This game had it all: the old Patriots coach (Pete Carroll) versus the new (Bill Belichick), the legendary quarterback (Tom Brady) versus the young gun (Russell Wilson), the dueling cornerbacks (Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman), the game’s best Tight-end (Rob Gronkowski) , the game’s most brutal running back (Marshawn Lynch), and even a couple of rookies who made a name for themselves.
Super Bowl MVP
Tom Brady was his usual hall of fame self, adapting his game to take advantage of the short passing zones that the Seahawks defense offered. He was not perfect, tossing two interceptions, however, as his career has always been defined—Brady was clutch! With four touchdown passes to four different receivers, Brady dagger strike to Julian Edelman with 2:02 left proved to be the epic game winning touchdown. With that TD, Brady passes Joe Montana for most touchdowns (11) in the Super Bowl.
Marshawn Lynch was his brutal punishing self, rushing for 102 yards and a touchdown. Although contained in the 1st quarter, Lynch began to turn 2-3 yard gains into 5-6 as the game progressed, wearing down a fatigued Patriots defensive line. And though the stats are not eye popping, those who watched the game saw Beast Mode run through arm tackles and over some of the game’s best tacklers.
My advice to all Seahawk fans (and NFL fans alike) is to enjoy every run from this guy while you can, we may not see another like him for another generation.
Two undrafted rookies
The rookie safety
A previously unknown Patriots safety, Malcom Butler, carved out a name for himself in the history books. Butler went from potential goat—giving up the miracle pass to Jermaine Kearse—to Super Bowl 49 hero. With less than a minute on the clock on a goal line stand, Malcom Butler redeemed himself ten-fold by jumping a slant pass to Ricardo Lockette for an interception to seal the game.
Footlocker security guard
Seahawks receiver Chris Matthews was working as a footlocker security guard, when the Seahawks signed him to the practice squad. The former Winnipeg Blue Bomber and had been a special teamer for all of 3 games. Matthews’s stats this season comprised 1 special teams tackle. On the biggest stage, Matthews caught his first four NFL passes for a total of 109 yards and a touchdown.
Credit has to be given where credit is due, knowing that they could not beat the Seahawks secondary deep or run the ball effectively, the Patriots when to a conservative short passing game, mimicking what the San Diego Chargers did earlier this year to frustrate the Hawks short zones.
Although the Patriots averaged less than 6 yards per pass, the crossing patterns, slants, and rub routes kept the Patriots marching down the field. The quick passes on the short patterns kept Brady from getting annihilated by the devastating pass rush. The Patriots coaching staff should be commended for putting together thier plan.
For Seahawks fans, we will all remember the blend of heartbreak, anguish, and utter confusion over the final Seahawks offensive play. With less than a minute on the clock, and the ball on the 1 yard line, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell called an inside slant pass pattern; the Russell Wilson to Ricardo Lockette pass was ultimately intercepted by Patriots defensive back Malcom Butler.
Conventional football wisdom states that when you have the most dangerous running back in the game, Best Mode, you should run the ball. Conventional wisdom also states that if you do pass, a high percentage pass such as a fade to the corner of the end zone or a play action bootleg offers better opportunities.
Although most the blame can be put on Bevell, Pete Carroll did not over rule the play, and Russell Wilson did not check out of the insane play call. Although, a different play call does not guarentee a win, it was an asinine play that a Super Bowl caliber team should not call.
The Patriots played a heck of a game and viewers got their money’s worth. And with a lot of key players coming back, for the Seahawks, there is always next year.