Brady, Patriots pull off biggest comeback in Super Bowl history

Brady, Patriots pull off biggest comeback in Super Bowl history


HOUSTON -- Tom Brady led one of the greatest comebacks in sports history highlighted by an unbelievable Julian Edelman catch that helped lift New England from a 25-point hole against the Atlanta Falcons to the Patriots' fifth Super Bowl victory, the first ever in overtime.

The Patriots scored 19 points in the final quarter, including a pair of 2-point conversions, then marched relentlessly to James White's 2-yard touchdown run in overtime to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 Sunday night.

Brady, the first quarterback with five Super Bowl rings, guided the Patriots (17-2) through a tiring Atlanta defense for fourth-quarter touchdowns on a 6-yard pass to Danny Amendola and a 1-yard run by White, which came with 57 seconds remaining in regulation. White ran for the first 2-pointer and Amendola did the deed with a reception on the second.

Brady, winning Super Bowl MVP for a record fourth-time, finished 43 for 62, the most attempts in Super Bowl history, for 466 yards, also a record, and two touchdowns.

"You know, we all brought each other back," Brady said. "We never felt out of it. It was a tough battle. They have a great team. I give them a lot of credit. We just made a few more plays than them."

Before the stunning rally - New England already held the biggest comeback in the final period when it turned around a 10-point deficit to beat Seattle two years ago - the Falcons (13-6) appeared poised to take their first NFL championship in 51 seasons. Having never been in such a pressurized environment, their previously staunch pass rush disappeared, they stumbled on offense and Brady tore them apart.

"Deflategate" far behind them, Brady and coach Bill Belichick won their 25th postseason game, by far a record. The Falcons added to Atlanta's long history of pro sports frustration.

Belichick became the first coach with five Super Bowl crowns.

The Patriots won the coin toss for overtime and it was no contest. Brady completed six passes against an overmatched Falcons secondary. A pass interference call took the ball to the 2, and White scooted to his right and barely over the goal line.

His teammates streamed off the sideline to engulf White as confetti streamed down from the NRG Stadium rafters.

It was almost an impossible dream for the Patriots a bit earlier. But helped by Matt Ryan's fumble on a sack, a Edelman's catch off of a defender's shoe, and Brady's passing, they never stopped coming.

White scored three touchdowns and had 14 receptions for 110 yards, but Brady hit seven different receivers.

Until the Patriots took charge with their late surge, league MVP Ryan was outplaying Brady. It didn't last.

Atlanta's string of touchdowns on its opening drive ended at eight, though Devonta Freeman sprinted for 37 yards on the Falcons' first offensive play. The drive was stunted when Ryan was sacked by Trey Flowers, New England's leader in that category.

Then it was Atlanta's D that went sacks-happy, getting two on the Patriots' next drive in what would be a scoreless opening quarter. Who expected that? Well, New England has not scored a point in the first 15 minutes in Brady's seven Super Bowls.

It sure looked as if the Patriots would get on the board immediately in the second period as Brady and Edelman connected twice for 40 yards. But Blount's fumble turned the momentum to the Falcons, who then took their biggest lead in a Super Bowl - yeah, we know, they have been here only twice - on Freeman's 5-yard run to cap a quick 71-yard drive on which Jones came alive.

Jones showed why he is an All-Pro receiver with a tough leaping catch over the middle for 19 yards, then got open on the sideline for 23. Freeman did the rest.

Before New England could catch its breath, Ryan had the Falcons up by 14. Using the no-huddle attack to perfection, he threw for 51 yards on a 52-yard drive, hitting Hooper with a pinpoint pass in the left side of the end zone.

Then Brady was victimized by his own poor decision, a rarity on the big stage. Atlanta was called for defensive holding three times on third downs to keep the drive alive. From the Falcons 23, under pressure Brady tried to squeeze a throw to Danny Amendola. Alford stepped in and sprinted, then glided 82 yards for the second-longest pick-6 in a Super Bowl - and Brady's first.

Shockingly, it was 21-0.

New England gathered its wits for a 52-yard drive to Stephen Gostkowski's 41-yard field goal. Still, it was 21-3 when Lady Gaga took the stage.

There was smoke hanging over the field when both teams had three-and-outs to open the third quarter. It was a mirage regarding Ryan and Co., who marched 85 yards to Coleman's 6-yard TD catch on a swing pass. While New England scored the next nine points on James White's 5-yard TD reception - the extra point was missed by Gostkowski, who later made a 33-yard field goal.

