Pats pull off biggest Super Bowl comeback

HOUSTON (AP) – The Latest on Super Bowl 51 (all times local):


9:25 p.m.

Tom Brady has a record fifth Super Bowl win for a quarterback after the biggest comeback in the game’s history, and one of the greatest catches.

James White ran 2 yards for a touchdown on the first possession of overtime, and the Patriots came back from 25 points down for a 34-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51.

The Patriots drove to the tying score with help from a unbelievable catch by Julian Edelman, who somehow kept the ball off the turf on a diving grab of a tipped pass that bounced off a defender’s shoe.

James White ran 1 yard for a touchdown, and Brady’s 2-point conversion pass to Danny Amendola tied the score at 28-all with 57 seconds left.

The Falcons, who lost again in their second Super Bowl, led 28-3 in the third quarter after Matt Ryan’s second touchdown pass. Robert Alford had an 82-yard interception return in the first half.

– Schuyler Dixon reporting from Houston


SCORE ALERT: The New England Patriots have wiped out a 28-3 deficit to force the first overtime in Super Bowl history against the Atlanta Falcons.

Tom Brady threw a tying 2-point conversion pass to Danny Amendola after James White’s 1-yard touchdown run to get the Patriots even at 28-all with 57 seconds remaining.

The tying sequence was set up by a stunning catch from Julian Edelman, who somehow kept a tipped pass off the ground with a diving catch at the Atlanta 41.

No team has ever come back from more than 10 points down in the Super Bowl.

– Schuyler Dixon reporting from Houston

8:45 p.m.

SCORE ALERT: The New England Patriots are closing fast after Tom Brady’s second touchdown pass following Atlanta’s first turnover.

Brady threw a 6-yard scoring pass to Danny Amendola and James White ran in the 2-point conversion to get the Patriots within one score at 28-20 in Super Bowl 51.

The score was set up by Dont’a Hightower’s sack of Matt Ryan, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Alan Branch at the Falcons 25-yard line.

– Schuyler Dixon reporting from Houston


8:35 p.m.

SCORE ALERT: The New England Patriots have gotten a little closer, but are still a long way from pulling off the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.

Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 33-yard field goal with 9:44 left, and New England trails the Atlanta Falcons 28-12.

The Patriots had to settle for a field goal after Tom Brady was sacked twice in three plays after they got to the Atlanta 7. It was Gostkwoski’s second field goal of the game.

No team has ever come back from more than 10 points down in the Super Bowl.

– Stephen Hawkins reporting from Houston


8:15 p.m.

SCORE ALERT: Tom Brady has thrown his first touchdown in Super Bowl 51, a 5-yarder to running back James White, but the New England Patriots still trail the Atlanta Falcons 28-9 after the third quarter.

Stephen Gostkowski missed the extra point, which hit the right upright.

While it was good for the Patriots to get in the end zone, the 13-play, 75-yard drive took nearly 6½ minutes off the clock.

Brady had a big 15-yard run to convert third-and-8 from the Falcons 35. He was back to pass when he saw an opening and took off running, sliding down without getting hit.

But the Patriots clearly showed some sense of desperation.

They tried a trick play during the middle of that scoring drive, but receiver Julian Edelman’s third-and-3 pass just short of midfield was incomplete. They then went for it on fourth down, with Brady hitting Danny Amendola for 18 yards.

After the touchdown, New England tried an onside kick. But the ball didn’t travel 10 yards before Gostkowski touched it, drawing a penalty and giving the ball to the Falcons.

– Stephen Hawkins reporting from Houston

7:55 p.m.

SCORE ALERT: Matt Ryan has thrown a 6-yard touchdown pass to Tevin Coleman and the Atlanta Falcons have taken a 28-3 lead over the New England Patriots in the third quarter of Super Bowl 51.

Ryan hit Coleman in the flat, and the Falcons running back beat linebacker Rob Ninkovich to the pylon. The score capped an 85-yard drive in eight plays, fueled by a 35-yard pass to Taylor Gabriel.

Ryan, the NFL regular-season MVP, is 12 of 14 for 193 yards with two touchdowns.

– Schuyler Dixon reporting from Houston


7:45 p.m.

The Atlanta Falcons have already defeated two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks this postseason.

