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Play by play recap of SB LI


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A basic breakdown of the play by play for the game.  I threw in some opinions but mostly it was just reaction to what I saw as I watched the game removed from the emotions I've worked through the past couple of weeks now.  The goal of this was to see just how much an effect the various topics we've been discussing actually had on the game.  Everything from it being fixed, to it being Shanahan's fault or another individual.  For me, seeing the game broken down this way reveals other not so obvious patterns that took place.  The emotional roller coaster of watching the game live doesn't always allow you an impartial process.  So I waited these couple of weeks before I subjected myself to this.  

 

Super Bowl LI

Play-by-play recap

1st quarter

 

N.E. Possession

1st & 10 on N.E. 25 – Pass incomplete

2nd & 10 – Pass complete, 9yd gain

3rd & 1 – Run to the right, no gain

Drive: Punt

Takeaway from drive – ATL defense was prepared

Penalty on 10 yard return – Flag - holding on ATL

ATL Possession: 13:37 left

1st & 10 on ATL 8 – Run to the left, 37yd gain

1st & 10 on ATL 45 - Run to the left, 3yd gain

2nd & 7 – Pass complete, 3yd gain

3rd & 4 – Sack at ATL 40

Drive: Punt

Takeaway – Pats D adjusted quickly, sniffed out pass to DiMarco on 2nd down and roughed up receivers at the line on the sack.  Replays show all were covered as Ryan was looking to his right.

N.E. Possession: 10:28 left

1st & 10 on N.E. 10 – Run to the right, 2yd gain

2nd & 8 – Pass complete, 13yd gain

1st & 10 on N.E. 25 – Pass complete, 15yd gain

1st & 10 on N.E. 40 – Run to the left, 2yd gain

2nd & 8 – Pass complete, 7yd gain

3rd & 1 – Pass complete, 11yd gain

1st & 10 on ATL 40 – Sack, ball placed at ATL 49

2nd & 19 – Pass incomplete

3rd & 19 – Sack, at 50 yard line

Drive: Punt

Takeaway:  Pats O started to get comfortable; the only pressure that I saw was on the 2 sacks, no hurries.

ATL Possession: 5:08 left

1st & 10 from ATL 12 – Run to the right, 9yd gain

2nd & 1 – Pass complete, 10yd gain

1st & 10 from ATL 31 – Run to the right, 2yd gain

2nd & 8 – Run to the left, 5yd gain

3rd & 3 – Pass attempt, 2yd loss at ATL 36

Drive: Punt

Takeaway:  The ATL running game is clicking; Pats D is still feeling the offense out.

N.E. Possession: 1:36 left

1st & 10 from N.E. 18 – Pass complete, 13yd gain

1st & 10 from N.E. 31 – Run up the middle, 7yd gain

2nd & 3 – Run up the middle, 2yd gain

*END OF QUARTER*

 

2nd quarter

N.E. ball on N.E. 40

3rd & 1 – Pass complete, 27yd gain (Brady had all the time in the world to throw)

1st & 10 on ATL 33 – Run to the left, FUMBLE ATL ball – Flag – holding on N.E. - declined

Drive: Turnover

Takeaway – N.E. O has been in shotgun the whole time so far except for 2 plays, a run in the 1st quarter and then on the fumble.  ATL secondary is getting beat and there is little pressure on Brady save for the 2 sacks.  N.E. essentially has no run game to speak of yet.

ATL Possession: 14:08 left

1st & 10 on ATL 29 – Pass complete, 19yd gain (Julio the bamf and his first catch)

1st & 10 on ATL 48 – Pass complete, 23yd gain (Julio again)

1st & 10 on N.E. 29 – Run to the right/middle, 15yd gain

1st & 10 on N.E 14 – Run to the left/middle, 9yd gain

First time out taken by N.E.

2nd & 1 – Run to the left, TOUCHDOWN ATL  (Freeman)

ATL 7 – N.E. 0

Drive: TOUCHDOWN

Takeaway – This is the ATL offense I’ve seen most of this season/postseason.  Little pressure due to ATL’s timing on all those 1st downs.  Forced a timeout by N.E. to slow the pace.  No breakdowns in coverage for the N.E. D and great blocking on the runs by ATL O.  Great offensive balance.

N.E. Possession: 12:10 left

1st & 10 from N.E. 16 – Pass incomplete, broken up

2nd & 10 – Run up the middle, 3yd gain

3rd & 7 – Pass complete, 4yd gain

Drive: Punt

Takeaway:  ATL D sprang to life.  Solid coverage and the pressure on 3rd forced Brady to go lateral instead of vertical.  All plays run out of the shotgun again.

