Days Until Super Bowl LIII From January 20: 14
James White delivered a performance for the ages at Super Bowl LI as he made a record-breaking 14 catches to inspire the Patriots to a stunning comeback victory. They looked dead and buried when the Falcons opened a 28-3 lead in the third quarter, as no team had ever come back from such a deficit in Super Bowl history. But then the New England offense flipped a switch and White was the catalyst for the greatest comeback ever seen.
First he caught a 5-yard pass from Tom Brady to give the Pats a lifeline before the end of the third quarter, and then he went into overdrive. Brady threw to Julian Edelman for a 15-yard touchdown reception with 5:56 left on the clock, and White took a direct snap and ran for a 2-point conversion to make it 28-20.
The Pats got the ball back on their 9-yard line with 3:30 remaining and Brady drove them relentlessly forwards. Consecutive passes to White resulted in a 20-yard gain and the Patriots found themselves at the 1-yard line. With 58 seconds left, White scored on a 1-yard touchdown run, and Brady completed a 2-point conversion with a pass to Danny Amendola.
That took the Super Bowl into overtime for the first time in the game’s history. The Pats won the coin toss, elected to receive the ball and marched up the field as White made three vital catches. He then settled a pulsating contest by taking a pitch and running the ball right. Falcons defenders hit him on the 1-yard line, but he managed to stretch his arm out and score the winning touchdown.
His 14 receptions stand as a Super Bowl record and the 20 points he scored also set a record. However, that one lasted just one year as Nick Foles broke it in February 2018. Yet White’s performance remains one of the most spine-tingling in Super Bowl history.
It is all the more remarkable because he found his place on New England’s 53-man roster in jeopardy in the summer of 2016. Dion Lewis was set to return from injury and rookie running back D. J. Foster was also generating considerable buzz, so some expected White to be cut. He nailed down a place as a third-down specialist, but all the talk in the build-up surrounded Lewis and LeGarrette Blount, who were expected to take the fight to the Falcons’ run defense. However, in the end it was White who seized glory for his team by emerging as one of the most reliable offensive players in Super Bowl history.