The Atlanta Falcons offense has been nearly unstoppable all season long. The Dirty Birds led the NFL in points by a wide margin while also sitting second in total yardage (by just 20 yards). This explosive offense ultimately saw Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones all voted to the Pro Bowl.
However, could this trio of Pro Bowlers actually doom the Falcons in Super Bowl 51?
The New England Patriots have faced a QB-RB-WR trio of Pro Bowlers in the playoffs six times during the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. The Patriots won each of those six games.
This isn’t some random anomaly, as Belichick’s defensive prowess has been on full display shutting down these above-mentioned offenses. In those six games, the quarterbacks combined for seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions, the running backs averaged just 46.2 yards per game and none of the seven receivers (the 2001 St. Louis Rams sent both Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce) recorded a single touchdown.
Here is a look at how the Pro Bowl trios have performed against the Patriots.
|Team||QB Stats||RB Stats||WR Stats|
|2016 Steelers||314 Yards, 1 TD/1 INT||6 Carries, 20 Yards, 0 TD||7 Catches, 77 Yards, 0 TD|
|2012 Texans||343 Yards, 2 TD/1 INT||22 Carries, 90 Yards, 1 TD||8 Catches, 95 Yards, 0 TD|
|2004 Colts||238 Yards, 0 TD/1 INT||14 Carries, 39 Yards, 0 TD||5 Catches, 44 Yards, 0 TD|
|2004 Eagles||357 Yards, 3 TD/3 INT||15 Carries, 44 Yards, 0 TD||9 Catches, 122 Yards, 0 TD|
|2001 Steelers||255 Yards, 0 TD/3 INT||9 Carries, 8 Yards, 0 TD||6 Catches, 64 Yards, 0 TD|
|2001 Rams||365 Yards, 1 TD/2 INT||17 Carries, 76 Yards, 0 TD||10 Catches, 105 Yards, 0 TD (2 WR)|
As you can see, very few teams have found offensive success against the Patriots in the playoffs, including the best players in the NFL in their prime. The only trio to ultimately cause New England headaches belonged to the 2012 Houston Texans (figure that one out).
Maybe the Falcons are different. But if history is any indication, Belichick and company will shut down the high-flying Falcons threesome.