 

ATL Possession: 10:37 left

1st & 10 on ATL 38 – Pass complete, 24yd gain

1st & 10 on N.E. 38 – Pass complete, 18yd gain (Julio tippy toe)

1st & 10 on N.E. 20 – Run to the right, 1yd gain

2nd & 9 – Pass incomplete

3rd & 9 – Pass complete, 19yd TOUCHDOWN ATL (Hooper) – Flag – pass interference on N.E. –declined

Flag on extra point, illegal formation

ATL 14 – N.E. 0

Drive: TOUCHDOWN

Takeaway – Continuing their offensive domination since the turnover, ATL had 7 first downs with only the first touchdown run not being a first down play.  It looks like the run game has the N.E. secondary second guessing everything they are doing as the play action was featured heavily by ATL.  The final two passes of the second TD drive were both to Hooper.  Both TD drives featured great catches by Julio that moved the chains.  Pereira says bad call on the extra point penalty, Aikman/Buck begin nut hugging of N.E.  Belichick complains to refs.  Buck sounds dejected going into commercial break.

N.E. Possession:   8:48 left

1st & 10 on N.E. 25 – Pass complete, 12yd gain

1st & 10 on N.E. 37 – Pass incomplete

2nd & 10 – Pass incomplete (Brady hit 5 times, sacked twice thus far)

3rd & 10 – Pass complete, 8yd gain – Flag – holding on ATL (Alford called for “holding” Edelman’s arm.  Weak call that would not normally be flagged IMO.)

1st & 10 on N.E. 42 – Run to the left, no gain (3rd play by N.E. that wasn’t out of the shotgun)

2nd & 10 – Pass complete, 7yd gain

3rd & 3 – Incomplete pass – Flag – holding on ATL (Brady had a lot of time on this one) Poole caught with the facemask on Amendola.  Legit in my eyes

1st & 10 on ATL 46 – Run to the right, 1yd gain

2nd & 9 – Incomplete pass

First time out taken by ATL

3rd & 9 – Incomplete pass – Flag- holding on ATL (Poole again, held the shoulder pad after getting beat off the line, legit call)

1st & 10 on ATL 40 – Run up the middle, no gain

2nd & 10 – Pass complete, 13yd gain

1st & 10 on ATL 27 – Run to the right, 3yd gain

2nd & 7 – Run up the middle, 1yd gain (4th play not in shotgun)

3rd & 6 – Interception, 82yd TOUCHDOWN (Alford)

ATL 21 – N.E. 0

Drive: Turnover, pick 6

Takeaway:  A lot of change after the first 2 ATL scores.  This drive was interesting in that N.E. was showing their flustered state.  The penalties were the only thing keeping them going here and in my eyes only the first one was a bunk call.  The pressure from the defense really started on this drive.  They got to Brady quite a bit and caused the majority of their incomplete passes.  The run defense was smothering and the passing gains N.E. made were of the dink and dunk variety, again due to the pressure being brought on Brady.  Like most QB’s he does not do well under pressure and after getting popped a few times.  This turnover was due to the ATL D making N.E. O one dimensional.  The defense has been on the field A LOT this first half, also meaning the offense has not been on the field much and considering their first TD drive took all of 2 minutes and their second one took about 2 minutes.  The defense should have been off the field with about 7 minutes to go in the half, instead they are on till 2:21 left in the half, though they got the pick 6 out of it.  Can’t complain though.

N.E. Possession: 2:21 left

1st& 10 on N.E. 25 – Run to the right, 3yd gain

2 Minute Warning

2nd & 7 – Pass complete, 15yd gain (Brady was popped but N.E. pooped a horseshoe as the pass fell into Bennet’s lap)

Campbell injured, Second time out taken by ATL

1st & 10 on N.E. 43 – Pass incomplete (Brady feeling pressure that wasn’t quite there)

2nd & 10 – Pass complete, 28yd gain

1st & 10 on ATL 29 – Pass complete, 8yd gain

2nd & 2 – Incomplete pass

3rd & 2 – Pass complete, 6yd gain

Second time out taken by N.E.

