Falcons stunning Pats 14-0 after Ryan TD toss

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HOUSTON - FEBRUARY 5: Numerous New England Patriots try to take down Atlanta Falcons player Devonta Freeman during first quarter. The Atlanta Falcons play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston on Feb. 5, 2017. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

(AP) — Matt Ryan has thrown a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Austin Hooper and the Atlanta Falcons lead the New England Patriots 14-0 with 8:48 to go in the first half of Super Bowl 51.

Ryan, trying to become the first player to be the NFL’s MVP and win a Super Bowl in the same season since 1999, is 7-of-8 passing for 115 yards.

The latest drive, after a Patriots punt, started with Ryan hitting Taylor Gabriel for 24 yards and then throwing an 18-yard pass to Julio Jones, who made a nice tip-toe catch along the sideline.

The Atlanta Falcons took a 7-0 lead in Super Bowl 51 on Devonta Freeman’s 5-yard touchdown run with 12:15 left in the second quarter.

The five-play, 71-yard drive was set up when Deion Jones forced a fumble by Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount, and the ball was recovered by Richard Alford.

Matt Ryan, the NFL MVP, then threw passes of 19 and 23 yards to Julio Jones, who didn’t catch a pass in the first quarter.

While so many were expecting a shootout, a scoreless first quarter in the Super Bowl is nothing new for Tom Brady.

Brady, trying to become the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls, never led his team to a point in the first quarter of his previous six Super Bowls, including his four wins.

In the 2004 Super Bowl in the same building, when the Patriots beat Carolina 32-29, it was scoreless after the first quarter in Houston’s NRG Stadium.

Each team punted twice in the first quarter. The biggest highlight was Devonta Freeman’s 37-yard run for Atlanta. But the Falcons didn’t get another first down on that drive.

For the first time in 11 years, both teams punted on each of their first two offensive possessions in a Super Bowl.

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