Three up, three down: Super Bowl LI edition - The Buffalo News
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Three up, three down: Super Bowl LI edition

There were many heroes to choose from Sunday for the New England Patriots in their improbable, incredible Super Bowl victory.

New England overcame a 25-point deficit in the second half by scoring 31 unanswered points to defeat the Atlanta Falcons, 34-28, at Houston's NRG Stadium. It was the first Super Bowl in history to go to overtime.

The expected shootout between two of the top offenses in the NFL eventually developed, as the Falcons could not find any answers on defense after going ahead, 28-3, in the third quarter.

Here's a look at whose stock is rising and whose is falling after Super Bowl LI:

Three Up

Tom Brady: Of course. Brady finished with a Super Bowl-record 466 passing yards, adding yet another chapter to his already legendary career. His 62 pass attempts broke Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly's 58 attempts to set a Super Bowl record.

James White: Thought of mostly as a third-down specialist, the Patriots' running back converted two goal-line carries for touchdowns – one in the fourth quarter and one to win the Super Bowl in overtime. Not too shabby. White finished with six carries for 29 yards, but his bigger contribution came through the air. He caught a mind-boggling 14 passes for 110 yards and another touchdown.

Danny Amendola: It could have been any of the Patriots' four receivers who played a starring role, but Amendola stepped up late. He scored a 6-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to get the Patriots within one possession, then barely crossed the goal line on a two-point conversion to force overtime. He added a 20-yard catch on the Patriots' winning drive as part of an eight-catch, 78-yard game.

Three Down

Jake Matthews: An absolutely unbelievable catch by Julio Jones put the Falcons in position for a field goal that would have all but sealed a victory. But Atlanta started going backward, and after quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked, faced third and 23 from the New England 35-yard line. A 9-yard completion to Mohamed Sanu would have put the Falcons comfortably into field-goal range, but Matthews was whistled for a holding penalty on the play, pushing Atlanta out of scoring territory. After the Falcons punted it away, New England drove to the tying score.

Vic Beasley: The NFL sacks leader in the regular season was invisible Sunday. Beasley failed to make a single tackle, and didn't come close to applying any pressure to Brady. He did finish with one pass defended, but the Falcons needed a lot more than that from him.

Stephen Gostkowski: It'll easily be forgotten, but the Patriots' kicker had a shaky night – missing an extra point and taking a penalty for illegally touching the ball on an onside-kick attempt.

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