1st & 10 on ATL 15 – Incomplete pass (broken up by Alford)

2nd & 10 – Pass complete – Flag – holding on N.E.    12 seconds left

2nd & 15 – Pass complete, 4yd loss

Final time out taken by N.E.    5 seconds left

3rd & 19 – 41 yard FG attempt is good

ATL 21 – N.E. 3

Drive: Field Goal

*END OF HALF*

Takeaway:  N.E. was able to march down the field in a timely manner and get a FG out of it.  The defense was still moving around well but I noticed they started to look a little gassed at this point.  Pressure was still being applied to Brady and N.E. got lucky that there wasn’t another turnover on the 2nd down completion to Bennet.  The pressure also had Brady attempting some questionable passes, as a couple were just poorly thrown to either the wrong spot or behind his guys. 

 

Takeaway from the half:  Not as much domination as I remembered from watching the game live.  The defense got to Brady almost exclusively in the 2nd quarter after the fumble.  True to form, the more time he had the more successful he was.  The quick scores by the Falcons coupled with the pick 6 made this game seem more lopsided at this point than it actually was though I saw no foreshadowing of what was to come except maybe how long the defense was on the field and how little the offense was on the field.

 

3rd quarter

ATL Possession: 14:54 left (Aikman makes mention that it’s been 1 hour and 8 minutes since the Falcons O had been on the field, including the extended half time crap)

1st & 10 on ATL 19 – Run to the left, loss of 3yds

2nd & 13 – Pass complete, 7yd gain

3rd & 6 – Pass incomplete

Drive: Punt

Takeaway:  Way too quick of a 3 & out.  I attribute this to the extended rest the N.E. D had been afforded as well as the extended time of the Falcons O not being on the field.  N.E. D was rather aggressive on the WR’s off the line.  Ryan got pressured on that 3rd down.  This was also the first drive of the game that the Falcons didn’t get a 1st down.

N.E. Possession: 13:07 left

1st & 10 on N.E. 47 – Incomplete pass (broken up)

2nd & 10 – Pass complete, 2yd loss - Flag – pass interference on N.E. - declined

?????? First time out taken by ATL……………..

3rd & 12 – Incomplete pass

Drive: Punt

Takeaway:  Solid D though still a loss as they had to use a TO for some unknown reason.  Aikman cited “confusion” on the ATL D.  TO called by Quinn.

ATL Possession: 12:45 left

1st & 10 on ATL 15 – Pass complete, 17yd gain

1st & 10 on ATL 32 – Run to the right, 5yd gain

2nd & 5 – Pass complete, 40yd gain (Gabriel tied Butler’s shoes together, wooo!)

1st & 10 on N.E. 28 – Run to the left, no gain

2nd & 10 – Pass complete, 13yd gain

1st & 10 on N.E. 15 – Run to the right, 8yd gain

2nd & 2 – Run up the middle, 2yd loss

3rd & 4 – Pass incomplete – Flag – pass interference on N.E.

1st and goal on N.E. 6 – Pass complete, 6yd TOUCHDOWN (Coleman)

ATL 28 – N.E. 3

Drive: TOUCHDOWN

Takeaway:  Right back to it, Falcons only faced one 3rd down scenario while eating up yards on successful plays.  Though the run was stopped you can see its effect in the passing game.  The burst from N.E. after halftime seemed to be diffused.

N.E. Possession: 8:31 left

1st & 10 on N.E. 25 – Pass complete, 3yd gain

2nd & 7 – Pass complete, 12yd gain

1st & 10 on N.E. 39 – Run to the right, 8yd gain

2nd & 2 – Run up the middle, 1yd loss

3rd & 3 – Pass incomplete (trick play)

4th & 3 – Pass complete, 17yd gain

1st & 10 on ATL 37 – Pass complete, 2yd gain

2nd & 8 – Incomplete pass

3rd & 8 – Run up the middle, 15yd gain (Brady ran this)

1st & 10 on ATL 20 – Run up the middle, 5yd gain

2nd & 5 – Run to the right, 10yd gain

1st & goal on ATL 7 – Run up the middle, 2yd gain

2nd & goal – Pass complete, 5yd TOUCHDOWN (White)        

ATL 28 – N.E. 9 (missed extra point)

Drive: TOUCHDOWN

Takeaway:  There really is nothing that the Falcons had done wrong up to this point.  Every sign was there that this was a win.  The D was still flying here.  N.E. was already in desperation mode but I still feel like the D gave this drive up because they have been at full throttle this whole game so far.  I also believe the score played a role here and the D gave up just a little bit, that coupled with N.E.’s desperation resulted in a TD.  Another long sustained drive by N.E., which was great for the Falcons at the time.

