A Look At The Stats: Pats That Stepped Up In Super Bowl LI
By now, you should be well aware of the fact that the New England Patriots came back from 25 points down to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime to win Super Bowl LI.
Of course, everyone knows that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady caught fire down the stretch on his way to a record setting fifth title win, setting Super Bowl records for completions (43), attempts (62) and passing yards (466) en route to capturing his fourth game MVP award.
People also know about pass catching running back James White’s breakout performance, which saw him set a Super Bowl record with 14 receptions and rack up 139 total yards from scrimmage three scores, including the game winner, and a two point conversion.
And who could forget Julian Edelman’s insane catch late in the fourth that finally set thing right for Pats fans that lived through the David Tyree, Mario Manningham and Jermaine Kearse catches of Super Bowls past and kept the game-tying drive alive.
But, while those guys stole the show with their big time moments, they weren’t the only Patriots to have a huge impact on the outcome of the game.
Offensively, the Pats got hugely underrated performances out of two of Tom Brady’s most trusted targets, Danny Amendola and rookie Malcolm Mitchell.
Amendola caught eight of the 11 balls thrown his way for 78 yards including one that went for a 6-yard touch down during the team’s epic comeback and another that converted the two-point conversion that tied the game up with just 57 seconds left on the clock. The slot target also caught a huge pass during the team’s game-winning overtime drive that helped move the ball into Atlanta territory.
Mitchell, who transformed from an afterthought to a key cog in the team’s offense over the final handful of weeks in the season, was one of Brady’s most reliable weapons on Sunday. The rookie wide out was targeted seven times, catching six balls for 70 yards. As the team and Brady began to break out of their funk at the end of the third quarter, it was Mitchell who became a go-to option for the future Hall-of-Famer. On the game’s biggest stage, the rookie looked as comfortable as could be.
Defensively, the Pats had some play makers rise to the occasion, as well.
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who is set to become a free agent this offseason, made multiple big plays against both the run and pass. No play was bigger, however, than his strip sack of Atlanta’s quarterback Matt Ryan, which led to a Patriot touchdown during the team’s comeback. On the night Hightower totaled the one sack, a forced fumble, two tackles for loss and two quarterback hits.
Though Hightower had the flashiest defensive play of the night, second year defensive end Trey Flowers had himself quite the coming out party, Sunday. Flowers, who rose on the team’s depth chart throughout the season with solid play and an ability to rush the passer, led the team with six total tackles in the game. He also had 2.5 sacks an 2.5 tackles for loss and five quarterback hits overall.
So while a couple of guys might have the most memorable performances of the night, there were multiple Patriots who helped lead the way for the team’s fifth Super Bowl title.