The Falcons squandered a 25-point lead to Tom Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowl LI. After holding the Pats to three first-half points, Dan Quinn’s defense surrendered 31 in the second half and overtime.
Rookie linebacker De’Vondre Campbell said the Falcons’ D lost a little bit of their edge in the second half, as Brady diced them up, Kevin Patra of NFL.com reports.
“As a defense, we kind of lost a little bit of our aggression during the game, that we had early in the game,” Campbell said Sunday night. “I just thought we lost it a little bit.”
“I can’t say any specific moment,” Campbell said of Brady’s second-half spark. “I just felt like as a defense we kind of got away from our fundamentals a little bit. We were missing some pretty easy tackles. Credit to them. They went in at halftime and came out … I wouldn’t say a different game plan, they just found a different way to attack us.”
Campbell dismissed the idea that youth played a factor in the Falcons defense — starting four rookies — crumbling down the stretch.
The rookie linebacker added he didn’t think the pass interference called on him to give the Patriots first-and-goal at the 2-yard-line in overtime was correct.
“I felt like I made a great play, but obviously the refs thought otherwise,” he said.
Despite an all-time gut-wrenching loss, Campbell said Quinn preached positive in the locker room after the game.
“Don’t get down on yourself,” he said of Quinn’s message. “We played a really good ballgame. It didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, but I mean that’s life. Sometimes things don’t go the way you want them to go.”