ATL Possession: 2:05 left

Onside kick attempted – Flag – illegal touch on kicking team

1st & 10 on N.E. 41 – Pass complete, 9yd gain

2nd & 1 – Run to the left, no gain – Flag – holding on ATL (Jake Mathews, legit)

…….Second time out taken by ATL due to Ryan’s headset not working……… (Ryan and sideline notable angry)

2nd & 11 – Incomplete Pass (Nice play by Chung)

3rd & 11 – Sack, 9yd loss

Flag on the punt for delay of game.  5 yards and replay down.

*END OF QUARTER*

 

4th quarter

Drive: Punt

Takeaway:  Not what you wanted to see with that type of field positioning.  This was a big loss by not getting any points off of this; they also couldn’t kill the quarter as there was 45 seconds left after the sack.  All in all N.E. D made the stop they had to here.  On the blitz they brought 5 so I’d have to believe that someone was open somewhere but Matt got happy feet.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen him just throw the ball away in that type of situation.  More talk of unprecedented comebacks from Buck.      

N.E. Possession: 14:51 left

1st & 10 on N.E. 13 – Pass complete, 15yd gain (no pressure on Brady)

1st & 10 on N.E. 28 – Pass complete, 7yd gain

2nd & 3 – Run up the middle/right, 6yd gain

1st & 10 on N.E. 41 – Incomplete pass (Brady had all day and just missed Edelman here)

Aikman notes 33 offensive snaps for Atlanta to this point in the game.

2nd & 10 – Pass complete, 18yd gain

1st & 10 on ATL 41 – Pass complete, 9yd gain

2nd & 1 – Incomplete Pass (Poole got away with grabbing Amendola)

3rd & 1 – Pass complete, 25yd gain

1st & goal on ATL 7 – Sack, 6yd loss

2nd & goal on ATL 13 – Pass complete, 3yd gain

3rd & goal – Sack, 5yd loss (Jarrett’s 2nd of the drive and 3rd of the game!)

Drive: 33 yard Field Goal

ATL 28 – N.E. 12

Takeaway:  Another long sustained drive by N.E. but the Defense didn’t relent.  The defense didn’t lose this game.  To this point Brady has: 47 Dropbacks / 4sacks / 9knockdowns / 14hits.  Plays: N.E. 69 – ATL 33 / Yards: N.E. 355 – ATL 275 – TOP: N.E. 31.29 – ATL 18:51

ATL Possession: 9:40 left

1st & 10 on ATL 27 – Run to the right, 8yd gain

2nd & 2 – Run up the middle, 1yd gain (Teco injured on the run and leaves game)

3rd & 1 – Fumble, the infamous no block block by Freeman

Drive: Turnover

Takeaway: Contrary to my belief, Atlanta didn’t throttle down, nor did they become one dimensional here.  With 8:36 left here on that 3rd and 1 I don’t think the pass play was a bad idea, especially considering that if Freeman actually blocked dude, Ryan had a guy wide open up the seam.  Sorry, but this one is on Freeman.  Also the FIRST Falcon turnover ALL POSTSEASON!  The other side to this is run it then punt it if you don’t get the 1st down, push them back deep, they haven’t shown the ability to strike quickly AT ALL this game.  Letting them start at the ATL 25 is just wrong.  So in hindsight the play call was dumb, the execution was worse but the road not taken seems to be the right way.

N.E. Possession: 8:24 left

1st & 10 on ATL 25 – Sack, 5yd loss (Freeney, first sack since October)

2nd & 15 no ATL 30 – Pass complete, 4yd gain

3rd & 11 – Pass complete, 12yd gain

1st & 10 on ATL 14 – Pass complete, 7yd gain

2nd & 3 – Pass complete, 7yd TOUCHDOWN

Drive: TOUCHDOWN

ATL 28 – N.E. 20 (2pt conversion successful)

Takeaway:  N.E. did what they had to do and with the great field position to start the drive they easily scored the quickest on this drive.  I don’t see anything wrong with what the defense has been doing.  They’ve pressured Brady, sacked him, hit him, and rattled him for a bit.  I’m not sure what else they could have done up to this point other than another turnover.

ATL Possession: 5:53 left

1st & 10 on ATL 10 – Pass complete, 39yd gain (Freeman was wide open!)

1st & 10 on ATL 49 – Run to the right, 1yd gain (Schraeder went down on this play)

2nd & 9 – Pass complete, 28yd gain (Julio, sick catch, only the 3rd time I noticed him used this game…..  Shanahanigans!)

1st & 10 on N.E. 22 – Run to the left, 1yd loss (why a sweep here? Shanahanigans!)

