AP National Writer
HOUSTON (AP) — You could say the Super Bowl owed ’em one. Julian Edelman was the man to collect.
The Patriots receiver made a catch for the highlight reels Sunday — a once-in-a-lifetime grab that punctuated New England’s record-setting Super Bowl comeback, and one every bit as amazing as what David Tyree of the Giants did nine years earlier to break all those Patriots’ hearts.
The catch was the highlight of New England’s 91-yard drive that tied the game on the way to a come-from-behind 34-28 overtime win over Atlanta.
Edelman somehow got his hands pinned up against, and then underneath, a Tom Brady pass that bounced off Atlanta cornerback Robert Alford’s hands, hit off his knee, his shin, then tried to hit the turf.
Only it didn’t.
Review upheld the 23-yard reception, the video clearly showing Edelman, with his red-gloved hands, first pinning the ball against Alford’s foot, then getting his hands underneath the pigskin as it bounced off the defender.
It gave New England the ball at the Atlanta 41 with 2:03 left in regulation, and the rest of this game almost felt academic.
The Patriots, who trailed by three touchdowns in the first half, scored the last five times they had the ball, including on James White’s game-winning 2-yard run to cap an easy 75-yard drive on the first possession of overtime.
It gave Brady and the Patriots title No. 5 — a number that would’ve been bigger had it not been for what the Giants did to them nine seasons ago.
Then, it was Eli Manning somehow breaking away from a sack and heaving the ball downfield to Tyree, the near-forgotten receiver who somehow pinned the ball against his helmet and came down for the catch. That was the highlight play of the winning drive that ended New England’s quest for an undefeated season and kept the Patriots stuck on three titles.
They got No. 4 two years ago, courtesy of Malcolm Butler’s game-saving interception at the goal line. This time, something nobody could draw up. Title No. 5 in Houston came courtesy of Edelman, who joined the Patriots two years after that disappointment against the Giants.
He finished with five catches for 87 yards, none more impactful than the 23 he gained on his catch that gave New England the momentum for good.
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