Super Bowl LI had a little of everything, including a massive comeback by the Patriots, the first overtime session in the history of the game and a pair of incredible clutch catches in the fourth quarter. The efforts by New England’s Julian Edelman and Atlanta’s Julio Jones will be replayed for years to come, even if Falcons fans could be forgiven for trying to forget the game ever happened.
With under five minutes left and the Falcons in need of some points, or at least a lengthy drive, to stave off the late-charging Patriots, Matt Ryan found Julio Jones down the right sideline for a 27-yard gain. Well, Ryan didn’t find Jones so much as the latter seemed to will the ball into his hands before he tapped his feet in bounds to complete the remarkable grab.
Even Jerry Rice, who holds numerous Super Bowl records, including career receptions (33), career yards (589), yards gained in a single game (215) and total touchdowns (eight), was highly impressed.
However, a sack and a holding penalty pushed the Falcons out of field goal range. The Patriots got the ball back, and after they moved from near their own end zone to their 36-yard line, this happened:
In the immediate aftermath of that catch, a lot of observers had the same thought: Sorry, Julio, but that was better.
The Patriots were famously victimized by a how-the-heck-did-he-do-that Super Bowl grab in 2008, when David Tyree’s “Helmet Catch” helped his Giants win. Now, even with a host of highlights in which to revel from their team’s decade and a half of dominance, New England fans can look back at Edelman’s effort as one for the ages.
Falcons fans will be haunted by their squad’s heartbreaking 34-28 loss, but one hopes they can take some solace in Jones’s catch, which could only have been topped in the most improbable way.
More from Super Bowl LI:
Couch Slouch: Patriots’ comeback darkens a nation’s already dark hour