Falcons rookie cornerback Robert Alford put Atlanta up big with a stunning 82-yard interception return for touchdown on a Brady pass in the second quarter.
Alford jumped a Brady pass intended for Danny Amendola and returned it the distance with 2:21 left in the second quarter. Amendola and the Patriots tried to confuse a young Atlanta secondary with some traffic downfield after Amendola lined up in the slot. It looked like both Amendola and Julian Edelman may be open before the throw, but Atlanta quickly converged on both wideouts.
It was too late for Brady, however, who had already let the throw go to Amendola. Alford had already crashed the route, picking off the football and racing his way to Super Bowl immortality.
Brady himself had the best shot at Alford as he raced his way down the field, the 39-year-old quarterback diving at the rookie’s ankles as he blew past Brady and hit the end zone untouched.
Here’s another angle on that in case you need it for some reason.
The pick was an early back-breaker, as Brady and the Patriots were driving and deep in Falcons territory before the Patriots second turnover of the game put them down 21. No team has ever come back from two touchdowns to win a Super Bowl, but a three-touchdown lead with a Falcons defense handling Brady in his seventh career Super Bowl may mean this game is over before Lady Gaga ever takes the stage at halftime.