Come tomorrow morning, we will undoubtedly hear about the greatness of Tom Brady, and rightfully so. He just put on quite possibly the greatest 4th Quarter/OT performance in the history of sports. We will also hear about James White’s record setting 14 receptions in a Super Bowl to go along with 139 all purpose yards, 3 TDs, and the game-winning TD. We will hear about Julian Edelman’s incredible David Tyree-like catch which helped force overtime and provided arguably the most memorable moment of Super Bowl LI. We will also hear about Dont’a Hightower’s all important strip sack that helped turn the momentum of the game and give the Patriots life. These players aforementioned deserve all the glory and recognition in the world, however I’d like to focus on a few players who may not be mentioned in the media extensively tomorrow, but unequivocally played an all-important role in the epic 28-3 second half comeback victory.
A lot has been said about Danny Amendola after getting hurt earlier in the year. After Michael Floyd showed what he could do in the last few regular season games, some respected reporters lobbied to give him the Patriots fourth receiver role in order to have a bigger, deep-threat-type receiver. A lot has also been said about his cap hit which will increase exponentially for next season, causing many to assume Danny Amendola will not be a New England Patriot come the 2017 Regular Season. Say what you want about this guy, but man is he clutch. We all know about his touchdown in the Super Bowl two years ago. We also have seen it throughout Amendola’s tenure as a Patriot. Although he may not light up the box score, it always seems that the 2-3 catches he makes each game come in big moments, whether that be when the offense is halting or on a key third down. By this, it is clear Tom Brady trusts him in big-time moments and in big-time games. Amendola put together perhaps his greatest game of his Patriots career on Super Bowl Sunday like anyone would have expected knowing his track record. His 8 receptions on 11 targets for 78 yards helped fuel the Patriots comeback. None bigger than his touchdown to bring the game within one possession and his 2-point conversion to force the game into overtime. If that was DA last game in New England, he went out gloriously.
Malcolm Mitchell finished his impressive rookie campaign showing no jitters in the Super Bowl. His stats of 6 receptions for 70 yards, which are impressive, however by no means blow you away considering some of the other players numbers in the box score. That being said, when one considers that 5 of Mitchell’s receptions for 63 yards came all in the fourth quarter where Tom Brady engineered his vicious comeback tells an all-the-more important tale. Make no mistake, Tom Brady’s go to guy for much of the fourth quarter was a 4th-round Rookie wide receiver. Brady’s trust in this young man at the most important time of the season express all you need to know, and Mitchell answered the call doing his job beautifully. Mitchell is absolutely an unsung hero to this Super Bowl victory and I expect this kid only to get better next year.
He played well in pass coverage all night often paired up on Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu. Ryan may not get a lot of recognition in the media as he didn’t make any “game-changing” plays, however his overall solid performance shouldn’t be overlooked. It’ll be interesting to see if the Patriots are able to keep this free agent; I personally am hopeful they do, but he could see a lot of money on the open-market.
The Patriots Regular Season leader in sacks came to play on Super Bowl Sunday. It seemed just about every play, run or pass, Flowers was in Atlanta’s backfield. He dominated Atlanta’s Offensive Line all night long and was able to rack up 2.5 sacks in the game. None more important than a sack on Matt Ryan with under four minutes left when Atlanta was on NE 23 yard line. The 12 yard sack followed by the holding call on the ensuing play helped force Atlanta out of Field Goal Range giving the Patriots the chance to tie the game. If Flowers doesn’t make that sack, ATL could’ve kicked a Field Goal making it a two score game with under 3 minutes left, which would’ve all but cemented a Falcons victory. Trey Flowers is a big reason why the Patriots won this football game.
Photo: (NFL) (media.nj.com) (Boston Herald) (Fssta.com) (CBS Boston)