Falcons 'ran out of gas' in painful Super Bowl loss, says coach

Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas.
PHOTO: AFP

The Atlanta Falcons came agonizingly close to winning their first Super Bowl title on Sunday, and head coach Dan Quinn admitted the 34-28 overtime loss to the New England Patriots was hard to take.

"No doubt that was a tough one for us," said Quinn. "That's a hard one in the locker room."

The Falcons looked headed for a romp, turning the Patriots over twice in the first half on the way to a 21-3 lead at intermission.

A third-quarter touchdown made it 28-3 for Atlanta, but the Patriots refused to give up and scored a remarkable 31 unanswered points for the greatest comeback ever in a Super Bowl or any postseason game.

The defeat came in the first sudden-death overtime Super Bowl decision.

Lady Gaga performs at the Super Bowl

  • Standing atop the roof of Houston's NRG Stadium with drones illuminating an American flag in the night sky behind her, Lady Gaga kicked off her Super Bowl halftime set on Sunday by singing "God Bless America" as a subtle message of inclusion and unity in a deeply divided United States.
  • As many speculated about whether the outspoken singer would use her spotlight to address women's rights, immigration or President Donald Trump, Gaga recited part of the American Pledge of Allegiance, "one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all," in her opening song.
  • She then swung down from the roof to a stage suspended on cables and embarked on a meticulously choreographed 13-minute set of her greatest hits during the National Football League championship game between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.
  • This year's Super Bowl followed a fierce presidential election campaign which Trump won in November but which left the country at least as fractured afterwards as before it began.
  • Trump was greeted with massive protests just after taking office on Jan. 20, and his policy moves have sparked further protests and controversy in the first weeks of his presidency.
  • Ahead of her high-profile performance, watched by more than 100 million US viewers, Gaga, 30, said in a post on the Instagram social media network that she planned to headline the slot entirely on her own, eschewing a tradition of halftime main acts bringing on special guests.
  • Dressed in a silver, sequined bodysuit and matching heeled boots, Gaga sang her dance hits "Poker Face" and "Born This Way"- an anthem for self-confidence and inclusion - as she performed aerial acrobatics while suspended in the air.
  • She then descended onto the stage to dance through"Telephone" and "Just Dance" before running through the crowd to a piano, where she sang new song, "Million Reasons," giving a shout-out to her parents while she performed.
  • After joining her diverse cadre of dancers for "Bad Romance," the singer, known for her flair for the dramatic, ended her set by dropping her microphone, catching a football and jumping off a set of stairs onto the field.
  • While Gaga avoided making explicit political statements during her set, it was Renee Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, and Jasmine Cephas Jones, the Schuyler sisters on hit Broadway musical "Hamilton," who caused a stir with a subtle statement of support for women.
  • As the trio sang "America the Beautiful" before the start of the game, they added the words "and sisterhood," in the first verse that contained the words "And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea."
  • The addition was immediately picked up on social media and became a top trend on Twitter.
  • Lady Gaga performs during the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl 51 Halftime Show at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas.

Quinn felt the Falcons were worn out by the end by the pressure the Patriots applied. "I think for sure we ran out of gas some," Quinn said. "They executed terrifically.

That was one of the things that we don't talk about with them a lot, is the way they can execute. "When they got hot, it was hard for us to deal with."

That said, Quinn was proud of the way his team battled together in their quest for their first NFL title in the 51st season for the Falcons. "I am proud of the fight that these guys have. The brotherhood that this group has built, it's as strong as I've seen," he said.

Quinn, in his second season as the Falcons head coach after winning a Super Bowl as defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, lamented the team's inability to get a stop when they needed one during the Patriot's late rally.

"We knew it was going to come down to the end for sure, and just at the end for them to have the scores back-to-back, that was the difference for sure."

 

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