In a match-up between two of the NFL’s top teams and rematch of Super Bowl XLIX, it was the Seattle Seahawks that earned the statement win with their 31-24 victory over the Patriots in Foxborough, MA on Sunday Night Football.
The Patriots didn’t waste any time as they effectively drove the field on the games’ opening possession and finished a 9-play drive with a LeGarrette Blount 1-yard TD run up the middle for score.
New England was aided on the drive by a defensive pass interference penalty called on the returning Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor.
Seattle earned their first points of the game with two sustained drives of 18 combined pays ending with two Stephen Hauschka field goals of 27 and 31 yards respectively to bring the Seahawks within one.
In the second quarter, Seattle established their tempo for the game and exploited the Patriots defense as the Seahawks worked a 10-play drive. Offensive coordinator Darrel Bevell called a fine combination of plays on the drive that ended with a Doug Baldwin 6-yard TD grab right at the goal line.
But Hauschka missed another extra point at Seattle then held a 12-7 lead.
On the following drive, the Patriots benefited from a review of a Rob Gronkowski turnover after the initial call by the refs was a fumble. After review, Gronk was ruled down giving the ball back to New England. But Seattle stole possession anyway when on the next play, Tom Brady danced around then trew deep down the field only to be picked off by defensive back DeShawn Shead who was waiting for the floater to land for the easy pick.
Seattle was unable to move the ball and punted after five plays.
New England would respond on their next opportunity with a score
Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor combined for a huge collision on Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski that clearly set the big-man back. Chancellor was defending Gronk up the field and effectively broke up the pass play while Thomas was closing fast on the unsuspecting tight end and delivered a crushing blow to the sternum.
Subsequently Gronkowski was escorted off the field for further observation.
When it looked like Seattle turned the drive back, New England would not be detoured and five plays later, ended their drive with Blount’s second score of the game. This time a 1-yard TD run where the back’s pure determination and drive was on the display as Blount was initial stuffed at the goal but kept his legs churning as he worked down the line and finally broke the plain for a score.
New England moved on top at 14-12 with less than a minute to play in the half. But fortunately plenty of time on the clock for Seattle.
Seattle took to the field and Russell Wilson ran the one-minute drill to success with :59 seconds on the clock.
The Seahawks finished the half with a 7-play drive covering 75 yards that concluded with an 18-yard TD pass to Doug Baldwin who was surprisingly open between Patriot defenders. Wilson displayed the mobility recently lacking as he created time for the play to breakdown and let the veteran receiver improvise to get open for the score.
Seattle finished the first half totaling 248 yards to the Patriots 147. Seattle effectively limited the vaunted Patriot offense as New England totaled nearly half their yards on the opening drive. From then, Tom Brady’s offense mustered 72 yards total in New England’s next five drives.
Russell Wilson completed 15 of 23 passes for 197 yards and two scores to Doug Baldwin.
Leading 19-14, Seattle got the ball to start the second but was forced to punt on their opening drive.
The Patriots then put together their best drive since the opening possession as Tom Brady led New England on a 10-play, 91-yard jaunt that mixed in big pass with big run.
Again, New England was aided by penalty as Kam Chancellor was called for roughing the passer as the safety went low and brought Brady down by the knees. The call was questionable as the Patriots lineman looked to be pushing Chancellor to the ground as the defender broke by.
Regardless, LeGarrette Blount scored his third-straight TD of the game on a nice sweep to the outside and into the end zone. With the successful Gustkowski extra point, New England regained the lead at 21-19.
After a touchback on the following kickoff gave the ball to the Seahawks on the 25, Seattle drove to the New England two-yard line in 10 plays. The drive stalled on the New England five.
On second and goal, Russell Wilson was sacked for a loss of 8 yards. Then on third down Wilson was called for intentional grounding when he failed to get the ball past the line of scrimmage was he was swarmed under by the Patriots D.
Seattle settled for a 22-21 lead with a Hauschka 41-yard kick.
New England answered and scored a field goal making the lead 24-22.
Seattle responded again with a 23-yard field goal and a 25-22 lead, the games’ seventh lead change up to this point.
The Patriots almost fumbled the ball away on the subsequent kickoff but ultimately kept possession. But on the drive, Seattle saftey Chancellor made his presence felt again when the safety forced a fumble while tackling the sure-handed Julian Edelman.
The Seahawks turned the Patriots’ mistake into points as Russell Wilson connected with Doug Baldwin for the pair’s third touchdown of the game, a 15-yard pass that extended Seattle’s lead to 31-24.
The Patriots had a prime chance to tie or win the game when Tom Brady took possession of the ball on the New England 25 yard line with 4:24 remaining in the game.
Brady effectively led his team 74 yards in 11 plays and with :43 seconds to play, New England faced a first-and-goal at the Seahawks’ 2-yard line.
Yet with the Patriots needing only a two yards to score, the Seattle defense rose-up once again to refute the New England effort.
Maybe the Patriots were getting too cute or were more concerned about how much time would be left when they scored, either way, the plays called by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels didn’t do New England any favors against the NFL’s top defense.
On first down, Brady ran another sneak, for a gain of one yard. On second down the Patriots ran Blount up the middle for an attempted dive-over, but Kam Chancellor was there to tackle the ball carrier before he could elevate.
Third down, Tom Brady fumbled the snap when it looked like the QB was attempting another sneak and New England recovered on the two-yard line, for a loss of one.
Now facing a fourth-down, Seattle was called for too many men on the field and after the enforcement of half-the-distance-to-the-goal put the ball one yard away, Brady had his shot.
But on fourth down, Brady sailed a fade-pass to the left end zone to Gronkowski who was covered tight by Chancellor as the two locked up before the ball fell to the ground. There was mutual contact on the play and the refs made the right call with a no-call.
Seattle wins 31-25. New England falls to 7-2 with New England’s first lost since Brady resumed the QB responsibilities.
Seattle is now the team to beat in the NFL once again…or so it would appear.
- The interception thrown by Tom Brady early in the second quarter was the Patriot quarterback’s first of the season.
- Since Pete Carroll took over head coach responsibilities of the Seattle Seahawks, the team owns the 2nd best prime-time winning percentage trailing only the Patriots in this mark.
Player of the Game
The SSU POG is…Doug Baldwin and Kam Chancellor. After thinking it over, there had to be one player from each side of the ball for the total team effort.
You can’t score 21 points in a game when 31 points are scored and your team wins by only 7 and not give the most outstanding player award to that man.
Baldwin’s first reception gave the Seahawks their first lead and put Seattle on top 12-7 early in the second quarter. Then the receiver’s second TD reception of 18 yards gave Seattle their second lead at 19-14 to end the fist half.
Finally with Seattle leading by only one Baldwin sealed the game with a 15-yard reception for score with less than five minutes remaining to give the Seahawks their 31-24 lead and forced the Patriots into scoring a TD to tie…which New England could not do.
Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor returned to action after four games away due to injury and totaled 8 tackles, one forced-fumble, multiple pass disruptions, and on the goal line stand to close the game, a TD saving tackle on LeGarrette Blount and pass defense on Gronkowski on fourth down to seal the win.
As much as C.J. Procise had an incredible game for a rookie, hopefully things are looking good for him to earn this award in the future. Today goes to Baldwin for his 6-catch, 69-yard, 3-TD performance and the man on defense Chancellor.
The Seattle Seahawks (6-2-1) return home to face the Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) fresh off their victory over the NFC South leading Atlanta Falcons.