Fal­cons get de­flated

Packer Plus - - Commentary - MIKE HART

All you could say af­ter the drama that un­folded in Houston on Sun­day night

was: “What a game! Oh my Gaga!” The Su­per Bowl was in­deed su­per.

And Tom Brady is in­deed Su­per­man.

The New Eng­land Patriots quar­ter­back de­flated the city of Atlanta as well as the Fal­cons to the tune of 34-28 in over­time.

These were the same Atlanta Fal­cons who ate up and spit out the Green Bay Packers not long ago. They made the Packers look like a bunch of buf­foons.

And they were in the process of do­ing the same thing to Brady and his play­mates in this taffy-pull known as Su­per Bowl LI.

Yes sir, it was about to be a Houston Mas­sacre right on the heels of the Bowl­ing Green Mas­sacre.

Brady had a Jay Cut­ler mo­ment, too. He hurled the spher­oid into the hands of Robert Al­ford, who hap­pens to play for the Fal­cons.

Al­ford, who pre­sum­ably used de­odor­ant ear­lier in the day, scam­pered down the side­line by him­self and showed the ball at around 30. He then set the in­door record for the slow­est 30-yard saunter.

So the Fal­cons were off and run­ning — so to speak — with a 21-nil cush­ion in the sec­ond quar­ter. And Brady was off to the worst foot­ball out­ing by any­one named Brady since Mar­cia got nailed in the nose with the pigskin.

At that point, Lady Gaga was warm­ing up, the Fat Lady was start­ing to hum a few bars and Mariah Carey was still try­ing to fin­ish her New Year’s Eve seg­ment.

Early in the third quar­ter, it was more of the same. Soon the Fal­cons had a 28-3 rout go­ing on. Roger Good­ell then sum­moned the of­fi­cial jew­eler of the Na­tional Foot­ball League to have the Fal­cons fit­ted for Su­per Bowl rings.

While the Fal­cons were plan­ning their pa­rade route and the guy who bet a mil­lion bucks on Atlanta was open­ing a Swiss Bank ac­count, Brady de­cided to be­come Tom Ter­rific. Or the sec­ond com­ing of Frank Re­ich. Then view­ers were treated to shots of Gisele Bünd­chen cheer­ing him on. That didn’t hurt rat­ings.

Nei­ther did the foot­ball that was about to be played by Brady and the Patriots.

“It’s hard to imag­ine us win­ning,” Brady said. “It took a lot of great plays and that’s why you play to the end.” Boy did he play. The Atlanta de­fense, which had ren­dered Aaron Rodgers null and void, sud­denly dis­ap­peared into the Houston night.

And they took the of­fense with them. As a side note, the San Francisco 49ers may want to tell Kyle Shana­han to leave his plays from the sec­ond half be­hind in Atlanta.

Brady led the Patriots to 31 unan­swered points. There were clutch plays by James White — the kid from Wis­con­sin. White scored 20 points by him­self. Maybe Bo Ryan should have suited him up.

“We knew we had a shot the whole game,” White said. “It was an amaz­ing come­back by our team. It’s sur­real right now. You couldn’t write this script.”

You couldn’t write the script for Ju­lian Edel­man’s amaz­ing catch that kept the Patriots in this thing.

On the 91-yard drive near the end of reg­u­la­tion, he mirac­u­lously man­aged to get his hands un­der­neath a Brady pass that bounced off Al­ford’s hands, hit off his knee, his shin and then pinned against the Atlanta player’s foot. Footage of the catch will be on dis­play next to David Tyree’s hel­met in John McEn­roe’s You Can­not Be Se­ri­ous Mu­seum.

“I knew I caught it,” Edel­man said. “I felt like I had it. I didn’t know if maybe a piece of the ball was touch­ing. I don’t know what the dang rule is. No­body knows what the rule is for a catch. I was like, ‘I’m pretty sure I caught it.’”

Al­ford went from a Su­per Bowl hero to the guy left at the al­ter.

“At the end of the day, all you can con­trol is what you can con­trol,” Al­ford said. “I saw he made the play. I saw him come down with it. I saw my foot and the ball when he got his hands un­der­neath it. Some­times, there’s noth­ing more you can do.”

Soon the game was tied and mo­ments later the Fal­cons were toast.

The Fal­cons, who ev­ery­one thought were go­ing to be a dy­nasty af­ter 30 min­utes of the tilt, trudged off the gridiron won­der­ing what hit them. Well, it was Brady. He pants’d them and Good­ell.

Not a bad night of work.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Patriots wide re­ceiver Ju­lian Edel­man some­how makes a clutch catch dur­ing New Eng­land’s 91-yard drive late in the fourth quar­ter against the Fal­cons in Su­per Bowl LI.

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