The New England Patriots opened up Super Bowl XLIX with short pass after short pass. The first play went to Rob Gronkowski for nothing more than a two yard gain, but the fact that he touched the ball so early was key. The best offensive player has to get touches no matter how it occurs. Amendola and Shane Vereen got key grabs on the opening drive also. The Patriots had to punt after an incompletion on third and six. They should have gotten a first down with a 15 yard flag for roughing the kicker, but it went for only five yards.
The Seattle Seahawks started their first drive with Lynch picking up just a couple of yards on each carry. They had to punt after just three plays. Their anemic offense continued to struggle into the Super Bowl. They have to get better wide outs next year.
The Patriots kept doing the quick pass thing on this possession. Edelman had a catch then Blount got about three yards before Gronk picked up a first down on his second catch. Brady was getting rid of the ball so fast, no rush was getting close to him. As long as the Seahawks were giving the receivers room, he was taking it. The drive was at about seven and a half minutes when Tom Brady made a big mistake. He shied away from a hit while throwing it to the end zone. He was picked by Jeremy Lane. The INT was costly for New England as they were at least assured of a FG. The play was maybe more costly for the Seahawks as they lost Lane to a wrist injury and he never returned.
Seattle could do no good once they had the ball. Wilson had a mad scramble that ended in a throw away. Lynch was mashing defenders, but not getting much yardage in the process. The short drive ended in another punt.
The Patriots started the next drive effectively with a first down catch from Vereen followed up with a deep ball to Gronkowski that he just missed on a great effort. Blount got his carry to keep the defense honest. Brady then found Brandon LaFell for six. He was guarded ineffectively by Tharold Simon, backup to the injured Jeremy lane. 7-0 Pats.
The Seahawks next drive stalled with a Wilson sack and ended in a punt. Wilson had yet to take off for positive yardage even though he had no one open to throw to.
The Seahawks got the ball back quickly when the Patriots failed to move it. Russell Wilson got his team going finally even though he just got his first completion on this drive. Wide out Chris Matthews came out of nowhere to have the game of his life. The former CFL rookie of the year and FootLocker employee had his first catch of the year for the Hawks to get a big first down. Lynch finished the drive with a short run for the score. 7-7 game.
Brady needed an efficient drive with the half winding down. Shane Vereen got in on the action with a first down catch and he made several key plays in this one. The Seahawks had a penalty that helped the Pats keep moving the ball and Gronkowski ended the drive with a big TD catch to make it 14-7 Patriots. Some person named K.J. Wright had the misfortune of guarding Gronk on this play.
With just 31 seconds left in the half Wilson never blinked. He found a rhythm and moved his team down the field in a hurry. They got a 19 yard blast from backup runner Turbin and Wilson made a big run as well. Lockette made a big catch to set up a FG attempt with six seconds left in the half. Pete Carroll gambled that his guy could get a TD or throw it away before time ran out so he rolled the dice. Wilson delivered with a bullet to Mathews for the score. 14-14 at the half. Carroll showed his inflated balls with this call. Rolling the dice is fun when it works. 80 yards in 29 seconds. Unbelievable.
The first half’s biggest play may have been the Brady interception in which Seahawks defender Jeremy Lane had to leave the game with an injury. The Patriots quarterback exploited the backup defensive back the rest of the game.
The Hawks got the ball to start the second half. They moved down the field once again and got three points to go up 17-14. Matthews got a another key grab over Kyle Arrington.
The Patriots got the ball back and made some plays including a big first down catch for Gronk. Brady screwed his defense again as he threw a bad pick to Bobby Wagner. The pressure was on Brady this drive as he was not getting rid of th ball very quick as before.
With the great field position, it didn’t take Wilson long to get his crew back in the end zone. Matthews continued his bottling of lighting with a nine yard gain. Lynch was doing his job as usual and ended up with 133 total yards for the game. Doug Baldwin caught his only ball of the game for the three yard score. 24-14 and Pete Carroll was all smiles.
The Pats punted quickly on their next chance when Amendola dropped a third down catch as Wagner was about to de-cleat him.
Seattle looked like they were on a throat stepping drive on the first couple plays. Wilson had just hit Kearse on a great pass and looked for another to #15 on the sideline. It was a hard grab but it did hit Kearse in the hands. He was unable to hang on at the Pats’ 20 and the drive ended in a punt.
New England got a great effort from every player including LeGarrette Blount. He didn’t rack up big yards, but he kept the defense honest with hard nosed runs. He was just short on a third down play and they once again punted to start the fourth quarter still down ten.
The Patriots defense held strong on Seattle’s next try on offense. Ninkovich got a big sack on the usually untouchable Wilson. The Hawks punted it back to Brady and company.
Brady got sacked on first down, but hit Edelman for a 21 yard gain on second down. Edelman got whacked by one Kam Chancellor, but the wide out is a tough little SOB. The Pats drive was helped by Earl Thomas III when he hit Vereen way out of bounds. Brady found Amendola over the middle to score after missing Edelman at the goal line on the prior play. 24-21 Seahawks but momentum had swung at the 7:55 mark.
The Patriots got their shot at glory after Seattle failed to move the ball and punted. Vereen was an All Pro on this drive, making every play needed to keep moving. The Patriots scored on the same pass play to Edelman that Brady had missed on their previous drive. Edelman put the same move on the backup defender at the goal line and this time Tom Brady was money. Edelman’s catch made it 28-24 Patriots.
Russell Wilson got the ball back with 2:02 left and 80 yards to get to another Super Bowl Title. He had lead his team back just 14 days ago versus Green bay. It was on him to do it again as Tom Brady sweated it out on the bench. First play is a heart ripping throw to Marshawn Lynch on the sideline. The next play was a dangerous throw to Kearse. Wilson had to burn a timeout and then went deep to big play Matthews who had the ball knocked away by Browner. Wilson went back to Kearse again and appeared to have the ball dropped. However, the ball took an unlikely bounce off his leg and wobbled into his hands. Giants fans giggled all over New York.
That set up goal to go, but the Hawks had to call another timeout. Lynch ran it to the one yard line on first down. What happened next will never be explainable to me. With everyone in the world expecting a Lynch run or Wilson dash around the edge, Pete Carroll calls a passing play. Could not believe it! Wilson throws a dart to Lockette on a play that is very hard to defend, but the Patriots’ Malcom Butler reads it and picks Wilson off to steal the game.
I would have bet every dollar I had that the play called would be a run. Anyone would have made the same bet. But Pete Carroll outsmarted himself. I hate to second guess play calling, because that is easy to do when the result is a disaster. If the catch is made for the TD and the lead, Carroll looks like a genius. But I have very little doubt that Lynch gets in on a couple tries from that close and a time out left. I’ll have more on this one play call later.
The Patriots get the win and Brady gets his elusive fourth Super Bowl Trophy. This game was one of the best I have seen and New England has been a part of some very close games. None could have been closer than this one or more bizarre. Pete Carroll’s gamble at the end of the first half paid off big time. The gamble to end the second half cost his team the Super Bowl.