2016 Season Blog.

Super Bowl.

Part III.


Greetings Pats Fans,

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Greatest NFL Game Ever played.


The Falcons came out a little too cocky, but you sure as hell can't blame them as they drove down the field and scored a TD to go up 25-points. "It's hard tonight for the lessons," Atlanta HC Dan Quinn said. "What I can tell you is you can't truly be relentless until it's right there, and you've got to take it away or you didn't get it. A loss like tonight, although it's difficult, I would like to think that this group, we're putting our stamp and we're just getting started to be what we can be." No team had ever overcome the lead that they had just earned in the 1st Half.

They showed their youth, by thinking that game was over. "There's nothing you can really say," Matty Ice said. "That's a tough loss. Obviously very disappointed, very close to getting done what we wanted to get done, but it's hard to find words tonight." Just like everybody watching (me included), they thought the game was done when Ice led them to the TD that put them up 28-3.

The Pats came out after Atlanta went up 25-points. "[BB] cast a wizard spell over us the changed everything," Solder said. "He said that we have to keep doing what we’re doing, play like we know how to play and not think about what happened. They have to score a lot more points to keep us down. We knew we could score enough points to win." They had to climb a mountain that had never been climbed before, and time was running out.

They made the tough decision to stick to the script. "In football you have a choose to make, you can decide that the game is out of reach and start scrambling and going into some type of two-minute mode earlier than you really want to," McDaniels said. "At halftime [we decided] we definitely weren't going to do that. We knew we want to stick with at least a little bit of a threat of a run. What we needed to do was create some positive plays. And just execute some things and get a drive finished into the endzone. And that's what we didn't do very well in the 1st Half." The Falcons had really changed up everything they did on D against Green Bay.

They played an aggressive man in coverage almost exclusively in the 1st Half. "It was a cover-1 game, absolutely. We didn't have a lot of success running the ball. We were able to make enough throws outside, and that finally was the difference for us, when we were able to get the ball to the perimeter," Belichick said. "To me, the game declared at the end of the 1st quarter. It was a man-to-man game with a free safety, and it was an outside run game. We didn't do a great job at either one of them, but it declared early and we played it from there." Which wasn't their M.O in previous games. 

But they couldn't continue that scheme up 25. "Obviously, they gave us a lot of man coverage early in the game," BB said. "We didn't do a very good job with it. Later on, [after some adjustments] we got more productive. When they started mixing in some Zone, we were able to hit that too." I said in the preview that if they zoned it up too much Brady would rip them a new one.

After they went up 28-3, they had to go back to the Cover-3 zone they showed in the first two Playoff games more. "So they made the adjustments," Bennett said. "There was no great speech. There were no guys arguing, throwing helmets or anything. We came in and made adjustments. Everyone was focused on doing what we had to do and that was it. We just made adjustments. And changed up our game plan. And how we were going to attack and that is what we went with." And Brady started tearing them a new one.

The Pats lined up 1st and 10 at the 25, with 8:31 left in the 3rd quarter, in a 4-Wide Weak shotgun, Trips right. Brady turned right and kept twitching his arm like he was trying to throw to one of the WRs. Dion had scooted out of the backfield to the left, and then dragged back all the way to the right under the WRs. Brady finally threw it to him.

2nd and 7, Empty. The Falcons showed blitz. Brady hit White, who angled inside the DB, and then cut in straight down the sideline. "You know James did a great job for us, like he always does," BB said. "He's a clutch receiver, and very good with the ball in his hands. He got the ball on a couple of those angle routes against zone coverage, and got some good yardage there. He caught a couple of big 3rd down conversions there [as well]." He caught it, as the DB hit his legs, and turned up field for the First.

1st and 10, 3-Wide Strong shotgun with Bennett motioning around behind Cannon. Brady handed the ball off underneath to Dion. He skipped and scooted outside for about eight. 2nd and 2, Pats in a 3-Wide Weak, as Bennett danced behind Cannon and Brady read the defense. They hand it underneath, on the opposite side, to Dion again. But he got swarmed over for nothing.

3rd and an all important 3, they lined up in a Trips-right Singleback. Brady threw a lateral to Edelman, who ran behind Amendola and Hogan. Dion took off outside on the other side. Edelman threw across the field to Dion digging down the field, but Edelman threw it a little too far ahead of him.

4th and 3, the Pats lined up in a Trips-left 4-Wide Weak shotgun. This was the first play were if they don't execute the game is over. "Just great concentration," McDaniels said. "To win a game like this, after the way we feel behind like we did, you are going to need a few plays like that. That was one of them. To covert two 2-point conversions, another 4th down, you know to Amendola on a scoring drive. You have to make all those plays right when you fall behind by 25-points. Our guys deserve all the credit, they were the ones who went out there and executed under pressure." Brady threw outside to Amendola on an Out underneath Edelman.

1st and 10 at the 37, the Pats Empty. They blitzed off the edge. Brady just had time to catch the ball, twist it into his throwing hand, and whip it at Amendola in the flat. That was such a bang-bang play that Amendola just ran a two-yard out, and anymore and Brady would have been sacked.

2nd and 8 at the 35, the Pats lined up in a 4-Wide Strong shotgun. Brady had time, but then had to dump the ball off in the general area of Edelman. "With a guy like Tom Brady, you can never lose hope," White said. "Anything can happen. We played a complementary football game. Defense came out, and the second half, they played unbelievable, the special teams played unbelievable. The offense, we just tried to score points." I had lost hope, but couldn't stop watching the horror.