2nd & 11 on N.E. 23 – Sack, 12yd loss (Ryan didn’t see the pressure up the middle but felt it coming from his blindside so he essentially stepped right into the sack up the middle.  N.E. had 7 stacked on the line looking for the run with 3 DB’s and a linebacker covering the middle… they only sent 4.  Again, I’ve seen Ryan throw the ball away for much less than this.  I have to believe that Mack’s injury played a role in this as well as it was his guy the blew through the middle)

First time out taken by N.E.

3rd & 23 on N.E. 35 – Pass complete, 8yd gain – Flag – holding on ATL (Jake Mathews)

3rd & 33 on N.E. 45 – Incomplete Pass

Drive: Punt

Takeaway: This was it, the drive that killed us.  The first down run went towards the sideline though didn’t go out of bounds, they hadn’t run many sweeps if any this game so I can see that logic but I still say up the gut and keep that clock running.  The second down sack was just grit from Flowers and not having a 100% Alex Mack but even then they are still in FG range.  The real culprit here… Jake Mathews on that hold.  The Falcons have been great all season with penalties yet they shot themselves in the foot here.  If Matt completed his pass on 3rd down they were back in FG range though the players should have been switched.  On that play Julio motioned to Gabriel’s side and hitched underneath, being used as a decoy as he’d been all game.  SHANAHANIGANS!  If Julio were the one split out wide and hooked to the sideline the pass would have been caught as it was just out of Gabriel’s reach.  With 3:39 left in the game and N.E. showing no ability to score quickly, this next series will be telling because I was outside smoking by this time, seeing the writing on the wall and all that, so technically this will be my first time watching the game tying drive in full coming up here. 

N.E. Possession: 3:30 left

1st & 10 on N.E. 9 – Incomplete pass (More pressure by the D as Brady got hit while throwing by, you guessed it Grady Jarrett)

2nd & 10 – Incomplete pass (First real shot down the field taken by N.E.)

3rd & 10 – Pass complete, 16yd gain (Hogan ran a nice route and Brady had some time.  Biggest play for N.E. to this point)

1st & 10 on N.E. 25 – Incomplete pass (broken up by Alford)

2nd & 10 - Pass complete, 11yd gain (gotta shout out to Mitchell for N.E. he played a **** of a game)

1st & 10 on N.E. 36 – Pass complete, 23yd gain (Edelman pooped a horseshoe to make that catch though as many said, it was on 1st down so ultimately isn’t really game deciding, just something the NFL media can hang alongside this comeback.  Watching it here and now though I have to wonder how the ref saw this so clearly as to not call it incomplete and force a challenge by N.E., instead forcing ATL to challenge thus causing them to use the final timeout as well as their final challenge… curious)

1st & 10 on ATL 41 – Pass complete, 20yd gain (Not sure what the secondary was doing here but it was Amendola that caught this, Poole’s man)

2 Minute Warning

1st & 10 on ATL 21 – Pass complete, 14yd gain (The D got gashed on this drive…)

1st & goal on ATL 8 – Pass Complete, 7yd gain

2nd & goal – run up the middle, TOUCHDOWN (White)

Drive: TOUCHDOWN

ATL 28 – N.E. 28 (2pt conversion successful) I should note that this 2pt conversion featured only the fifth time Brady took a snap from under center and the first since the latter part of the second quarter.

Takeaway: This was tough to watch.  The defense got gashed on this drive more than any the entire game.  My claims of N.E. not showing quick strike ability were nullified with Amendola and Edelman’s catches of 20 and 23 yards respectively.  They started 91 yards away with 3:30 left to play and the d couldn’t stop them.  That’s not to say this was their fault.  This game seemed to feature the N.E. offense vs. the ATL defense and not much of the other side of the ball.  I still don’t know if that’s a credit to N.E. or a disservice to ATL.  I want to stop short of saying the Falcons offense played TOO well as there is no such thing.  The rhythm of this game was unlike any I’ve experienced before.  It’s a microcosm of the Atlanta offense all year though, when they clicked, their efficiency was unmatched and though I don’t want to point to that as the reason the D was on the field so much, it was absolutely part of the equation.  There was very little pressure on Brady this entire drive save for the first play of the drive.

ATL Possession: 52 seconds left

1st & 10 on ATL 12 – Pass complete, 12yd gain

1st & 10 on ATL 22 – Pass complete, 4yd gain

2nd & 6 – Clocked at 18 seconds left

3rd & 6 – Incomplete pass, 11 seconds left (pressure on Ryan)

Drive: Punt

Takeaway:  With 0 time outs left and starting from their own 12 this was going to OT anyway you look at it.