Now they have a 21-3 in the second half over four-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Only one team has ever defeated three starting Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks in the same postseason, according to Elias.

That was seven years ago when the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts, after wins over Kurt Warner and Brett Favre in the NFC playoffs.

Atlanta got to Super Bowl 51 with NFC playoff wins over Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks) and Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers).

– Stephen Hawkins reporting from Houston

7:35 p.m.

The roof is closed for the game but was opened slightly for Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show.

The answer for why came at the end of a spectacular display of lights during her performance. Fireworks were set off from the roof of Houston’s NRG Stadium as the show finished.

The roof closed again as soon as the show was over. Some of the smoke and haze from the show escaped, but not all of it. As happens frequently at the Super Bowl – particularly those indoors – there was a haze for the start of the second half.

The New England Patriots trail the Atlanta Falcons 21-3 at halftime. The Patriots have won four straight games indoors. Their last defeat was Super Bowl 46 after the 2011 season, a 21-17 loss to the New York Giants.


7:15 p.m.

Tom Brady is facing quite a challenge to become the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls.

Brady had an interception returned for a touchdown, and a New England fumble turned into another score for Atlanta in the first half of Super Bowl 51. The Falcons lead 21-3, with New England getting its only score on a 41-yard field goal with 2 seconds left in the half.

This is the seventh Super Bowl that Brady has started for New England. The Patriots had never trailed by more than 10 points in any of their previous six Super Bowls.

Brady is 16-of-26 passing for 184 yards, and that interception Robert Alford returned 82 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 Atlanta lead.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, this season’s MVP, is 7-of-8 passing for 115 yards and a touchdown.

Falcons linebacker De’Vondre Campbell left in the first half with cramps and was questionable to return.


7:05 p.m.

SCORE ALERT: Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 41-yard field goal with 2 seconds left in the first half, and the New England Patriots finally are on the scoreboard.

The Atlanta Falcons, trying to win their first Super Bowl, lead 21-3 at halftime.


6:50 p.m.

SCORE ALERT: Robert Alford’s 82-yard interception return for a touchdown has put the Atlanta Falcons up 21-0 over the New England Patriots with 2:21 left in the first half.

It appeared that the Patriots might finally get on the scoreboard, but Tom Brady was under pressure when he unloaded the third-down pass.

If Brady is going to become the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls, he and the Patriots will have to do something that has never been done.

According to Elias Sports, no team has won a Super Bowl after trailing by more than 10 points.

Three teams have overcome 10-point deficits to win the Super Bowl. The most recent was Brady and the Patriots two years ago against the Seattle Seahawks.

SCORE ALERT: Matt Ryan has thrown a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Austin Hooper and the Atlanta Falcons lead the New England Patriots 14-0 with 8:48 to go in the first half of Super Bowl 51.

Ryan, trying to become the first player to be the NFL’s MVP and win a Super Bowl in the same season since 1999, is 7-of-8 passing for 115 yards.

The latest drive, after a Patriots punt, started with Ryan hitting Taylor Gabriel for 24 yards and then throwing an 18-yard pass to Julio Jones, who made a nice tip-toe catch along the sideline.

– Stephen Hawkins reporting from Houston


6:15 p.m.

SCORE ALERT: The Atlanta Falcons have taken a 7-0 lead in Super Bowl 51 on Devonta Freeman’s 5-yard touchdown run with 12:15 left in the second quarter.

The five-play, 71-yard drive was set up when Deion Jones forced a fumble by Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount, and the ball was recovered by Richard Alford.

Matt Ryan, the NFL MVP, then threw passes of 19 and 23 yards to Julio Jones, who didn’t catch a pass in the first quarter.

– Stephen Hawkins reporting from Houston


6:05 p.m.

While so many were expecting a shootout, a scoreless first quarter in the Super Bowl is nothing new for Tom Brady.

Brady, trying to become the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls, never led his team to a point in the first quarter of his previous six Super Bowls, including his four wins.

In the 2004 Super Bowl in the same building, when the Patriots beat Carolina 32-29, it was scoreless after the first quarter in Houston’s NRG Stadium.

Each team punted twice in the first quarter. The biggest highlight was Devonta Freeman’s 37-yard run for Atlanta. But the Falcons didn’t get another first down on that drive.

