It was fitting that the Super Bowl came down to the very last seconds, it lived up to many of the narratives that were concocted leading up to the big game. A ferocious defense against one of the best quarterbacks in the league and possibly in NFL history. A team trying to repeat as champions for the first time in years, going against a team that defines success by titles and titles only.
Seattle had a 10 point lead with eight minutes left in the game, with a chance to blow the game open. Instead of sticking with the run, leaning on Marshawn Lynch which is usually their way of pounding opponents into the ground, Seattle attempted two passes on that series. One of which could have resulted in a huge play, but Jermaine Kearse was not able to haul in the catch, giving the ball back to the Patriots.
From there, Tom Brady conducted not one, but two masterful drives against the vaunted Seattle defense. Finding mismatches and really taking advantage of what the defense gave them. Utilizing the speed and shiftiness in wideout Julian Edelman and running back Shane Vereen, getting them the ball early in space and letting them do what they do best. Make people miss. New England also took calculated shots with Rob Gronkowski, Seattle had success when Kam Chancellor was guarding him and only then. Gronk came alive when the Patriots were down 10, every time Seattle had a linebacker on Gronk, the Patriots saw the mismatch and capitalized on the opportunities.
With Seattle getting away from the run during that stretch, it allowed the Patriots to get another stop and take the lead 28-24. The Seahawks have been in the situation before and didn’t shy away from attacking the Patriots defense, Lynch made a big play on a wheel route to get things started. Later in the drive, Seattle channeled their inner Eli Manning to David Tyree in a spectacular throw and catch between Russell Wilson and Jermaine Kearse.
After a powerful run from Lynch the Seahawks found themselves on the one yard line, with the game in the balance, it seemed inevitable that they would score. The Patriots had a lone timeout remaining, Seattle burned one of the two they had remaining to discuss what they would run on second and goal. While the world and most likely the Patriots expected the Seahawks to pound the ball, which was evident as New England sent out a goal line defense set to stop the run. Seattle, for whatever reason chose to do this instead of giving the ball to ‘Beastmode’ (Lynch) who had been productive all game long.
The powerful back ran for 102 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, why didn’t he see a 25th carry? After the game Seattle head coach Pete Carol took the blame for the ‘pass’ call in that moment. Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell only stated that the wideout could have done more. Neither saying it was a bad call, was it the worse play call in Super Bowl history or just an extremely bad play call?
Malcolm Butler made a play on the ball on the outstanding display of awareness by Kearse, once again he made a play on the ball in this sequence. This time, securing the interception and sealing the Patriots win.
- Tom Brady stamped his name as one of the all-time great QBs with his latest performance. His yards per attempt weren’t high, but he was deadly accurate when his team need him most. Surgical down the stretch en route to another title. Brady was 37 of 50 with 328 yards with 4 Touchdowns and 2 Interceptions. Despite the Seattle pressure, he took just one sack on the evening.
- Chris Matthews made a name for himself on Super Sunday as he made the first catches of his career on the games biggest stage. Working at a Foot Locker earlier this season, this didn’t seem possible. The 6’5 wideout made huge plays in this game, sparking a dormant Seattle offense. Giving Wilson a huge target downfield, causing mismatches. Four catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Malcolm Butler took advantage of his playing time as well, the undrafted rookie defensive back stepped in and did a great job in that secondary all night long. He obviously payed attention in the film room and meetings as he recognized what Seattle was doing on that play he made the interception almost instantly.
- Marshawn Lynch deserved a chance to finish the game, at least a crack from the one yard line. It took at least three New England defenders to take him down all night, the offense didn’t get started until Beastmode got going.
- The heart and tenacity of Julian Edelman was on display throughout the evening. The perfect example of such came late in the game where he caught a pass over the middle and got drilled by Chancellor. He kept his feet and was only ruled down by a technicality, he played a huge role in the Patriots getting the win. Nine catches for 109 yards and a touchdown, his ability to run after catch and make something happen should of put him in the running for the game’s MVP at the least.