4th Quarter March thru Atlanta

New England had the ball for forty minutes and made 37 first downs.  Atlanta only 17 first downs and 23 and a half minutes with the ball in their hands.

Those stats made for a tired Atlanta defense, throw in some horrible plays, and it opened the door for New England.

The story line going in was how a win would turn Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots into the most dominant Super Bowl team of all time.

After watching the game, I'd have to say the story was how Atlanta lost.

21 - 3 at half.  28 - 3 early in the third quarter.

The Falcons had the ball in easy field goal range when a holding call and a sack pushed them back.

When New England forced a punt, they had a chance.

The problem started earlier than that.  As Atlanta paved its way to a big lead they weren't using much clock and New England ran more offensive plays.

So when the Patriots got the ball back and went down the field to get a touchdown of their own and topped it with a 2 point conversion to pull within 8, the tide was flowing against Atlanta.

On the ensuing kick-off, when Atlanta needed to keep possession, they failed and punted the ball back.

Patriots scored again, get another two point conversion and tie the game.

While there was nearly a minute left when Atlanta received their last kick-off, their mistakes continued.  The returner tried to bring it out and didn't get far.  The offense still couldn't move it after an explosive first half.  One more punt; the Patriots ran out the clock and we got our first Super Bowl overtime.

The Patriots won the toss, took the ball, and drove it to the end zone to win on former Wisconsin Badger James White's 2 yard touchdown run.

Congrats to White, who scored three touchdowns (two catches and the winning run) and a two point conversion.

For the Falcons and their fans, this is the worst way to lose.  Up 25 in the second half and 19 at the end of the third quarter - no team had ever lost a game when leading by that margin with just 15 minutes left on the clock.

There is no moral victory for Atlanta.  It's a bad loss and one they have to live with for a very long time.  I feel for you, Atlanta.