*END OF QUARTER*

Overtime

N.E. Possession: 15:00 left

1st & 10 on N.E. 25 – Pass complete, 6yd gain

2nd & 4 – Pass complete, 14yd gain

1st & 10 on N.E. 45 – Pass complete, 17yd gain (no pressure, that front is gassed, should be calling blitzes all day here, I’ll get to that after this)

1st & 10 on ATL 37 – Pass complete, 3yd loss

2nd & 13 on ATL 40 – Pass complete, 15yd gain (again, clean pocket, no pressure)

1st & 10 on ATL 25 – Pass complete, 10yd gain

1st & 10 on ATL 15 – Incomplete pass – Flag – pass interference on ATL, legit)

1st & goal on ATL 2 – Incomplete pass (almost picked by Beasley, first mention of the game for him…)

2nd & goal – game over though dude was down before the ball broke the plane.

 

Final Takeaway:  All in all I didn’t see anything here that hasn’t already been said by others.  What I did see though was that this was a straight up game and that the defense is in no way at fault for the comeback.  I only took issue with 1 call on the first 3rd down holding call on Alford but that drive culminated in a pick 6 for us.  There was nothing else the defense could do to get their offense the ball back, and the nature of the Falcons offense forced the D to stay on the field way too much. 

The lack of pressure at the end of the game and in overtime was what ultimately did us in but I can’t fault the defense because they played out of their minds this game.  If this defense is half as good next year as they were in this game then there’s no doubt in my mind that the Falcons get back to the SB next season.  Shanahanigans aside, I think he actually called a pretty tight game other than a couple of questionable calls there in the 4th quarter.  I don’t know how N.E. offense kept chugging along but they outlasted the defense.  I don’t know why Ryan took the sacks that he took when I’ve seen him get rid of the ball with much less pressure than he faced in those situations.   

I do take issue with the fact that Julio was used as a decoy most of this game and though that afforded others to get open, he was not used as much as he should have been.  One more score would have sealed it, field goal or otherwise and even though he took part in setting us up at the end there, the circumstances dictated otherwise.  It was a collapse but I think I can safely say it was a team collapse, and though that doesn’t give me any more peace of mind then I had before I subjected myself to this travesty of game again, I can at least lay to rest my gnawing thoughts that the game was rigged, or some other outside influence had an effect on this game. 

One last note, regarding the times I called N.E. out when they were not in shotgun, I did that because 95% of the time they are in shotgun and I believe in those situations, with an immobile/semi fragile QB, you let some of your guys pin their ears back and go get some.  Brady doesn't need that much time as it is usually, and him not dropping back essentially tells the defense he's passing.  The majority of this game revealed to me that if a team can get consistent pressure on him, hit him a couple times, he will get rattled and that seems to be the only way to beat him.  The second he starts getting those clean pockets, well you all saw it there at the end...

917.jpg

 

I’m not a college fan and I don’t follow the draft or anything and I’ve spent far too much time breaking this down, I’m going to give my dogs a hug, say good night to the family and put football away till next season.  Thank you, Falcons, for a wonderful year and the promise of more greatness in the future.  The offense will remain high flying and the defense WILL be a terror next season! 

 

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5 minutes ago, chitowndirtybird said:

Yep you are correct.  I'm surprised Brady didn't hurry the snap to take advantage as Poole was the only one up there before Neal slide over.

Yeah that surprised me as well.  There were several times when Brady waited until the last second to take the snap when they were making their comeback.

Meanwhile Ryan is snapping the ball with 10 seconds left on the play clock... the complete lack of situational awareness by the offense was so disappointing.

oh well.....

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Just now, Sun Tzu 7 said:

Yeah that surprised me as well.  There were several times when Brady waited until the last second to take the snap when they were making their comeback.

Meanwhile Ryan is snapping the ball with 10 seconds left on the play clock... the complete lack of situational awareness was so disappointing.

oh well.....

I noticed more than a few uncharacteristic things from Ryan, mainly that he held the ball more than I've ever seen him.  I can only think that it was the big stage that was getting to him.  

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1 hour ago, chitowndirtybird said:

I noticed more than a few uncharacteristic things from Ryan, mainly that he held the ball more than I've ever seen him.  I can only think that it was the big stage that was getting to him.  

The other part is the majority of the sacks were on 3rd down.  3rd down isn't a throwaway down...you'd rather try to make the first down, even if it means risking a sack, than concede the down and punt.

I did find it odd that we seemed to keep running slow developing routes despite the pressure.  I expected a lot of RB routes and passes against their LBs, but we didn't seem to try it.

