The Key Reason the Patriot's Beat the Falcons in Superbowl LI

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The key reason why the Patriots were able to come back and beat the Falcons in Superbowl LI.

I predicted the Patriots would win win Superbowl LI (you can read my article by visiting my portfolio), but I have to say that midway through the game last night, I had my doubts. The Falcons looked dominant on both offense and defense, flying around the ball, making stops, scoring at will. But there was an interesting stat that caught my attention at halftime and provided a ray of hope. The Patriots had run twice as many plays as the Falcons and been on the field twice as long. That meant the Falcon's defense had already played quite a bit. And they didn't just play, but they flew to the ball and were incrediably energetic and amped up. This is good, but not sustainable. By the second half, the Falcon's defense was totally gassed. This exhaustion was one of the key factors beind their loss.

In the first half of the game, the Falcons harried Tom Brady, rushing only four men but bringing significant pressure on him and forcing him into bad throws. But rushing takes a lot of energy and by the second half, the big lineman were depleted. They simply didn't have the energy to attack the ball as forcefully as they did.

The same is true of the Falcon's secondary. In the first half, the Falcons played man-to-man coverage but by the second, they retrated into zone. Everyone knows Tom Brady excels at picking apart zone defenses. So why did the Falcon's switch? Because their corners and safeties were exhausted and couldn't keep up in man-to-man situations. This shift opened up space for the running backs, tight ends, and wide receivers to catch the ball.

The Falcons defense was clearly gassed  but the offense shouldn't have been. So how did the Patriots manage to shut down the highest scoring offense in the league? They kept tinkinering with their coverages, shifting from two deep safeties to a double-team of Julio Jones. This and increased rushing pressure on Matt Ryan stalled the Falcons. This may be the most incredible aspect of the game. All the highest scoring offensein the league needed to do was score one field goal in the final 20 minutes of the game, and it would have been over. But they couldn't even manage three points.

At the end of the day, the Patriots ground the Falcons down. And as we found out last night, you have to play a complete 60 minute + game in order to win.

Submitted: February 06, 2017

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Roll on

Damn straight

Sat, September 26th, 2020 2:37pm


This reminds me of when it was panthers vs. broncos in the superbowl. All of my family was cheering for the broncos, but my brother was cheering for the panthers. Guess who won?


Wed, November 4th, 2020 8:43pm

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