3rd and 8, the Pats lined up in a 4-Wide Weak shotgun with Bennett standing up next to Cannon. Brady got pressure from the left. So he took off to the right. He almost looked spry as he sprinted past the marker. This was the second play that if they don't convert they lose (though they would have had a second shot on 4th down).

1st and 10 at the 20, the Pats lined up in a Big-Ugly Singleback as the clock clicked down to 4-minutes left in the 3rd. They ran a Smash right. Blount got to the line. Then he followed Fleming, who was driving the DE 4-yards back into the dirt. "No," Bennett said when asked if he was worried. "We just kept doing what we aways did. We kept playing. We kept trusting one another. We played for one another. And we came through. I came here to win a Super Bowl, 'the drive for five.' We got on the buses and we drove for Five. and we picked up the fifth one. Tom Brady needed a ring for his thumb." Bennett slammed helmets so hard with the DE on the other side that their helmets clamped together.

This was the true changing point in the game for the Pats. This was where the Pats became the more physical team for the first time in the game. "Our execution was better [in the 2nd Half], I thought," Brady said. "We moved the ball, and I think the Falcons were 28th in defense in yards. But they a tough defense. They gave up yards, but they don't let you score many points. They turn the ball over, and they got two turnover in the 1st Half. We needed to make some plays and the strip sack was huge. That got up right back in it." Before this play the Falcons had been the most physical team on both sides of the ball. From this point on the Pats were the most physical team on both sides of the ball.

This was the third play of the game, where if they didn't convert, and start getting more physical than the Falcons, than they would have lost. "We just kept pluggin' away. We just We just kept fightin' and kept tryin' to make plays," BB said. "Fortunately we were able to make just enough plays in the end there to get it back to a 'two-score' game at 16-points." There were five Falcons on the ground before Blount went down on this play.

2nd and 5 at the 21, the Pats lined up in a Singleback with Lengel lined up next to Cannon instead of Fleming. They ran Blount off tackle behind Cannon, Lengel, and Edelman. All three guys out physicalled defenders, and trapped more behind them with traffic. Blount read it well, and ran for the 1st, and then he dragged Alford for five more yards.

1st and Goal, from the 7, the Pats lined up in a 2-Wide Strong shotgun. They ran Blount to the left.  "He's the greatest quarterback of all time," Blount said. "People can argue, but I don't see an argument. He piles on stats and wins and everything on his resume. Obviously he's going to be a first-ballot hall of famer." He tried to follow Shaq, but an LB slipped in behind him. Then he was knocked back by three other defenders.

2nd and Goal from the Five, the Pats lined up in a 3-Wide Weak shotgun, Twins right. White snuck out of the backfield angling outside. He caught the DB facing the sideline. It was the CB Collins coming up to tackle him.

So he spun back inside. "James? I see that every day in practice," Hightower said. "He's a big reason why we're to get the looks that we needed for Freeman and Coleman [in practice] was because of backs like him and Dion Lewis, and Blount obviously. He had a hell of game. I wouldn't expect anything less from James. He deserves all the lose as a football player." He made him miss, and then dived into the endzone for the Pats first TD.

This changed everything in the game. "Eventually we got one score there in the 3rd quarter," McDaniels said. "Form there we knew we were a couple scores away. We just wanted to get it to a one score game. Put some pressure on them, and make them have to make some plays, where there was some pressure in the stadium. Because basically they were playing the whole without that, and that was our fault. We didn't do a very good job of taking care of the ball. We put ourselves in a hole. But the guys grinded it out, and we always had confidence we would make it." That was the fourth play, because if they don't convert that drive into a touchdown they loose. 

The holder double clutched the snap, and Gostkowski missed the extra point, which kept the Pats down 17, with only 17 minutes and six seconds left in the Game. Pats-9. Falcons-28.

The Pats tried on onside kick, but the ball doinked off Gostkowski's leg, as he tried too hard to make up for the extra point. This put the Pats in big trouble, as the Falcons recovered the onside kick on the wrong side of the 50, and they got five yards closer because of the penalty.

1st and 10, Falcons Empty at the 41. The Pats matched up in a 3-3 with eight guys on the line showing press. Ryan had time, and threw to Hooper uncovered in the Box. Then the TV guys announce Ryan was the NFL MVP, LOL!

2nd and 1 at the 32, the Falcons lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback. The Pats matched up in 3-3 Nickel with five guys on the line. They tried to run outside, but Hightower set the edge beautifully. He sent him inside to Roberts and Flowers. Flowers took him down short as a flag was thrown.

They called a Hold on the OLT for grabbing Hightower as he set the edge. "We just had correction, and sideline adjustments," Hightower said. "We're a smart team. Coach had some adjustments, and we we're able to do that. It’s all about coming out and executing. And guys just came out a little bit more fired up. We were able to get things going, and one thing led to another, and the next thing we knew we were back in the game." He beat the OLT to the corner, and the OLT had to grab hold from behind.

This was play number Five that had to happen or the Pats lose. Because this seemed to really disjoint the Falcons' offense. They huddled for so long that Ryan had to call a timeout without them ever lining up. The Pats defense also really out physicalled the Falcons for the first time, and they seemed a little confused by it.

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