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The big takeaway that I don't think anyone is talking about is that the Patriots had a strategy to break but not bend.  I can't imagine it is a coincidence that the Falcons had two long (yardage) touchdown drives in the first half but did not have a drive that lasted more than five plays.

Belichick understood that it was more important to sell out and stop drives and keep his defense fresh than prevent big plays.  There is no other explanation for the number of 20+ yard plays yet only three touchdown drives.

I don't think going down 28-3 was part of his plan but it certainly worked out well.  The pick six actually fit right into the game plan. (23 straight plays for our defense.)  Our defense was completely gassed by the fourth quarter and his was fresh when it mattered most.

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9 minutes ago, holymoses said:

The big takeaway that I don't think anyone is talking about is that the Patriots had a strategy to break but not bend.  I can't imagine it is a coincidence that the Falcons had two long (yardage) touchdown drives in the first half but did not have a drive that lasted more than five plays.

Belichick understood that it was more important to sell out and stop drives and keep his defense fresh than prevent big plays.  There is no other explanation for the number of 20+ yard plays yet only three touchdown drives.

I don't think going down 28-3 was part of his plan but it certainly worked out well.  The pick six actually fit right into the game plan. (23 straight plays for our defense.)  Our defense was completely gassed by the fourth quarter and his was fresh when it mattered most.

But even then....

Run and bleed the clock and kick a FG.... and his strategy would have most likely failed.

Situational awareness.... they need a t-shirt for that for the coaching staff next season.

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Nice analysis - can't be a lot of fun for Falcons fans to rewatch the game.  As a Patriots fan I've seen the game so many times it's gotten really boring, but the thing that strikes me rewatching it is how many drops the Patriots had - Patriots receivers are not Julio Jones-class receivers but they are generally sure-handed.  Why they seemed to be having a case of the dropsies is anybody's guess - I remember my wife (who doesn't usually watch football) blaming it on the red gloves (that Edelman was wearing).   

The other thing that I felt at the time and is reinforced by rewatching is that the Falcons defense was much better than expected - we all thought they could run the ball against them, and that Brady was having trouble finding open receivers.  I gather he was surprised by the coverage - the Patriots do well against things they have seen on film - it's when the opponent does something unexpected that they get discombobulated.  

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2 hours ago, holymoses said:

The big takeaway that I don't think anyone is talking about is that the Patriots had a strategy to break but not bend.  I can't imagine it is a coincidence that the Falcons had two long (yardage) touchdown drives in the first half but did not have a drive that lasted more than five plays.

Belichick understood that it was more important to sell out and stop drives and keep his defense fresh than prevent big plays.  There is no other explanation for the number of 20+ yard plays yet only three touchdown drives.

I don't think going down 28-3 was part of his plan but it certainly worked out well.  The pick six actually fit right into the game plan. (23 straight plays for our defense.)  Our defense was completely gassed by the fourth quarter and his was fresh when it mattered most.

This may well be the best explanation for it, though I've seen the Falcons offense do this more than a few times this past season where they get chunks of yards and quick scores because of how efficient they were.  It's just so unnatural to think that way, that success could be detrimental.  

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27 minutes ago, thomas144 said:

Nice analysis - can't be a lot of fun for Falcons fans to rewatch the game.  As a Patriots fan I've seen the game so many times it's gotten really boring, but the thing that strikes me rewatching it is how many drops the Patriots had - Patriots receivers are not Julio Jones-class receivers but they are generally sure-handed.  Why they seemed to be having a case of the dropsies is anybody's guess - I remember my wife (who doesn't usually watch football) blaming it on the red gloves (that Edelman was wearing).   

The other thing that I felt at the time and is reinforced by rewatching is that the Falcons defense was much better than expected - we all thought they could run the ball against them, and that Brady was having trouble finding open receivers.  I gather he was surprised by the coverage - the Patriots do well against things they have seen on film - it's when the opponent does something unexpected that they get discombobulated.  

Thanks Thomas, the hardest part, other than knowing the outcome, was having to listen to Joe Buck again.  The Defense was ballin all game and though they were defeated in the end, they absolutely did their part in keeping N.E. in front of them.  It wasn't till that fourth quarter that the N.E. D decided to step up.  Perhaps they were trying to save a little fuel in the tank for that and if so, it worked.  After watching the game live I was believing that the Falcons were able to score at will on them and that they just pulled up in the third quarter due to their lead and tried to bleed the clock.  That's why I needed to go back at some point and re-watch what the heck actually happened.  There were quite a few drops that N.E. had where they would normally make those catches.  A few actually hit them right in the hands but they didn't pull them in.  This game could be one of the best if it's used as a learning tool in my opinion.  

