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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Falcons fall to Patriots in all-time collapse

By Matthew Coller

Marshawn Lynch can’t believe the Atlanta Falcons didn’t run the ball.

With 4:47 remaining, Falcons receiver Julio Jones made what we thought was going to be the signature play of Super Bowl LII – a 27-yard leaping catch to set Atlanta up at the New England 22-yard line.

A field goal would have put the game away at 31-20. Instead of playing for a Matt Bryant kick, the Falcons called for two straight pass plays. One resulted in a sack, the other a holding call. The Falcons punted and Tom Brady led the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, capping the game off with an OT drive to beat the Falcons.

If the Seattle Seahawks taught us anything, it’s that the Patriots are never out of a game until it’s over. Cracking the door open an inch is a death wish.

Of course, even one botched drive shouldn’t have been enough for New England to come back. At halftime – and the Golden State Warriors can appreciate this – the Falcons led 21-3 (three scores to one?). Atlanta’s defense was bamboozling Brady by pressuring him consistently. In the first half, they hit him four times, sacked him twice and ran an interception back for touchdown.

But in the second half, Brady’s jersey stayed (metaphorically) clean. After opening the second half with a punt, the five-time Super Bowl champ drove the Patriots to four straight scoring drives and two two-point conversions.

Meanwhile, Atlanta’s offense, which scored the seventh most points during the regular season in NFL history, fell apart with the pressure on. With a 28-12 lead, Matt Ryan was strip-sacked, giving New England the ball at the Atlanta 36-yard line. Without the ensuing field goal, there would have been no comeback win for Brady.

Ryan was given a chance to have a Brady moment of his own. The Patriots scored too quickly to tie the game, handing the Falcons the ball with 53 ticks left on the clock – more than enough time to get in range for Bryant.

But the Falcons fouled up the clock, completing a pass for a first down, then letting the clock bleed to 32 seconds before getting off another play. Instead of dropping a short pass on purpose to stop the clock, tight end Austin Hooper caught the ball and let another 14 seconds click off. At that point, Ryan went from having plenty of time not enough.

After all that, after a fall from the top of the mountain to the bottom of a well in Texas, the Falcons still had a chance. One stop and they could still win the Super Bowl.

But Brady didn’t even give them a shot. Because that’s what Brady does. Eight plays, 75 yards, Super Bowl.

If you’re a Patriots hater or a Falcons fan, you can’t even be mad at this point. Atlanta got exactly what they deserved for giving Brady so many extra swings.

The post Falcons fall to Patriots in all-time collapse appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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