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Second-quarter analysis: High-powered Atlanta offense catches fire

First it was Devonta Freeman. Then it was Matt Ryan.

The Atlanta Falcons' offensive playmakers took turns making big plays in the second quarter of Super Bowl LI on Sunday night at Houston's NRG Stadium.

Freeman opened the scoring for Atlanta with a 5-yard touchdown run, capping off a five-play drive in wish he carried three times for 29 yards and opened the scoring.

On Atlanta's next possession, Ryan connected with rookie tight end Austin Hooper for a 19-yard touchdown pass on a third-and-9 play. Ryan went right back to Hooper after the previous play was a pass intended for him that was broken up Patriots safety Patrick Chung.

Three times not a charm: The Atlanta defense took three separate holding penalties -- all on third-down plays -- to give New England first downs on the drive after going up 14-0. The penalized players were Robert Alford and Brian Poole twice. Luckily for them ...

Alford makes amends: The best way to make up for a penalty is with a big play, and that's what Alford -- a fourth-year pro out of Southeastern Louisiana -- did when he stepped in front of a Tom Brady pass intended for Danny Amendola and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown -- the first-ever pick-six of Brady in a playoff game.

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