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Yeah, one thing this breakdown shows is that these teams were closely matched. Because we got our points early and they got theirs late, it shows up as a blown lead. But in reality, we were never going to hold them to 9 or 12 points. And they held us to significantly fewer points than we normally score (only 21 offensive points).

So they were a very good defense. And of course, a good offense, as we knew ... but it took them a while to get going.

Getting out to an early lead has tons of advantages, but also a few drawbacks. For one, the other team will go for it on 4th downs, be more aggressive, etc. Also, often the time of possession gets out of whack as it did here.

Biggest lesson -- a high powered fast offense like ours needs to master the "ball control mode." Otherwise, a tired out defense is our Achilles heel.

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28 minutes ago, DriveHomeSafelyAtlantaWins said:

Yeah, one thing this breakdown shows is that these teams were closely matched. Because we got our points early and they got theirs late, it shows up as a blown lead. But in reality, we were never going to hold them to 9 or 12 points. And they held us to significantly fewer points than we normally score (only 21 offensive points).

So they were a very good defense. And of course, a good offense, as we knew ... but it took them a while to get going.

Getting out to an early lead has tons of advantages, but also a few drawbacks. For one, the other team will go for it on 4th downs, be more aggressive, etc. Also, often the time of possession gets out of whack as it did here.

Biggest lesson -- a high powered fast offense like ours needs to master the "ball control mode." Otherwise, a tired out defense is our Achilles heel.

True.  But ball control doesn't necessarily mean running.  It can also mean high percentage short passes.  Those are what we should have seen on various plays, like the 3rd and 1.

Drive building passes that enable YAC.  Those are very useful in games you're winning.  They're not just run 3 times and punt, but they have nearly the same advantages of runs.

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2 hours ago, thomas144 said:

Nice analysis - can't be a lot of fun for Falcons fans to rewatch the game.  As a Patriots fan I've seen the game so many times it's gotten really boring, but the thing that strikes me rewatching it is how many drops the Patriots had - Patriots receivers are not Julio Jones-class receivers but they are generally sure-handed.  Why they seemed to be having a case of the dropsies is anybody's guess - I remember my wife (who doesn't usually watch football) blaming it on the red gloves (that Edelman was wearing).   

The other thing that I felt at the time and is reinforced by rewatching is that the Falcons defense was much better than expected - we all thought they could run the ball against them, and that Brady was having trouble finding open receivers.  I gather he was surprised by the coverage - the Patriots do well against things they have seen on film - it's when the opponent does something unexpected that they get discombobulated.  

Yeah.  I was watching it live, and after the first drive in the 2nd half, looked up and said "we didn't stop them on that drive, they stopped themselves with drops."

It was clear you guys were going to get some scores in the 2nd half.  Knew we needed one more score to be completely safe, but figured if we just played smart football from 4th quarter on, you'd have a really hard time getting back in the game.  Going deep on 3rd and 1 with a hobbled line, and failing to take the 3 to make it a 2 possession game with a few minutes left were the opposite of playing it smart, of course.

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14 minutes ago, crimsonhawk said:

Kudos to you for going through that again, but I watched it the one and only time as it transpired....I will never again watch THAT particular game. It's just too depressing and heart breaking.

It was tough, but I had readjusted my sleep habits after not being able to sleep the week after the game, I realigned my emotions and settled back to the median.  I had to do this to move past it completely but I understand your sentiment entirely!

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Chi, great breakdown. Hind sight always easier than foresight. Per PFF NE's Pass Defense was ranked 24th. Shannahan probably felt he couldn't be stopped. This has been beaten and argued to death--and probably will be like the JFK assassination. I take comfort in the arguably favorable scenario of Quinn assessing his O line's health and/or the need for 1st downs/clock eating/FGs/TOP/Defensive snaps versus nonstop passing and doing the game winning thing versus the quick TD strike thing. 

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Here is a repost of stats I posted elsewhere:

 

THIRD QUARTER STATS.

Time of ball possession:

NWE 6:47 - ATL 8:22

NWE Drives (length and results):

00:22 punt

6:25 TD

ATL Drives (length and results):

1:58 punt

4:14 TD

2:15 punt

 

 

FOURTH QUARTER STATS. 

Time of ball possession:

NWE 10:11 - ATL 4:40

NWE Drives (length and results):

5:07 FG

2:28 TD

2:33 TD

00:03 end of half

ATL Drives (length and results):

1:20 fumble

2:26 punt

00:54 punt

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