Patriots once again fail to score in the first quarter of a Super Bowl, and Atlanta was scoreless too

Matt Ryan was sacked twice in the first quarter of Super Bowl LI. (AP)
Matt Ryan was sacked twice in the first quarter of Super Bowl LI. (AP)

The Atlanta Falcons had the highest-scoring offense, by far, in the NFL during the regular season. The New England Patriots were third in scoring offense. Most people figured on a high-scoring Super Bowl LI.

So, of course, the two teams combined for a scoreless first quarter.

There were a few decent plays by each offense, including a 37-yard run by Falcons running back Devonta Freeman on Atlanta’s first play, but the defenses made plays when they had to. There were two sacks by each defense, and both teams never even got into field-goal range.

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Maybe it shouldn’t have come as a total surprise. Amazingly enough, in all seven Patriots Super Bowls with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, New England has failed to score in the first quarter.

The Falcons in particular are a fast-starting team. They had scored on their opening possession in eight straight games. But the Patriots did well early on. NFL MVP Matt Ryan completed just two passes for 12 yards in the first quarter. The Falcons finished the first quarter with 56 yards, and the Patriots had just 72.

The last time the Patriots played in a Super Bowl at Houston, they also had a scoreless first quarter. That was Super Bowl XXXVIII. The last time the Super Bowl had a scoreless first quarter was two years ago, and it also included the Patriots. New England and the Seattle Seahawks played to a 0-0 tie in the first quarter of Super Bowl XLIX.

The Patriots and Falcons both had great offenses all season, but the defenses showed up early on in Super Bowl LI.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!