Super Bowl 51 featured one of the biggest comebacks in NFL history and at the center of it all was Tom Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback who led the charge after being down by 25 points late in the third quarter.
During the first half, the Patriots offense was terrible and the Atlanta Falcons defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage. Brady was inaccurate, the receivers dropped passes, and LeGarrette Blount fumbled in Falcons territory. This allowed Atlanta to easily march down the field and take a commanding 28-3 lead after halftime.
The second half was completely different, however. The receivers broke free of Dan Quinn’s man coverage. Brady and New England’s OC Josh McDaniels fell into a rhythm that transformed the previously stagnant offense into a juggernaut able to score 25 points unanswered leading to the first overtime in Super Bowl history. In overtime, the Patriots won the coin toss and effortlessly drove down the field beating the exhausted Falcons defense.
The shear number of offensive plays New England ran was the main reason why they were successful. Atlanta primarily played man coverage throughout most of the game and could not keep up with the offense during the fourth quarter and during overtime. In this game, they ran 93 offensive plays. For context, an average team will run 60-65 plays. A more enlightening comparison transpires when you compare the Patriots’ 93 plays to Atlanta’s 46 plays. They more than doubled that figure while almost having double the time of possession (40 mins vs 23 mins) as well.
According to PatsPulpit, the Patriots set 24 new Super Bowl records during this victory. Here are the records that he is directly credited for:
- Most games – 7
- Most Passes, Career – 309
- Most Passes, Game – 62
- Most Completions, Career – 207
- Most Completions, Game – 43
- Most Passing Yards, Career – 2,071
- Most Passing Yards, Game – 466
- Most Touchdown Passes, Career – 15
- Most Games Won – 5
With five Super Bowl championships, it’s clear that he may go down as the greatest quarterback of all time. Bill Belichick has consistently produced a winning product in New England and will definitely join him in the Hall of Fame when both decide to retire.