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NFL: Tom Brady shines for Pats over Falcons at Super Bowl LI

New England Patriots' Tom Brady raises the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons in overtime at the NFL Super Bowl 51 (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

New England Patriots’ Tom Brady raises the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons in overtime at the NFL Super Bowl 51 (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

by The Associated Press

HOUSTON — Tom Brady led one of the greatest comebacks in sports history highlighted by a Julian Edelman catch that was almost beyond belief. The Patriots pulled themselves out of a 25-point hole against the Atlanta Falcons to a 34-28 win for New England’s fifth NFL championship. It was the first Super Bowl decided in overtime.

The Patriots scored 19 points in the final quarter, including a pair of 2-point conversions, then marched relentlessly to James White’s 2-yard touchdown run in overtime after winning the coin toss. White scored three touchdowns and a 2-pointer.

Brady guided the Patriots (17-2) through a tiring Atlanta defense for fourth-quarter touchdowns on a 6-yard pass to Danny Amendola and a 1-yard run by White, which came with 57 seconds remaining in regulation. White ran for the first 2-pointer and Amendola did the deed with a reception on the second.

Brady finished 43 for 62, the most attempts in Super Bowl history, for 466 yards, also a record, and two touchdowns.

Before the stunning rally — New England already held the biggest comeback in the final period when it turned around a 10-point deficit to beat Seattle two years ago — the Falcons (13-6) appeared poised to take their first NFL championship in 51 seasons. Having never been in such a pressurized environment, their previously staunch pass rush disappeared, they stumbled on offense and Brady tore them apart.

Brady and coach Bill Belichick won their 25th postseason game, by far a record. The Falcons added to Atlanta’s long history of pro sports frustration.

Belichick became the first coach with five Super Bowl crowns.

The comeback included dozens of huge plays, including Ryan’s fumble on a sack, Edelman’s catch off of a defender’s shoe and Brady’s passing. White had 14 receptions for 110 yards, but Brady hit seven different receivers.

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