For the first time in 11 years, both teams punted on each of their first two offensive possessions in a Super Bowl.

– Schuyler Dixon reporting from Houston


5:50 p.m.

It was a great start for the Atlanta Falcons with Devonta Freeman’s 37-yard run on their first offensive snap of the game.

Freeman then ran for 3 yards and they didn’t get another first down on the opening drive before MVP Matt Ryan was sacked on third down by Trey Flowers.

So the teams exchanged punts on their first two drives. It was the first time Atlanta hadn’t scored on its opening possession in nine games.

– Stephen Hawkins reporting from Houston


5:35 p.m.

Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, took part in the pregame coin toss – and New England Patriots have the ball first in Super Bowl 51.

The Atlanta Falcons won the toss, but deferred their selection to the second half.

The former first couple got a huge ovation, including applause from coaches and players from both teams, when they came onto the field slowly with Barbara in a golf cart and the 92-year-old former president being pushed in a wheelchair next to her.

The Bushes often attend games of the Houston Texans, the host stadium for its second Super Bowl.

Bush, the nation’s 41st president, was recently released from Houston Methodist Hospital, where he received treatment for pneumonia for more than two weeks.

Vice President Mike Pence was also attending the game. He was seen applauding as well.

The teams were on the wrong sides when they lined up and had to be told to switch sides.

– Stephen Hawkins reporting from Houston


5:05 p.m.

The teams have cleared the field and the Super Bowl pre-game festivities are close to beginning.

The New England Patriots jogged off the turf to cheers at Houston’s NRG Stadium while the Atlanta Falcons ran through some of their plays as part of final preparations Sunday.

Tom Brady got the biggest roar during warmups by running the length of the field and throwing some fist pumps at the crowd from the end zone with the Patriots logo. The 39-year-old New England star is trying to become the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls.

After the players left, workers began setting up speakers and a small stage that mirrored part of the NFL logo at midfield.

– Schuyler Dixon reporting from Houston


4:35 p.m.

Tom Brady has taken the field for the Super Bowl, and fired up New England fans with a couple of fist pumps as he finished a run toward the end zone covered with the Patriots logo.

Brady is trying to become the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls. It would give him one more than Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana.

The Patriots are going for their fifth title as well. From the sound of things during the pregame, they’ve got plenty of support at Houston’s NRG Stadium.

– Schuyler Dixon reporting from Houston


3:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump is predicting an 8-point victory by the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Trump made the prediction during a Fox News interview taped Saturday and aired a few hours before the game.

While Trump counts Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as a friend and says he likes coach Bill Belichick and owner Bob Kraft, he also praises the Atlanta Falcons as a “fantastic team.”

But, Trump says, “You have to stick up for your friends, right?”

Trump tells Fox News host Bill O’Reilly that the Patriots are more comfortable because they’ve been to the big game before. He says, “Once you’ve done it, there’s a lot less pressure.”

The Patriots have won the Super Bowl four times while the Falcons have played for the championship once and lost.


3:15 p.m.

If you’re without a device in New York City and need an update on who’s winning the Super Bowl, find the Empire State Building.

At kickoff at Houston’s NRG Stadium, the famous tower in Manhattan will be split between the colors of the New England Patriots (blue, red and white) and the Atlanta Falcons (red and black). When each team scores, the building will sparkle in that team’s colors. It will remain lit in the colors of the team with the lead.

After the game, the winning team’s colors will sparkle for an hour before remaining lit in those colors until sunrise.

The Empire State Building did the same thing a year ago when Denver beat Carolina last year.

– Schuyler Dixon reporting from Houston


2 p.m.

Fans started entering NRG Stadium four hours before the Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.

The Patriots are going for their fifth Super Bowl in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era. A win would give Brady the most Super Bowls in league history, breaking a tie with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw.

The Patriots have overcome Brady’s four-game “Deflategate” suspension, star tight end Rob Gronkowski’s season-ending back surgery and the loss of two defensive stalwarts, Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins.

The Falcons, making their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, are going for their first title led by league MVP Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones.

Country star Luke Bryan will do the national anthem and Lady Gaga will perform the halftime show.

New England will enter the game as a 3-point favorite.


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