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Super Bowl notes: James White has huge game

Patriots running back James White evades Falcons defensive back Deion Jones on a big gain during the fourth quarter.

Patriots running back James White evades Falcons defensive back Deion Jones on a big gain during the fourth quarter.

(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

New England Patriots running back James White enjoyed a career night in the biggest game of his life.

White caught a Super Bowl-record 14 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 29 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner, in the New England Patriots’ 34-28 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium.

“It’s really surreal,” White said. “I was just living in the moment. I wasn’t paying attention to how many catches I had, how many yards I had. I just wanted to keep moving the chains no matter what it took.”

White, a fourth-round draft pick from Wisconsin in 2014, caught 60 passes for 551 yards and five touchdowns during the regular season. He rushed for 166 yards in 39 carries in a backfield that includes LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis.

But White was the star Sunday and helped the Patriots stage the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.

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With the Patriots trailing 28-3 early in the third quarter, White scored on a five-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady.

Then, with 57 seconds remaining in regulation, he rushed for a one-yard touchdown that pulled the Patriots to within 28-26. Brady’s pass to Danny Amendola sent the game into overtime.

The Patriots got the ball to start overtime and Brady passed to White for a six-yard gain to get things rolling.

White was stopped for a three-yard loss on another reception but picked up 10 yards on another. On second and goal from the two-yard line, White took a handoff and ran into history.

“He’s just everything you want in a teammate and a football player and [he’s] been dependable, consistent, durable,” Brady said. “The best attitude, brings it every day and we just kept going to him. So I think that speaks for itself.”

Super family

Former Rams defensive lineman Chris Long, who signed with the Patriots in March, added another Super Bowl title to the family.

Long’s father, Howie, won a Super Bowl with the Raiders.

“I didn’t sign to get paid,” Chris Long said. “I didn’t sign to resurrect my career. I just wanted to win. When I was coming off the last year, I just hoped I could sneak onto a team. I didn’t know where my body was going to be. Well, I turned out to feel pretty good and I feel like I played a role. So I’m very happy to be here.”

Jones spectacular

Falcons receiver Julio Jones put on a show, catching four passes for 87 yards.

Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, coaching Jones for the final time before Shanahan becomes head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, did not get him involved until the second quarter.

The dominating receiver showed his strength by grabbing a 19-yard reception over the middle in traffic and then got open on the next play for a 23-yard gain.

That opened up things for running back Devonta Freeman, who broke off runs of 15 and nine yards before scoring on a five-yard run.

Jones made his best catch with 4:40 left in the fourth quarter when he leaped high along the right sideline, extended his body and kept both feet in bounds for a 27-yard gain.

“I was staying aggressive, my mind-set aggressive,” Jones said. “Every play I step up, every play that’s called ... and whatever happens, happens.”

Political football

With politics serving as one of the subtexts to the run-up to Super Bowl LI, it was no surprise that the pregame festivities featured some political overtones.

As they sang “America the Beautiful,” the Schuyler Sisters from the original cast of the smash Broadway musical “Hamilton” sang, “And crown thy good with brotherhood — and sisterhood.”

Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, received a standing ovation before they tossed the coin.

Super Bill

Bill Belichick is the first NFL coach with five Super Bowl victories, breaking his tie with the late Chuck Noll of the Pittsburgh Steelers. This was Belichick’s record seventh Super Bowl as a head coach, one more than Miami’s Don Shula.

The Patriots coach is 26-10 in postseason games, one more victory than Shula and legendary Dallas coach Tom Landry.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein

sam.farmer@latimes.com

Follow Sam Farmer on Twitter @LATimesfarmer


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