard line, but it’s pass interference, he wasn’t looking at the ball and shoved an arm across Bennett. New England with 4 chances from the 2 yard line, and in comes Blount. Yes, my Coleman, Hooper and Blount treble is going to land at 18/1! prepare for some BLOUNT FORCE TRAUMA!!! Pass attempt?! To Bennett!? What the shit. Incomplete… ok, this time then… BLOUNT. FORCE. TRA….. pitch to James White?! Read well by Deion Jones who’s in pursuit, blocked by the center who’s come out, Ricardo Jones wraps him up at scrimmage… he’s still pushing forward, Mitchell blocking his corner… WHITE… IS…. IN…..! Or is he… is his knee down?! Booth review on scoring plays of course, but the touchdown is awarded… Is there conclusive proof otherwise… his knee is down…now… has the ball crossed the plain?! You can’t see.. It stands! PATRIOTS WIN…PATRIOTS WIN! What. A. Game. https://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/EAXoR1F4crCIklX90iJsai5Ykj8=/0x0:533×300/920×0/filters:focal(0x0:533×300):no_upscale()/cdn2.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/7936289/sbwin.0.gif
Brady finishes with 466 passing yards, 43 completions from 62 attempts. He went 6 from 7 in overtime, and he steals the MVP from James White! 5 Rings for Brady now, the most ever. The greatest ever. No doubt at all.
By this time it was 4 in the morning. And it’s time to get some rest! I managed a whole 3 hours before my kid awoke, the wife got up with her, but misjudged the time, so school run it was. So figured I’d re-live the night by doing this write up, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it!
Still. I got more sleep than @jayhatton49, co-writer, brother-in-law and now father to a second child! He managed a whole hour before his wife went into labour and gave birth to another bundle of joy. Congratulations Jay, she looks amazing! (The child not his wife… not that his wife doesn’t too, but you know, she’s just pushed out a small human being…ah you know what I mean)
So that’s it for the season. What a night. Hopefully my Bengals will sign some decent players in free agency and ensure that guys like Whitworth stay with them for another season or two. We’ll be putting out some content on a weekly basis, whether it’s fantasy related or draft related, we’ll get something out, at the end of the day, we enjoy doing this.
Thanks to everyone for reading our analysis, for this being our first season doing anything like this, I think 650odd followers, and 400 views on my Superbowl post is a pretty damn good start. We finished on 129 points of profit on the season just on the weekly bets, at £10 a point that’s quite obviously over a grand. I was a little early on the Zeke Elliott award, that turned into a loss, as bloody Dak got it ahead of him… but I think we ended with about 40 pts profit on the season long bets. So a pretty successful year seeing as we do all this for free! I know people who charge £75 for the year and a similar amount for post season who don’t give you that kind of profit over the season.
Thanks again for reading. And well done if you’ve made it this far!
Adam Walford – @cavey007 – @TouchdownTips
credit to sbnation.com for the gifs.