After three quarters, this game looked for all the world like a rout by the Atlanta Falcons. They were up 28-9. Their quarterback Matt Ryan, who just won the regular season MVP on Saturday night, was playing like an unstoppable Super Bowl MVP, too.
Then, something unbelievable happened: The New England Patriots came back.
The heroics of quarterback Tom Brady, the suddenly stiffened spine of the Patriots defense and one catch by Julian Edelman that defied both gravity and belief — by some incalculable logic, they combined to bring New England to a tie that few people would have thought imaginable just 15 minutes before.