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All the way to a record fifth Super Bowl championship, with no more talk of underinflated footballs

The Falcons’ playcalling at that point was, well, unexpected — and that’s being kind to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. They missed a huge opportunity to seal the game.

Elite Womens Jeremy Evans Jersey Shanahan called a pass on second and third downs. The first resulted in a 12-yard sack, and the second was overturned by a holding penalty. On the next play — third-and-33! — Shanahan called another pass that fell incomplete. The Falcons lost 23 yards on two plays, were forced to punt and drained only 1:10 off the clock.

Had the Falcons simply run three times — even if they failed to gain a single yard — kicker Matt Bryant would have been in position for a quite reasonable 39-yard field goal attempt. In his career, Bryant is 31-for-32 on field goals of 40 yards or shorter in the fourth quarter or overtime, according to research from Micah Adams of ESPN Stats & Information.

As owner Robert Kraft said in the days leading up to Super Bowl LI, Deflategate penalties levied by the NFL against Brady and the team had a deeply rooted impact on the 2016 Patriots. Brady was hit with a four-game suspension for the January 2015 incident that months of court battles couldn’t overturn. Meanwhile, the Patriots were fined $1 million and docked a first-round pick in 2016 and a fourth-round pick in 2017.

Elite Womens Luke Joeckel Jersey “I think in a way,” Kraft had said last week, “that galvanized our whole team.”

All the way to a record fifth Super Bowl championship, with no more talk of underinflated footballs.

The 2016 season began with questions of how big of a hole the Patriots would have to dig out of playing without the suspended Brady. While oddsmakers still gave the Patriots 6-1 odds to earn a Super Bowl berth this season, that doesn’t guarantee wins.