Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots strong safetyMalcolm Butler
(21) makes an interception during the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
The season is over…and what a season it was. For the first time in a decade the New England Patriots hoisted the Lombardi Trophy as the confetti fell. For New England’s head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady it was their fourth Super Bowl title and the fourth in the franchise’s history. In defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28 to 24, it was a typical New England Patriots script in the Super Bowl as the game was one for the ages.
Quarterback Tom Brady won the MVP as he threw 50 times and completed 37 passes for 328 yards and 4 touchdowns (all stats from NFL.com). While New England rushed for just 57 yards, it was a game for the receivers as Brady connected 11 times with Shane Vereen, Julian Edelman hauled in 9 catches and topped 100 yards, Rob Gronkowski grabbed six passes, he had 5 completions to Danny Amendola, and found Brandon LaFell four times. Edelman, Gronkowski, Amendola, and LaFell all had touchdown receptions. Brady also threw two interceptions, but fortunately the Patriots overcame the turnovers.
Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiverRicardo Lockette
(83) runs the ball against New England Patriots cornerbackDarrelle Revis
(24) and cornerbackBrandon Browner
(39) during the third quarter in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
It was an amazing win by the Patriots and the game became epic in the final quarter and a half. Start with the Patriots being behind by 10 points with less than 20 minutes to play in the game after the Seahawks ran a pick play with the umpire in the end zone to free wide receiver Doug Baldwin who was blanketed and shut down by All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis all game long. New England went four-and-out and then three-and-out on offense as the third quarter wound down into the fourth quarter.
Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots defensive tackleVince Wilfork
(75) andDevin McCourty
(32) celebrates an interception during the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
It was the New England defense that stepped up and kept the Patriots in the game as the defensive front with veteran Vince Wilfork and Alan Branch made big stops on running back Marshawn Lynch and the Patriots’ defensive coaches plan to insert undrafted free agent Malcolm Butler at cornerback paid dividends immediately as he had strong coverage on Jermaine Kearse after having to move the more physical Brandon Browner to cover surprise star Chris Matthews who came into the game with no career NFL receptions and led Seattle with 109 yards and a touchdown.
After a key sack by Rob Ninkovich stalled Seattle on third-and-eight, when quarterback Tom Brady got the ball back it looked initially like yet another frustrating drive. Brady was sacked for a loss of eight and after gaining just four yards on second down, it was third-and-fourteen. Brady got the offense in gear against the number one defense in the NFL the past three seasons as tackles Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder–who were fantastic all game against Seattle’s outside pass rush–cleared the pass rushers wide while the interior linemen cleared space for Brady to step up in the pocket.
Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) catches a touchdown pass in front of Seattle Seahawks cornerbackTharold Simon
(27) during the fourth quarter in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Brady fired a strike to wide receiver Julian Edelman who absorbed a helmet-to-helmet hit by Kam Chancellor (no penalty flag was thrown, however) but the completion made it first down near mid-field and sparked the offense. Edelman led the team with 109 yards on nine receptions for the game. A completion to Shane Vereen and another fifteen yards tacked on for a late hit out of bounds had New England deep in Seattle territory. Vereen, a free agent next month, had 11 receptions for 64 yards as the Patriots offense made a deliberate effort to clear out space for him underneath.
Brady finished the drive by finding the much-maligned Danny Amendola for a touchdown with Earl Thomas in coverage and it was a 24-21 game. After another huge three-and-out by the defense gave the ball back to New England, Brady went right back to work on the Seahawks defense. With eight straight passing plays the Patriots marched into the red zone. Tight end Rob Gronkowski had two huge catches on the drive converting a second-and-eleven with a 20 yard catch and run as he abused Kam Chancellor.
After the Patriots pounded down to the three yard line, it was Brady to Edelman and New England had the lead 28 to 24 with just over two minutes to play. Credit the Seahawks offense, as there was no quit as quarterback Russell Wilson found Marshawn Lynch with a step on linebacker Jamie Collins on the left sideline for a huge 31 yard completion putting Seattle in New England territory at the two-minute warning.
Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette (83) is tackled by New England Patriots cornerbackLogan Ryan
(26) during the fourth quarterin Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
After a big conversion on third-and-ten to Ricardo Lockette, the Seahawks were moving. Lockette beat Logan Ryan in coverage, and Ryan and cornerback Kyle Arrington both were picked on all game long. Ryan gave up the touchdown to Matthews just before halftime in single coverage and Arrington gave up a 44 and a 45 yard completion to Matthews and a 23 yard grab by Lockette. Thus, in the fourth quarter it was rookie Malcolm Butler on the field and in coverage.
After converting the third down, Wilson took a shot deep to Kearse down the right sideline with Butler in coverage and dime safety Duron Harmon late getting over to the ball. Butler made a nice play on the ball, but somehow Kearse was able to get the bounce off his legs, tip it to himself twice and make one of the greatest catches in NFL history. It was an amazing individual effort by Kearse to corral the 33 yard pass which should have made him the hero of the game for Seattle.
Instead, after Lynch pounded the ball to the one yard line, Seattle eschewed their
“Beast Mode” running back at the goal line to throw a quick slant to Lockette. Butler, just two plays away from being the cornerback in coverage of an amazing play, jumped the route and intercepted the pass at the goal line. Instead of Seattle taking the lead with 20 seconds to play in the game, the Patriots had made the big play on defense to win the game.
At the one, however, the game was far from over. A safety would Seattle the ball back with a chance to win with a field goal. With Seattle up on the line and the Patriots limited to having to try and sneak Brady ahead for a yard, a hard count instead got Seattle and Michael Bennett jumping offsides and New England had breathing room to take a knee in the victory formation.