Watch Raiders' Vontaze Burfict seemingly try to punch Vikings players


Watch Raiders' Vontaze Burfict seemingly try to punch Vikings players

Things didn't go well for the Raiders in a 34-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

Oakland trailed the Vikings by two touchdowns, and would fall into a 28-7 hole by the end of the third quarter of its Week 3 tilt at U.S. Bank Stadium. Frustration seemed to come to a head for Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict, as the 28-year-old appeared to try to punch Vikings players at the end of a Dalvin Cook run. 

Burfict has a lengthy history of NFL discipline for on-field incidents. He spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals and was fined or suspended 13 times from 2012 through 2018. In March, For The Win calculated that the linebacker incurred around $4.12 million in fines on top of the 10 games he missed.

[RELATED: Gap between Raiders, Chiefs will widen if KC lands Ramsey]

Coach Jon Gruden has counted on Burfict as one of the team's leaders during the linebacker's first season with the Raiders. Burfict was named a team captain before the season started, and he reportedly served as a voice of reason in former Raiders receiver Antonio Brown's practice-field confrontation with general manager Mike Mayock. 

Whether or not Burfict gets a call from Park Avenue for additional discipline remains to be seen, but Sunday's apparent punch probably wasn't what the team had in mind when Burfict became a captain. 

Raiders takeaways: What we learned from 34-14 blowout loss vs. Vikings


Raiders takeaways: What we learned from 34-14 blowout loss vs. Vikings


MINNEAPOLIS – The Raiders started a prolonged stretch of road games with a thud, getting beat in every facet on Sunday by the Minnesota Vikings.

It’s hard to find an area to glean positivity or progress from a 34-14loss to the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium, with the entire team struggling to establish a productive rhythm.

The run game was inconsistent. Derek Carr’s accuracy was off. The seemingly improved Raiders rushing defense got gashed by excellent Vikings back Dalvin Cook.

Here are three takeaways from the Raiders’ second-straight loss. As you’d expect, none of them are flattering:

Poor showing kills early-season optimism

The Raiders entered this season with lofty expectations, and held them close after beating Denver and playing Kansas City tough for three of four quarters. The Minnesota Vikings seemed like a beatable team, one that could help the Raiders start a season-defining stretch off right.

The Silver and Black couldn’t even compete. They got beat in every phase in a game they were never in, without quarterback pressure from the defensive line or protection from the offensive front.

The team’s glaring lack of receiver speed and poor protection prevents many deep-shot opportunities, so the Vikings sold out to stop Josh Jacobs in this one.

This is the first of five straight games away from Oakland, all against legitimate division title contenders from the NFC North and AFC South.

The Raiders left U.S. Bank Stadium exposed, showing a lack of linebacker depth and serious problems at free safety. The pass rush had a terrible day, unable to affect the quarterback in any way. Kirk Cousins will pick a defense apart when comfortable and supported by a dynamic run game the Raiders couldn’t stop.

The offense isn’t consistent enough to sustain long drives or dynamic enough to score quickly. That unit has scored just two touchdowns in the last seven quarters, which isn’t nearly enough to compete with the defense stumbling.

All of those problems against the Vikings will be issues in the next four games, all against good teams. Similar showing against the Colts, Bears, Packers and Texans quickly could put the season in dire straits.

Derek Carr looks off

The Raiders quarterback didn’t have his best day. He was inaccurate at times, including a key first-half interception that led to a Vikings touchdown.

Carr’s pass sailed high of tight end Foster Moreau, giving Harrison Smith an easy interception. The signal-caller was under pressure most of the day but not on that throw, which didn’t go his way.

The Vikings had four sacks on the day and the Raiders couldn’t establish a steady pocket. Carr finished the game with 242 yards on 27-of-34passing and an average of 7.1 yards per attempt.

The Raiders didn’t work deep portions of the field, and didn’t get much from lateral passes looking for a big catch and run. Carr normally has great touch, but he seemed off in this game. That impacted the offensive consistency, which missed several opportunities to get back in this game.

[RELATED: Gap between Raiders, Chiefs could widen if KC lands Ramsey]

Penalties play role in rough start

The Raiders could’ve started Sunday’s game with a three-and-out. A holding call on Gareon Conley on third down kept defenders on the field. An encroachment call also gave Minnesota a free first down, and the Vikings finished the drive with Adam Thielen’s 35-yard touchdown catch.

That was a huge early swing, and the Raiders didn’t respond to it well. The offense went three and out, and the defense extended the second Vikings series with a roughing the passer call on third down. Minnesota worked out another touchdown, leaving the Raiders down two scores in a flash.

Carr’s interception gave Minnesota a short field and the Vikings went up 21-0 a short while later, effectively putting this game to bed in the first half. The Raiders can’t afford to give away free opportunities and expect to win games. They did that too often, too early in this game to stand a puncher’s chance.