It looked like an insurmountable lead for the Falcons, but the New England Patriots showed why they’ve been to the Super Bowl a record nine times, scoring a first-ever overtime victory Sunday night, 34-28.
Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons did more than show up for the 51st Super Bowl on Sunday night. It was hard to remember that they were looked at just hours earlier as an anxious team of young bucks facing the New England Patriots and their long history of Super Bowl visits and four victories.
The first half of the game was dominated by the Falcons, and they were leading at one point, 28-3 in the third quarter. But a strong fourth quarter from the Patriots came down to a final drive that brought the game to within two points, and a successful conversion that tied the game.
A coin toss to start the overtime period gave the ball to the Patriots and, in short order, they’d secured their fifth title.
Super Bowl LI marked the 14th meeting between the two teams and the first since the Patriots traveled to Atlanta on Sept. 29, 2013 in a 30-23 win on Sunday Night Football from the Georgia Dome.
The Patriots won the last four times the teams have played in the regular season with wins in 2001, 2005 and 2013 at The Georgia Dome and in a 2009 win at Gillette Stadium.
Prior to those four wins, the Patriots had suffered four straight losses to the Falcons, dating back to 1989. The two teams spent a week working with each other at the Falcons facility prior to a 2010 preseason game.