Atlanta’s defense rose to dominate the Patriots’ offense in the first half. Their speed, explosiveness, aggression, and passion for the game was evident throughout. They were able to create pressure with 4-man rushes and match-up versus New England’s receivers man-to-man. Their speed and athletic ability also showed up as Atlanta’s defenders made tackles time after time in the open field.
Brady was harassed enough, he wasn’t himself. He hurried throws and missed open throws. The running game was stuffed. Atlanta’s defense was a completely different unit in the last quarter of the season and played stellar in the post-season. Dan Quinn and his staff did a tremendous job preparing their defense.
The New England Patriots’ defense was highly rated but had shown times of weakness in their rush defense. Statistically they looked good, but have had difficulty on the perimeter vs speed and Atlanta exploited it. The Falcons forced the Patriots to defend the width of the field which was too much for the Patriots early in the game versus the Falcons’ speed.
Atlanta’s offense as expected, made plays running and throwing versus the vulnerable first half Patriots’ defense. Atlanta’s offense was the story leading up to the Super Bowl but the Defense dominated the first half of this Super Bowl.
The Second Half
The second half started similar but the Patriots’ defense started to strengthen on the edges and played more physical. Their pass rush found its way.
The turning point in the second half was the sack fumble on Matt Ryan.
Tom Brady found a comfort zone in the pocket and found his rhythm and proceeded to pick apart the tired Falcons’ defense. They utilized RB James White as a go-to player before working his throws downfield.
Brady started making throws with pinpoint accuracy. Brady found time in the pocket as the two Falcon Defensive Tackles had lost some push.
Bill Belichick and his staff made adjustments throughout the game and those slowly started paying off as the game wore on. They wore out the smaller Falcons’ defense and shut down the high-flying offense.
Tom Brady solidified his spot as the best QB of all time and Bill Belichick, the greatest coach of all time! Bear Bryant once said, “The game is 60 minutes but lasts a lifetime.”