A Mismanaged 24 Minutes Led To The Atlanta Falcons’ Demise

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots came back from 25 points down to win Super Bowl 51 in overtime against the Atlanta Falcons.

Brady pulled off some unbelievable magic en route to his fifth ring and fourth Super Bowl MVP. But the real question is how the Falcons allowed the Patriots to get within 10 points of the lead.

An inexperienced team and some brutal play-calling down the stretch contributed to the one of the most heartbreaking losses of NFL history.

The Falcons had a 28-3 lead with just under 24 minutes left in the entire game. It was more than enough time to put at least a field goal on the board to really sink the Patriots. Plus, Atlanta was clicking on all cylinders and picked up right where they left off from the second quarter.

The first problem the Falcons had was the run game. Atlanta ran the ball five times since they got the ball back after the Patriots made the game 28-9 — three times with Tevin Coleman and twice with Devonta Freeman. Atlanta didn’t kill any time off the clock. The Falcons also looked to pass nine times in the final moments of the game. There was no reason for Atlanta to even think about throwing the ball.

New England held all of their timeouts until the end. A couple of run plays would have put more pressure on Brady toward the end of the game.

The Falcons’ drive while up eight points is another thing that catches my eye. Atlanta bungled the play-calling inside the Patriots’ 30-yard line. Atlanta had a first down after a 22-yard improbable completion from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones. That’s where the game should’ve ended.

However, Atlanta looked to pass three more times. They went from being on the New England 23 to the 45 in 18 seconds. Unreal.

The Falcons would’ve even fared better if they knelt two more times, instead of Ryan dropping back to get sacked and have a holding penalty.

Time of possession down the stretch was lacking too. Atlanta had the ball under seven minutes time in the final 24 minutes. A team up by 25 points should have went for the win, instead of trying to go for the jugular.

It’s better when you can look back and see everything wrong, but the Falcons had the Patriots right where they wanted them and completely blew. It’s an reprehensible loss for the Falcons coaching staff. The team did so well all year and it came down to the last 24 minutes.

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About Ryan Gaydos (1657 Articles)
News editor and sports blogger.

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